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Owlboy Switch examination – holding flight

Game review: Owlboy on Nintendo Switch takes flight
Owlboy (NS) – flattering great

One man’s work of adore finally lands on consoles, in what is one of the best-looking 2D games ever made.

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When Owlboy was first expelled on PC in late 2016 it was described as being 9 years in the making. We don’t know accurately when worked started, but that means it’s now been at slightest a decade between pregnancy and appearing on home consoles. Normally it’d seem unfit for a diversion not to defect with that kind of build-up, but Owlboy stays one of the many visually considerable and beguiling indie games we’ve ever played.

As is apparent almost at a glance, Owlboy really is a work of love. Its huge growth time is due to the normal problems of indie development, but also lead designer’s Henrik Stafsnes Andersen’s struggles with depression. According to him the diversion is desirous by old NES games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Kid Icarus, but as you can see the visuals are distant over that, with a much some-more complicated striking impression he refers to as ‘hi-bit’.

The game’s environment is a floating island in the sky, where a race of owl-people find themselves under attack by pirates. You take control of a immature tongue-tied named Otus; a sad, bullied figure who starts the diversion in such a miserable state that it’s utterly distressing to watch. And nonetheless he and his friends eventually get into some standard world-saving adventures the storytelling is surprisingly formidable and emotional, with critical themes always hiding just next the surface.

Although Otus can apparently fly he only has a elementary spin attack with which to urge himself. And so one of the categorical gameplay elements is the option to lift others and make use of their special abilities. Otus has 3 best friends who he can always rest on, but there are also a series of other some-more passing alliances that meant you’re always on the surveillance for new acquaintances. Weapons of several sorts are the many common kind of help, but there’s also a Metroidvania component where you’re teased with insurmountable obstacles and have to find the right person to help.

Allies can be teleported directly to you, thereby avoiding any problems with backtracking, but there’s still an considerable abyss to the mechanics. Combat works like a twin hang shooter, and moves for both Otus and his friends can be upgraded with in-game currency. Most abilities also have twin uses as well, for both counterclaim and puzzle-solving, which is where the diversion also bears comparison with The Legend Of Zelda.

Owlboy also resembles WayForward’s Shantae, both in terms of the Nintendo-esque gameplay and the Metal Slug impression 2D artwork. But Owlboy is simply the higher in terms of visuals, with some astonishingly pleasing backdrops and implausible animation. It’s not really retro, given old 16-bit games never looked this good, but instead Owlboy feels like the healthy expansion of ‘90s pixel graphics if the art form hadn’t been sidelined by the adoption of 3D in the PlayStation era.

Owlboy (NS) - a genuine hoot
Owlboy (NS) – a genuine hoot

But just as conspicuous is the soundtrack by Jonathan Geer. As with the graphics there is a retro shade to the music, but given the inflection of live instruments, instead of digital, it feels just as singular and on-going as the visuals. It also manages to compare the events of the diversion perfectly, either transformation or drama, segueing from one to the other with considerable grace.

In terms of faults, Otus is a bit delayed and his transformation lacks a certain volume of precision. But that seems to be a pattern decision meant to communicate his impression around gameplay, and it’s unchanging adequate that you shortly get used to it. You could also disagree that some of the cave puzzles are a little clichéd, if you’ve played a lot of identical games, but they’re still good over the switch-pulling clich� of many mainstream games.

The only actively bad thing in terms of pattern is the final boss, which is a finish duty to defeat. But even that may be eloquent given how inspiring the culmination is, and how you’re unexpected done to feel guilty for wishing such a splendidly done diversion would end. The only other hapless aspect is that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, which were also ostensible to be out this week, have been downgraded to ‘TBA’. (The May 29 date is just the earthy releases.)

It’s a shame, since we were looking brazen to recommending to everyone, what was one of the favourite games of 2016. But we wish it should at slightest be accessible everywhere within a few weeks or months. Either way, this is still one of the many emotionally abounding video games of new years, as good as one of the best examples of pixel art to ever take roost on consoles.


In Short: A well crafted 2D journey that is a nearby ideal mix of new and old influences, in terms of both gameplay and the overwhelming visuals and music.

Pros: Some of the best pixel art ever in a video game, with extraordinary animation. Heartful storytelling, glorious music, and some very crafty gameplay ideas – generally the transmutable allies.

Cons: Controls could mount to be a little tighter and the final boss is a genuine pain.

Score: 9/10

Formats: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
Price: £18.99
Publisher: D-Pad Studio
Developer: BlitWorks and D-Pad Studio
Release Date: 13th Feb 2018
Age Rating: 3

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