PlayStation’s ecosystem has opened up new doors to many Indie titles, titles that wouldn’t have seen the light of day otherwise. We’ve had titles such as Flower, Flow, and Journey, where these experiences are difficult to put into words and can only be understood once experienced firsthand. However, nowadays Indie titles are commonplace within the market, and with an abundance of a product, there’s sure to be a couple that doesn’t quite hit that quality mark. Unfortunately, Oure falls into the underwhelming category.
In Oure you play as a girl who can transform into a dragon, and is tasked to save two worlds that are in peril. This is the gist of a brief introduction given by the main character via dialogue exposition, and here is where Oure starts to fail in the vision and world it tries to create. The exposition is vague and lacks any tangible aspects that the audience can grasp onto emotionally. The game gives a false sense of despair by claiming these two worlds are in danger, however, nothing is shown to you but shadowy silhouettes and empty pastel environments. In regards to the main character, her tragedy is that she steps into another world unknown to her and has to leave her parents behind. Unfortunately, the tragic weight of this task is never explored and is apparently non-existent, since she can still communicate with her parents while in the other world. Oure’s story is at a constant dissonance with itself and only ends up as an under delivered story of hope.
The gameplay of Oure isn’t any different as it doesn’t completely stick the landing of being an atmospheric, puzzle game. It consists of you navigating to beams of light, which in turn open your main missions of saving these giant creatures called Titans. In order to save these Titans, you’ll be traversing on their bodies, while taking out certain weak points. It’s all very familiar and obviously takes inspiration from the classic PS2 title, Shadow of the Colossus. What Shadow of the Colossus had, that Oure doesn’t, is the emotional impact of interacting with the beasts. The difference in Oure is that you’re saving them, however, the emotional atmosphere it strives for is sorely lacking. Instead of being gradually taken back by the awe of being on top of such a creature, you’re greeted with confusion due to the lack of contextual clues on how to take out the obvious protruding weak points. Once overcoming the initial hump of confusion, things do become a lot simpler, but ultimately end up tedious. The game adds unnecessary hurdles as you encounter each new Titan by keeping the puzzles to solve fairly similar to previous ones while throwing in traversal obstacles that take up more time than brain cognition.
The problems don’t stop with the Titan encounters, but continue on into the over world between each encounter. Before you can interact with them, you’ll have to collect a certain amount of blue orbs, which would serve as a great bread crumb mechanic to explore the over world, if only the world wasn’t empty. It’s basically just a huge area of cloud formations and nothing else, with the only variation being different color orbs. If you find the Titans a tedious encounter, then the over world won’t be much of a departure. Not to mention that your exploring is bogged down by cumbersome controls.
Rounding out the package of Oure is its overall presentation, which does redeem the game in some manner, if only a little. It uses a cel-shaded aesthetic, with a combination of pastel colors to bring out the child-like wonder and whimsy the game strives for. Adding to that is the blast of orchestral music with each encounter of a Titan, which helps in conveying the sense of awe, however is only fleeting due to sudden brick wall that is its gameplay.
Overall Oure is an inconsistent mess that ultimately fails at what it aims to be. The taken inspiration from Shadow of the Colossus is an admirable effort, but one that doesn’t pay off. If you’re looking fro another Journey-like experience, then you’ll have to elsewhere.
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