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(This game is available on PlayStation 4 and PC for $20)
Back when Paris Game Week was going on, I saw a game that Sony was showing off before their main press event started. It was called Oure, an indie game developed by Heavy Spectrum Limited. It looked interesting with a small girl who can turn into a dragon, fly around the sky and a large mass of clouds, and fight giant guardians known as Titans. It gave off the spirit of something from Team ICO. I was interested, but also concerned. When indie developers get inspired to make Team ICO-style games, they tend to think all they need to do is make an adventure/exploration-focused game with no combat, and a small story that’s mostly told in the background. They tend to be forgettable experiences that don’t get the finer details about Team ICO games. I’m not fully in love with Team ICO-style games, due to a few design choices that they made, but I remember them fondly. After finally playing and beating Oure, well, I have mixed thoughts.
Oure is basically a mixture of free-roaming exploration, item finding, and then fighting large Titans in very puzzle game-style combat. As you fly through the air as this girl who can change into a dragon, your main goal is to find these blue orbs scattered all around this cloud-like realm. You can also find special orbs that will boost your stamina, speed, and give you the ability to suck in nearby orbs. Once you find enough blue orbs, you take them to specific towers, charge up said tower, and then go after the Titan that is connected to that tower. Each Titan is large, as Titans should be, and will have specific spots that you need to grab onto. These spots are crystals, and once you bite on to one, you have to solve a puzzle to break it off. Each Titan is unique, and will have their own challenge in tackling them. For example, one of the Titans was a giant starfish, and I had to go around this touchpad-like section in the middle of it, hitting certain spots for each leg. There is also a Titan that is multiple little Titans, and you have to flip them around to get to those crystals. After taking care of each Titan, you get some story about what exactly is the point of killing the Titans. After that, you wash, rinse, and repeat. If you are good at taking down Titans, you will get this game beat in about four or so hours.
Graphically, the game has very lush colors, a beautiful skyline, and simplistic, but easily identifiable designs for the Titans. Everything in the game is consistent in the visuals department. Nothing stood out or was distracting about them. It reminded me of games like The Wind Waker in the colors department. The game also ran pretty well. I didn’t run into any framerate drops. The music is calming while you fly around the clouds. It’s a great game to play if you want some downtime after some stressful work. It really envelopes you, while you fly around collecting orbs. The music for the Titan fights is definitely going to get your blood pumping in a Shadow of Colossus-style vibe. It makes it satisfying when you are able to take down the Titans, and then see yourself making progress.
While it does do a few things that I really liked, Oure has plenty of flaws. First off, the controls can take getting used to. The controls are kept simple, but flying around never felt super-fluid at times. I feel like you can make the controls simple and not complex, but at the same time, you then need to polish those controls, or else, you will be left with a fairly clunky experience. The Titans are also inconsistent in the realm of fun gaming. While many of them have neat patterns, due to the simple controls, the faults become magnified with the Titans. While getting to the crystals that need to be smashed can be easy enough, sometimes, Titans will have off movements or gimmicks that will make getting to them or to that lone crystal again finicky due to the clunky controls, and certain annoying gimmicks to the Titans. I could forgive all these issues with the controls and the designs, if the large open area you travel through was interesting. Outside of the orb collecting, and getting some extras, there is simply nothing else to do. I know some people would argue about that not a whole lot happens in Shadow of the Colossus’s overworld, but that game had a simple story that was emotionally investing, and the world had atmosphere. Oure’s overworld is pretty, but that’s about it. Again, I wouldn’t mind these flaws if the story was interesting, but it’s not. I forget that there is an actual story going on, and why this girl is transforming into a dragon and fighting giant beasts. I get bored because the overworld has not a whole lot to do, and what there is to do is bogged by clunky controls, faulty game design choices, a boring story, repetitive gameplay, and the fact that it wants to be this Team ICO-style game, but forgets why people love those games.
I can see why not many talk about Oure. It’s not a terrible game, but there is just not much there going for it. It had a splendid trailer that definitely got me hooked when I saw it during Paris Game Week, and I feel like with some refinement, the developer could have made something stellar. I just think it doesn’t work as a Team ICO-style game, or as a Flower or Journey-style game. However, if any of this at all sounds interesting and you want to check it out anyway despite the ho-hum reviews it is getting, then by all means do so. My goal as a reviewer is to review a game, and give my thoughts on the good, bad, and overall experience. It’s currently available on Steam and PlayStation 4. If you like Team ICO-style games, then maybe check it out, but if you don’t, I would just go spend the cash on getting FURI for the PlayStation 4, or the upcoming Nintendo Switch version.
This game gets a 5 out of 10.