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Ohr: אור Review

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When I was younger and far stupider I once made the mistake of taking Salvia, which for the innocent is a hallucinogenic plant native to Mexico, at a house party. Not deliberately mind you, and at the time it was perfectly legal to possess. What followed were several hours or utter lunacy, with people’s hallucinations ranging from pretty colours to full blown disconnections from reality, with mine falling somewhat in the latter. For around four hours I had no connection with reality, believing we were in an apocalypse-like scenario and acting as though this was the full reality of life.

Why did I just spend 100 words recounting that? Because that is the only way I could find to describe Ohr, a complete disconnect from any sort of sense or reason. Like a Salvia trip the game must make full sense in the head of the creator but for my sober world the game feels like a tragic lunacy of a mess acting in a way it feels works with a narrative feeling incoherent and broken.

So what is Ohr about? I dunno, the story is minimalist and you are launched pretty quickly into the game. The gameplay is split into 3 sections. An overhead world much in the vein of old final fantasy games in which you play as a flying cassette tape and move around to locations around the map to the smaller levels. These smaller levels are platforming sections in which you must reach the end to deliver a cassette tape to a person and then return to the start. If, during these platform sections you accidentally let angels rape you (yep, that’s a thing although I believe part of it has been removed) you fall into a bullet hell section which I have literally no idea how it works as it appeared so quickly that I had no time to react.

These 3 mechanics work together in the sense that the transition between them works. But each mechanic on its own possesses many flaws. The overworld, despite being small, has no indicator of what objects you should go interact with as well as no indication of what you can and cannot get past despite the fact you are flying. In the side scrolling platforming, the movement is incredibly heavy, meaning that missing platforms is easy. Attacking the angels to prevent rape is also difficult as you have to walk in a certain direction long enough to charge an attack which does a pittance of damage and puts you closer to the angels; it is far easier to just jump over them. And who the hell knows what happens with the bullet hell sections. You’re surrounded with a forcefield which may or may not be part of the hit box as there is too much input data and no warning of it happening to actually figure out.

This is really the only flaw with the game. The reasoning for anything seems so convoluted that it’s like it was ordained by a higher power. It makes the game feel disjointed, connected by only the barest of threads in its artwork and love of tapes. Graphically the game has a wonderful pixel aesthetic and the music goes from soft gentle piano pieces to more fast paced action tracks nicely. But the hurdle of the haphazard gameplay can’t be gotten over.

I may have missed the trick with Ohr, but then again maybe I didn’t. What may make sense to many people makes absolutely no sense to me. The poor joining of three styles of play, the switch from no real feedback to too much visual action to read the feedback and the lack of direction in any sense stopped me from liking this game pretty early on. As such, this game earns a measly 2. While high is pretty the comedown is painful.

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Studying BSc Psychology at University of South Wales. Primarily a musician with a love of all things audio technology and audio production gaming is my escape into hopefully beautiful worlds full of wonderful experiences and phenomenal soundtracks. I review with an unbiased ‘try anything once’ mentality and love to find wonderful little indie games or audio technology and will pull any game apart with no discrimination. In general my preferred games are story-driven open world adventures of any kind though I will play anything if I find fun in it.

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