It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s everyone’s favourite hero, Owlboy! Yes, cheesy dialogue aside, I had the wonderful opportunity to try out D-Pad Studios’ action-adventure title of the same name. Let me just state off the bat that I loved Owlboy; the art, the sound, the story, it was all so masterfully crafted and then implemented in such a way where it felt as if no piece was wasted. Don’t believe me? I urge you to play it for yourself, then you’ll see what I mean. That being said, the title is available to play on all current consoles, as well as Steam, so there really is no excuse.
Moving past the demands and into the actual review part of the review, let’s start off by taking a look at the story. One of the key components of what makes Owlboy work is a sense of purpose. In Owlboy, the sense of purpose comes from within the main character himself. Owlboy is someone that, not only fights the villains of his world but also combats the monsters in his mind. Throughout much of the game’s intro, Owlboy is consistently told by his mentor that he either “isn’t good enough” or that “no one likes him”, which really impacts the main character’s mindset early in-game. When the player continues on and starts overcoming challenges, though, they’ll start to see Owlboy becoming more confident in his abilities and, eventually, more confident in himself. This personal growth is what helps sell the notion of “sense of purpose” so well for the game’s story.
Speaking of story, the artwork in this title brings it to life and so much more. The pixel-based style for Owlboy is, quite simply, breathtaking. I fell in love with the way the game looked right from the get-go. The unique sprite animations, the popping colours, and the subtle background movement all helped to enrich an already vibrant world. I would even go as far to say that the developers did too good of a job making the game look nice. That being said, however, visuals are one thing, but gameplay is quite another.
Okay, so the gameplay is pretty great too, but I wouldn’t say I fell in love with it. Actually, the only real complaint I have about the mechanics is that they’re a bit tricky to figure out. A good portion into the game and I was still dropping my buddy when I was supposed to be carrying him. Of course, this is like any game when you start it up, it’s just a quick learning curve and then you’re off on your way. Then once you get into it, it becomes a real blast.
So with the story, setting, and gameplay aside, the last thing I want to discuss about Owlboy is the sound. Now, being someone such as myself who has a great love of music in games, I was intrigued to see what Owlboy would bring to the table in that regard. Well, let me tell you it did not disappoint. When starting up the game you are greeted with an absolutely beautiful melody that screams “adventure”. Then, as you play through the rest of the title, you find that every song before and after is used expertly to enhance the senses and make for an epic that you won’t soon forget. It’s magical, it’s wondrous, it’s just amazing.
So, praising done, do I recommend Owlboy for purchase? Of course! I don’t like to use the word ‘masterful’ a lot as I feel it should be saved for significant occasions, but this is definitely one of those occasions. Heck, this is the second time I’ve used it in this review. With that in mind, if you do pick up Owlboy in the near future, you won’t be upset with the results. There is real love put into this title, and it really shows.
Owlboy (Reviewed on Xbox One)
Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?
Owlboy is a solid title that's filled with a vast, beautiful world and characters you'll come to love. Make no mistake, this game is worth your time.