The Judging Wood is only five parts - well, this side of the equation is, anyhow - and here is Part Four. I had to “know” a lot of things to work on the book, and some of that stuff is in this stuff.
Typically we run the comic from the “Make A Strip” Panel on the Monday after a PAX, but since we had a linear thing going on that’ll hit Wednesday. And then we’ll have to write new comics, every other day, which is the normal thing I’ve done for like sixteen years but for some reason I can’t imagine doing it. I’ll have to listen to one of our podcasts just to remember how.
I wish my associate were around to boil furiously about Ori and the Blind Forest, to clang his lid and spill all over the place; I don’t know that I could ever do it justice. He talked about it a little bit, in the circumspect manner of those who hold Secret Knowledge, but he didn’t want to ruin it. I feel certain he’d never even heard of it before, so he must have endured a profound shock. Understand this: he doesn’t play games on the Xbox One if he can help it. He doesn’t want to give it a permanent HDMI, he’s always getting it back out of a closet resentfully when something comes out. So, if he’s breaking quarantine for some reason, it’s gotta be big.
When I wrote the paragraph before this one, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it justice in the way Gabriel can because our perceptions are calibrated differently. But now I think it might just be a straight up “dancing about architecture” thing. I don’t want to dance about architecture. You need to look at it, and optimally, you need to play the first ten minutes. But there are a couple choices that are very interesting here that I’d like to highlight.
The first is that I have yet to see anything really like a “trash mob.” Typically in a Metroidvania (Gabriel wasn’t familiar with the term, but it’s useful) there are certain types of dudes that you pass by all the time. Right? Then you have Bats or Medusa Heads, which I am referring to as specifics but could very easily be considered Classes - enemies with odd movement or high damage that require the active mind. There isn’t any creature here, even the dumbest, purple urchin thing, that doesn’t require my attention. Either because of high damage or because their attack pattern is clever, I can’t ignore them. That’s an interesting choice in a game where re-traversal is so core. I get instakilled walking to the Ori equivalent of the corner store all the fucking time.
The second item - and more are materializing in my mind as I write this - is that you can save basically anywhere. That’s also nice in a game of this type. But it’s only nice on the surface and is in fact way fucking hardcore. Because if you don’t remember to save, you’re going to be doing a lot of stuff a lot of times, precision platforming to grab shiny bits, tough ass dudes, all of it. Putting that on the player actually reinforces the danger. There are also going to be times and places that you can’t save, because the place you’re standing doesn’t allow it or because you don’t have the energy, and that’s when the compulsion to press your luck in an environment where the creatures I just described hold sway begins to mechanically stretch your human resolve like a taffy puller. The game looks super cute. But it hates youuuuuu.