Super Stylish but Short
Olija is a 2D platformer that from the offset shows a promising opening. To begin with, there is a cinematic which tells the story of a man shipwrecked in a strange world. The cutscenes only to continue forth into this 2D adventure promised to provide a stylish experience. The game while 2D shows a lot of uniqueness. The hero Faraday begins with nothing and during the first segment of the game relies on wit until he takes hold of a magical harpoon. The design and fluid action of Olija is what really what drives the game forward, spinning and slicing enemies up feels satisfying while climbing a simple ladder really portrays the design of the character, while sluggish it shows a strong character.
Faraday describes the world of Terraphage through his eyes
Level Design is one of the winning factors of Olija. The game features a semi-Metroidvania level design but not as heavy. Terraphage is an unusual and unfair world and Skeleton Crew Studio have done an amazing job of making each and every screen feel unique. The backgrounds of each screen tell a story, it shows hanging skeletons, towns in ruin or a giant scrap cloth blowing in the wind while all the action is taking place, in the foreground leaves or low dark mist can be seen sweeping across the screen. It reminds me of Oddworld, the world in which Abe inhabits in Abe’s Oddworld series. When there’s something going on there’s plenty to see, if there isn’t there is plenty to take in from the world of Terraphage.
Leaves blow across the screen as the ruined world of Terraphage can be seen
While the world of Terraphage looks unfair, it really isn’t to the player. Once you take hold of the Harpoon there is a lot of room for error especially fighting its inhabitants. Enemies are generally weak and if you make a mistake it will usually be from a bad fall or from the environment itself. The boss battles are much more fun but sadly less of them overall and once they are done, there’s not much variety in normal enemies and foes although there are some interesting ways to kill them such as dropping crates on them. Traversing the world of Terraphage is fun and exhilarating and warping from one side of the screen to the next in stylish succession is the most satisfying part for me. For such as a short game I was surprised that Olija has a crafting element to it, although it’s not on a massive scale it doesn’t really make sense for it to be there for such a short game. There a few tools at your disposal but generally less game for you to be able to use them and by the end of the game you are left not using them or forgetting them altogether. The quality of sounds really appeals to the world of Terraphage so much so that it is such a shame that such a diverse mix of ambience is left in the dark, especially with how short the game is.
The hostile denizens of Terraphage are found throughout
Olija is a short campaign and one that will take around four to five hours to finish, if you want to find any secrets this is best done as you go, and it generally makes the game longer but not by much. Still, for what it is worth, I will say Olija is a game worth playing, it is fun and engaging and one I would recommend for anyone not wanting to spend many hours into a game to see its conclusion. I just wish it could have been just a bit longer.