Developer: Heavy Spectrum Limited – Publisher: Heavy Spectrum Limited – Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, – Release Date: October 30, 2017
At A Glance
Journey/Abzu set in the sky.
Upon Further Inspection
A mostly tranquil collect-a-thon that’s better described as Shadow of the Colossus in the sky.
What’s The Story?
A child with the power to turn into a dragon must bring back eight guardians of the Earth who have gone astray. The story goes for the cryptic, “hit you in the feels” route, but the lack of information and reason to care about the protagonist’s plight causes it to fall flat. Outside of my initial synopsis, I couldn’t tell you what Oure was about or that it made me feel much of anything. You can largely ignore the story and little will be lost.
How Does It Look?
The vast cloudscape is a pretty and calming vista that gradually changes in a nice touch. Opaquely colored cloud tunnels can make it tough to discern openings, though. Some of the Titan designs, while simple, look cool as well. Animation could use a bit more polish, primarily for child actions such as the awkward jumping.
How Does It Sound?
A serene soundtrack calms the mind and perfectly sets the mood.
How Fun Is It?
Oure can be a delightful chill pill most of time but frustrating and tedious boss encounters muck up that zen. The player’s primary goal is to search for scattered towers that, when activated, summon large, majestic Titans the player must tame. The structure takes a few cues from Shadow of the Colossus in that regard. Unique attributes differentiate Titans, keeping battles fresh and surprising. I just wish they were more fun to play.
To subdue a Titan, players must destroy nodes on their bodies. Doing so requires solving a mini-puzzle Oure doesn’t bother explaining the mechanics of. I beat my head against the very first Titan because of this, stumbling upon the solution accident. These grow more complicated and failing them typically sends players back to the beginning stages of a fight, creating an unwanted tension.
Most battles can be summed up as clever ideas that are a pain to execute. For example, one boss has a maze-like body that has players running the same routes over and over in a tiring exercise. Screwing up during fights (usually by blowing a node puzzle) and having to redo the dull steps necessary to win can be rage-inducing–the last emotion I want to feel with this type of game. Even the less offensive bosses weren’t enough to dispel my mild dread of each encounter. Worse is that just when you think you’ve finished Oure, it sends things off with a complicated, unnecessary final puzzle.
On the flip side, I had a blast soaring the sky in search of collectibles. In addition to finding over 700 scattered orbs (used for unlocking towers and other uses), stuff like character upgrades and lore-artifacts make for a fun grocery list to check off. The collectibles felt largely meaningful, and I quickly developed a strong compulsion to nab everything (which I basically did). Ultimately, I just wanted to kick back, explore, and not be bothered by the Titans.
Uncovering hidden structures within the dense clouds creates a wondrous sense of discovery; I always wanted to see what other secrets Oure could be hiding. Scanning the once-barren barren environment to see it lit up by the nodes, lasers, and other treasures I’d found felt awesome.
Flying itself feels mostly okay but takes a fair amount of getting used to due to the somewhat awkward control scheme. The finicky camera can also be a nuisance in narrow spaces and during Titan sequences.
If you need a game to decompress with after a stressful day, Oure offers a decent option. Relaxing exploration is backed by compelling collecting objectives. Annoying, stressful Titan encounters regularly shatter that peace, however, making for an uneven experience. Oure might be worth a look for some, but it falls short of the plethora of similar, superior, titles available.