Olija – PC (Review)
I wasn’t too sure what to expect with Olija when I first picked it up. I’ve mentioned it before in my reviews, but I am a sucker for this style of artwork. I also enjoy platformers so I was pretty excited to jump into Olija and see what the game was about. I was definitely surprised and damn impressed with Olija.
You play the game as Faraday, a man looking for a better life for his followers, ends up shipwrecked along his journey. When he comes to, he finds himself trapped in the country of Terraphage along with other castaways. Terraphage itself is broken up into separate islands that you need to travel to by boat. The story of Faraday and his journey is told very well through narration and exploration. It’s not really thrown crystal clear in your face but is more revealed as you play the game. Which was really enjoyable. The story itself was great and when you mix that with the way the story was being told it really helped make you want to push further and keep playing.
The gameplay of Olija was really a blast. Faraday receives a legendary harpoon which allows you to attack with it, but you can also throw it. If you throw it at an enemy or an object it will stick to it and you can then warp to that location of your harpoon. This was fantastic for combat as well as traversing through screens and some puzzles. This harpoon and its function really make the game stand out on its own as a unique platformer. You also run into a sword that will do the same as the harpoon, meaning it will stick in the ground and you can warp to it. You also can harness electricity with the harpoon later in the game and can activate switches and batteries. Which opens up the puzzling a lot more.
You will get other weapons and you can create combos while your fighting switching back and forth. After a few hits, you will do a special hit, and depending on what you attack with different special attacks can happen. They range from multiple quick strikes to a massive hit that knocks the enemy away. You can also get Faraday different hats! Depending on your fighting style the hats can help you in multiple ways. There are 8 in total, some can produce blades to attack foes when you use the harpoon and one will even make you immune to acid and even drop acid to hurt your enemies when charged up!
The platforming between the harpoon and the sword was really well done. You could attach the harpoon to almost every enemy and object. There were also these black slime-like things with eyeballs you can attach to. If there was an eyeball out of your sight you would see little eyeball roots letting you know you could go upwards. But sometimes the secret areas wouldn’t be so clear. You’d just see a hole in the ceiling and I would just fling the harpoon upwards and see if it stuck. Many times this worked. Don’t be afraid to explore. You can free castaways, find boats in bottles, or other collectibles just roaming around. What’s nice about Olija is that the game isn’t too long. Some people can complete it in just a few hours, more if you’re hunting around for things.
Graphically the game looked great. The pixelated style worked well, for almost everything. Sometimes in combat, there were so many enemies, and it was just a mess to see what was going on. Other than that, I really enjoyed it. Also huge props to the audio team. The music and sounds really fit the theme of the game. I couldn’t tell if it was another language the voiceovers were speaking, or if it was a “sims-like” chatter. But you could very clearly hear “Faraday” spoken many times. For some fun: keep blowing the boatsman’s horn. 🙂
If you enjoy platformers with a really great art style and fantastic story, I’d absolutely recommend Olija. The gameplay alone is a nice draw to the game and it breaks the mold of platforming rogue-lites that have been going around lately.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ Great story and story telling
+ The artwork and style is fantastic
+ Not a huge time investment needed
+ The platforming is fun and gameplay is fast and challenging
- Artwork and combat can be a bit fuzzy in large numbers of enemies
- Some things aren't super clear lore-wise, but it doesn't take away from the experience.