There were also a few moments in the game where a scripted sequence made me fall through a broken platform, only to find that in order to move forward I had to go back to where that platform had been magically fixed. . As in virtually any game, this kind of backtracking is unnecessarily tedious. Quickly harpooning from floating eyeball to floating eyeball is never really necessary for the main story – it’s for a few more difficult optional sailor rescue rooms – but it feels awkward when you have to do it, and use the stick analog to change direction on Nintendo Switch—Olija is available on Switch, Xbox One / Series X, Playstation 4/5 and for Windows on the Steam Store – Pro Controller seems imprecise. I found myself having to switch to D-Pad for these sequences. Celestial, with its tight and easy controls, it doesn’t.
Later in the game, Faraday gets a sword that has its own teleportation properties, and you can set up two transport points at the Portal. Unfortunately, this only happens at the end of the game. I would have liked to see more puzzles using both the sword and the harpoon. You also acquire two ranged weapons in the form of a shotgun and a bow, but their ammo must be crafted. I found them superfluous and rather unnecessary when paired with the types of enemies the game throws at you.
Finally, there are a handful of boss fights, but each one feels unique and is a nice culmination to their stages. The penultimate one, in particular, has you climb a tower while dodging the boss’s sword blows and finding angles to surprise him with a clever chain or a good harpoon throw. It combines all that is fun about using the harpoon and allows the player to understand how they want to approach and defeat the boss. All in all, you wait for a boss to show you their weak spot – sometimes after throwing standard Rottenwoods at you – and then head into town with your harpoon. They never feel cheap, but also end quickly. I really liked being able to fly in open areas with the harpoon inside, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the bosses also felt more cathartic because the regular encounters in the game are so easy.
In general, Olija is on the easier side, and I found myself really dying because of the aforementioned imprecision with the more delicate airborne harpoon throwing parts. I have died probably 4 times and never felt stuck, although a puzzle in the game made me scratch my head (in a good way.) You will find that you lose health very slowly outside of the traps, and you won’t feel overpowered by enemies. On the contrary, you are compelled to keep moving forward. The levels themselves – you’ll navigate different levels to isolated in an overworld after leaving the home base – are small. However, since the game doesn’t have a map and it can be frustrating trying to remember all the different paths in the levels, it’s probably best to enjoy it in a few dedicated sessions.
Olija is also quite short, lasting around 4 hours, but every part of the game feels condensed into a quality track and you will never feel like the game is running out of steam. That said, there isn’t a lot of variety in the game’s combat, nor a scoring system, varying difficulty, or new game + and since it’s very linear, you’re unlikely to come back to play it again. again, unless you’re tempted to watch some of the game’s most alluring story moments.
Olija is a truncated but memorable experience, worth a look for any player who wishes to be taken on a sea voyage. It’s not a pioneering new entry in the platforming genre, but its details have a certain magic that makes it feel greater than the sum of its parts. At $ 15, that’s an absolute trap.