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Olija review – a brisk adventure with a harpoon

There is something great about a really good cinematic fall. Have you seen Welcome to the Jungle? I’m pretty sure this film, starring The Rock, Rosario Dawson and Seann William Scott, is largely forgettable. In truth, outside of a fondness for the leads, I have largely forgotten it myself. But man, it has a really brilliant fall in it – downhill, the jungle, obv, and falling and falling and falling. Not just falling – not just empty space. A bit of texture to it. Oof and ouch, one surface and then another. Gravity is the star here, and editing is the special effect to bring out the best in the star. They could cut it together in a TV Burp loop and I would watch it forever. So painful, and yet nobody is really injured. Perfect.

Olija has a really good fall. It’s towards the end of this short adventure: a rickety elevator collapses and then you fall down, down, down. And it has a bit of texture to it. Olija gains a considerable amount of its charm, if you ask me, from the fact that this action-platformer is also a flip-screen action-platformer. This gives it some of the flavour of flip-screen classics like Another World, or even Zelda, that first game famously inspired by Miyamoto messing around with his desk drawers, imagining a different garden within each one. Flip-screen games, more than any other kind of game, feel like they’re giving you a complete universe in a bottle: in the blinking transitions from one place to the next a vast alchemy occurs. So anyway, in Olija, when you fall, you fall from one screen to the next, landing on a surface that then crumbles, and then down, down, miss the spikes, down, down, down.

I should add quickly, Olija is not a comedy. In fact its air of brooding, ambiguous nobility, its stoicism, its pixelated seriousness, is one of the many things I really love about it. But that fall is part of a wider trend in the game. This is a platforming and combat game, but it has plenty of time for other things. It will throw in a stealth section, or a delicate puzzle involving a rose and a vase. It has sections where people just give up the keys that you would normally expect to win from a boss, and that you often do have to win from a boss. And it has that fall: crunch. Pacing! A cinematic sense of ebb and of flow. It makes for a dynamic adventure that is always ready to surprise. Something hand-crafted, something personal and intricate. It was no surprise to learn that this game was largely the work of one developer.

Read more

There is something great about a really good cinematic fall. Have you seen Welcome to the Jungle? I’m pretty sure this film, starring The Rock, Rosario Dawson and Seann William Scott, is largely forgettable. In truth, outside of a fondness for the leads, I have largely forgotten it myself. But man, it has a really brilliant fall in it – downhill, the jungle, obv, and falling and falling and falling. Not just falling – not just empty space. A bit of texture to it. Oof and ouch, one surface and then another. Gravity is the star here, and editing is the special effect to bring out the best in the star. They could cut it together in a TV Burp loop and I would watch it forever. So painful, and yet nobody is really injured. Perfect.

Olija has a really good fall. It’s towards the end of this short adventure: a rickety elevator collapses and then you fall down, down, down. And it has a bit of texture to it. Olija gains a considerable amount of its charm, if you ask me, from the fact that this action-platformer is also a flip-screen action-platformer. This gives it some of the flavour of flip-screen classics like Another World, or even Zelda, that first game famously inspired by Miyamoto messing around with his desk drawers, imagining a different garden within each one. Flip-screen games, more than any other kind of game, feel like they’re giving you a complete universe in a bottle: in the blinking transitions from one place to the next a vast alchemy occurs. So anyway, in Olija, when you fall, you fall from one screen to the next, landing on a surface that then crumbles, and then down, down, miss the spikes, down, down, down.

I should add quickly, Olija is not a comedy. In fact its air of brooding, ambiguous nobility, its stoicism, its pixelated seriousness, is one of the many things I really love about it. But that fall is part of a wider trend in the game. This is a platforming and combat game, but it has plenty of time for other things. It will throw in a stealth section, or a delicate puzzle involving a rose and a vase. It has sections where people just give up the keys that you would normally expect to win from a boss, and that you often do have to win from a boss. And it has that fall: crunch. Pacing! A cinematic sense of ebb and of flow. It makes for a dynamic adventure that is always ready to surprise. Something hand-crafted, something personal and intricate. It was no surprise to learn that this game was largely the work of one developer.

Read more

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