After 10 long years of development, Owlboy has been released for the world. Was this worth the time for you to pick it up?
Available on: Steam
Genre: Platformer Adventure
Publisher: D-Pad Studio
The artwork no doubt catches the eye before the story or gameplay. It can be amazing how much pixel art can accomplish and it is displayed amazingly in Owlboy. Everything is vibrant and detailed, everything being distinct from one another. Each area telling it’s own story with their individual design that you can easily tell where you are without the game telling you (especially since there is no map). Every enemy is beautifully designed and animated so you can easily tell what they do. Every character is distinct from one another with their design and their own background. Owls, which could have had the same cloak design, having different owl cloaks ranging from color and wingspan. While the soldiers have the same outfit it speaks for itself and the citizens all having unique designs. Little details were able to be put in: puffs of wind on the ground when flying close to the ground, day and night cycle, and giving expressions to everyone.
You play Otus, a young mute Owl working with his friend Otus to protect their floating home from sky pirates. Teaming up with others to help in his journey. Getting a tiny bit sidetracked with a few things in the progress. As I don’t want to spoil anything, you should experience the story yourself.
Story and lore is effortlessly integrated into everything. The designs tell their own story and you can get more by interacting
with the world. The characters are charming, not suffering from cheesy writing, as they tell you about themselves or various other things. There are two collectables, golden disks and Buccanary coins. The golden disks reveals information an important plot point when put in the right place, but it doesn’t happen till the end. The Buccanary coins lets you unlock optional items that also include very cute chatter between the people you give them to. This can range from hats, to more health, to buffs.
I would be lying if the Owl in Owlboy didn’t make me interested in the game. This is not just a regular platformer but one that you can fly in and access every free space you can. Otus, on his own, can roll, injure enemies by spinning, and pick up objects to throw around. However he can not make it on his own without friends. With his friends such as Geddy and Alphonse, you can directly attack them from afar. Not only that, your friend’s special ability is necessary to navigate around your environment. You can easily access them by picking them up or teleporting them to your hands.
Since you do carry your friends to use their ability, dropping them to pick something else up can be a little confusing to the game. Your friends will always be first in line no matter what you want to pick up. Want that berry to heal up but Geddy is right by it? You will pick up Geddy instead so take that time in throwing him the other way (perhaps hitting him a few times for that achievement?) so you can eat that berry. To mix things up there are stealthy parts. The first time can be very frustrating, especially when the floor disappears on you like it did for me. This is also one of the parts where bum rushing it is a strategy to get past it without having to waste time fighting. Later on it does get better as you try not to provoke enemies as much in those areas (they always seem more vicious than the regular enemies).
This can easily be classified as a casual game with how easy most parts can be. Once you get over learning how each enemy moves and attacks and the environmental hazards it can be a cakewalk. Checkpoints are very generous, the last one being right before the last boss, enemies being very easy to defeat, and Otus being able to take a lot of damage. The bosses are really the only thing that is challenging as they have you think on the spot with their unpredictable behavior. I actually was stuck on one of the last few bosses since it has you dodging a lot but I was able to collect more Buccanary coins to unlock more health. The only thing that might not be as easy is navigating to each area. Sometimes you either can’t find the right entrance to the area or find out where you have to go to progress in the story.
You can not mention Owlboy without the soundtrack. Every piece nails the mood of each scene and does a great job representing the area it is placed in. It no doubt made the game as much as the gameplay and art did.
Owlboy is definitely worth picking up, discount or no discount. Easily bring in 10 hours of gameplay and more if you desire to 100% it. While it does have flaws, everything else that Owlboy brings to the table keeps the experience intact.