we cover Olija in this review, a videogame made of dark presences in a world of pirate and oriental tones
Devolver Digital is one of those publishers to always keep an eye on. A publisher who has very often made us discover little pearls of gameplay and storytelling, many of these only possible in the world of small developers. With Olija , a title developed by Skeleton Crew Studio, we are faced with another really interesting video game with a lot to say and little time to do it, let’s find out together in this review .
A pirate’s odyssey
It often happens, especially in the most recent period, to find particularly complex and extensive video games in your hands. As beautiful and well-kept as an Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, for example, it requires a minimum of effort in knowing how to manage resources and time without getting lost in a very huge map. Without going into detail, Destiny 2 can also be pure chaos, easily becoming a pure source of stress. It can therefore sometimes be useful to take a break with more focused and straight titles. Olija is among these, a particular video game that we will now analyze in our review.
Shipwrecked in a distant land – Olija Review
Caught by a storm at sea, Faraday and his crew are engulfed by the waters and scattered in the mysterious archipelago of Terraphage . Our protagonist will have to try to save his companions by surviving an inhospitable land , a place of strange mystical events. He soon discovers that in order to return to his homeland, he will need a special harpoon to confront an indigenous race of creatures.
The story has a very interesting development , especially from the moment Princess Olija enters the scene . The inspiration and themes certainly derive from adventure literature, among them certainly Heart of Darkness but also the hopeless worlds of Lovecraft. All within an oriental mix, with a Japanese and pirate climate.
The events are told with a few dialogues and some “grumbles” that make up the dubbing . The animations for the most cinematic scenes are really very expressive, extremely necessary if we consider that from an artistic point of view we are dealing with a very minimal work. In any case, the story continues with decidedly interesting implications, ready to amaze with its secrets and narrative developments, a sign of a stylistic mix that has well grasped the point .
In the heart of the game – Olija Review
From a purely gameplay point of view, Olija is very traditional and could easily be called a classic Metroidvania . With Faraday you will therefore have to explore in large quantities in search of resources and secrets. The world map is small and you will discover unknown areas by finding special hidden maps . When you have obtained one, simply donate it to your trusty game charon, an elderly gentleman who has taken the responsibility of transporting you by sea, to any discovery destination you desire.
Once you reach the place you will be alone against the indigenous inhabitants. Jumping between one platform and another will then begin the real exploration made up of small hidden openings at the edge of the screen or apparently optional secondary routes. We say “apparently” because the game is still quite linear , there is a good dose of freedom, but as in spacious corridors. Not therefore interconnected maps like in Metroid or Hollow Knight, but something more focused that allowed developers to build more narrative and studied sequences.
Quick Pixel Fights – Olija Review
In fact, there is no action that is not accompanied by cute (and minimal) animations , especially as regards the combat system. Initially you will be completely devoid of objects in your pocket and your only weapons will be the fists . You can give a few simple hits or send enemies flying with a decisive jump kick.
However, you will soon come into possession of a simple sword . By throwing a few hits with it, thanks to the attack button, Faraday will perform a simple combo. Pressing it repeatedly it will perform a series of quick and lethal blows or, if used in jumping, it will attack with a lunge from above. Every shot, whether it is thanks to the vibration with the pad or even just through the visual effects, the fights are a real pleasure thanks to the feedback received.
The Ninja Harpoon – Olija Review
The live of the game, however, comes to obtain the legendary harpoon . It is a rather slow weapon if used for normal attacks, but its power is contained in the special ability to be able to cling to wooden objects, “alien” creatures or enemies in general. This weapon can in fact be launched in any direction and by pressing the attack button again you will be catapulted towards the hit object. This allows Faraday to both reach distant areas, amplifying the exploratory potential, but also making the fighting more dynamic.
Suddenly you can then jump from one side of the screen to the other to dodge faster or reach the annoying enemies that attack you from a distance. The combat system is therefore dependent on the player’s skill . In addition to the harpoon and the sword, you will also find other secondary weapons along your journey, such as the crossbow that can fire various types of bullets. All objects that guarantee Olija a good depth of gameplay which, although the game is not overly complex, make the combat pleasantly articulated and varied.
Treasures of a Pirate – Olija Review
By killing the natives or by neutralizing strange Lovecraftian creatures , you will begin to amass a prestigious cash fortune. All this will be useful for expanding the central hub , which is the place to which you can return after completing the exploration of any distant island. You can expand it with shops to stock up on items and upgrades.
Among these is a doctor’s kiosk to increase your life points or you can pay a sailor, who will then embark on an adventure to get you more riches. The most interesting, however, is the seller of headdresses . By providing him with the necessary items, you can buy hats that can unleash special abilities: lethal feathers that hit enemies, automatic heals or more. Beyond this they are also great for giving Faraday an extra touch of style.
Olija is a video game that we really enjoyed. Its qualities are for the most part due to a very short duration of the experience, which is around four hours . In this way the developers have created a small jewel, capable of enchanting for its attention to detail. Little is left to chance in Olija, everything becomes a narrative and gameplay vehicle at the same time. Everything flows very smoothly, so much so that you will find yourself at the end before you know it . While durability may be one of its strengths, it is also a weakness.
The fight, however magnetic and exciting, does not reach a satisfactory development. The bosses and enemies are in fact far too simple and engaging in combat becomes more of an exercise in style. Furthermore, the reasons for returning to this world are perhaps too few, there are not even different levels of difficulty. Nonetheless, it is a bewitching video game with the atmosphere on its side, supported by a storyline that is unlikely to keep you glued to the screen .