From the dread of being shipwrecked on a mysterious island, Faraday’s quest involving lost souls, ninjas, monsters and a love story for the ages made my 8-bit heart swoon. Yet the bugs, including a crash occurring twice during the end boss battle that forced me to replay the grueling finale, is holding me back from highly recommending this labor of love from one-man developer, Thomas Olsson.
OLIJA’s gameplay is similar to the superior ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS. Replacing ORI’s transport abilities with a harpoon, Faraday’s combat is a graceful bloody ballet. The haunting score and METROIDVANIA exploration is familiar to anyone that has played an indie side scrolling game as of late, yet the presentation and fun sets this apart from the crowded genre.
The game is less than four hours and at times feels like it could’ve gone deeper. Not that it should’ve been longer, but the gameplay tools you have at your disposal are not used in enough compelling levels to warrant their existence.
You will smile a lot while playing OLIJA, even if that smile is only slight versus a full on grin.
The game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch and is also available on Playstation, XBox and Steam.