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Review: Owlboy

"Every owl needs a hot bath from time to time."

A mute owl, tutored and trained by an abusive mentor, tasked with helping safekeep a little village floating in the sky. Owlboy starts off by tugging at the players heartstrings, trying, perhaps a bit heavy-handedly, to make you care for our little protagonist: Otus. For some, that heavy handedness may harm the story of this game quite a bit, but what the game blunders in one area, it makes up for in others.

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Owlboy is chock-full of immensely beautiful, finely detailed and lovingly animated pixel art. Everything, blades of grass, floating rocks, boxes, chests, houses, enemies, NPC's and especially the protagonist, Otus, are all so vividly animated and perfectly characterized that I cannot help but fall in love with this game.

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To boost the game even further, the music is excellent, flowing tunes and calm themes swelling up into powerful symphonies as you explore your environments, form friendships with some of the NPC's and work your way towards proving your worth and saving your home.

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As a game, however, Owlboy ends up stumbling somewhat. A platformer where the very starting point is that you can fly, means there is fairly little in the way of movement-based exploration and the game is forced to use some fairly clumsy gates to keep your progress in check early on. The game is also quite linear and, while it allows you to go back and indulge in some collect-a-thong fun (if that's your thing), it didn't really draw me in enough to justify the repetition, especially in some of the more challenging areas.

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Still, despite some slight game-design shortfalls and a story told with some awkward and heavy-handed themes, Owlboy is an endearing adventure with plenty of charm, style and good-natured fun to be enjoyed, with the early parts of the game especially providing for some fun little puzzles and challenges to enjoy.

Playtime: 11+ hours (Single playthrough)

Visual

10

Audio

9

Story

7

Gameplay

7

Overall

> 9 <

Normal retail price at time of writing: 22,99 €

Recommended for purchase at normal retail price: Yes

Recommended for purchase at reduced price: Yes, absolutely