Olija is a platform adventure developed by Thomas Olsson, developer at Skeleton Crew Studio. He took his inspiration from the pirate genre and games such as Prince of Persia and Another World. The graphic style of Olija certainly confirms this and gives a nice old school feeling. Let’s hope the game isn’t too old school and can entertain the current gamer. Avast ye matey, we choose the open sea in Olija’s review.
THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN HARPOON
Lord Faraday comes from a poor fishing village and goes in search of wealth with his fellow villagers to get rid of poverty. During the journey, they are attacked by a large whale, wrecking Faraday and losing his crew. The moment you find a compass in the wreckage, you get a vision of a golden harpoon and you are confronted by a large monster that must make you flee. Once you come to, you will be found by an old shed that can take you to different places.
He takes you to a sort of castaway village in Terraphage where several castaway people have made their home. Faraday wants to find his own crew and find his way home. On the different islands, you will find people from Terraphage, your own crew members, maps, and keys that will help you on your way to eventually leave this country. You’ll also find Olija, the heir to Terraphage, who has been kidnapped by the enemies of the castaways. When you rescued her and saw her for the first time, you were blown away. You want to see her more, but you also want to find your way home and she is a princess with her own obligations.
A SAFE HAVEN
The castaway village is your starting point and you keep returning to it. To ensure that your operating port offers some advantages, you can expand it a bit with money. In addition to materials, the enemies sometimes drop money that you also find by demolishing objects such as crates and tables. You can also find materials on the islands when you destroy natural objects. By investing money in the castaway village you can buy health upgrades and open the hat shop once you find the hatter. You can also refill the energy bar here for free and send out an expedition for more materials for a small amount. With enough money and materials, you can buy new hats. These hats not only make you look good, but each also offers its own perk. For example, the feather of a hat becomes a dagger that comes after you when you dash, with another hat you are immune to poison and you can steal from the enemies with a different energy. You can only wear one hat at a time (out of seven) so it is wise to think about the best benefit to use. Although I must say that wearing the hats sometimes provides a nice perk, but the harpoon and the sub-weapon predominate.
Once you’ve gathered the courage, you can leave your base of operations to explore the world and find your crew. During your quest, you have to be careful where you walk, because the enemies will suddenly appear when you get near them. There are also plenty of points on the ground, chasms, and tensioned ropes that are linked to a crossbow. So sometimes you have to be really quick and other times you better take it on with caution. These are not deadly traps, but in combination with the attacks of the enemies, your energy meter starts to drain quickly. Fortunately, there are also chests with energy that sometimes give you just enough energy to survive. In addition to looking for your crew members, you can collect collectibles that are sometimes hidden in tricky places. You will also encounter new maps that you can show to the pilot, making a new island available to discover. Sometimes you come across Olija again on a new island and try (sometimes with great difficulty) to get in touch with her. These are important encounters because she sometimes helps you further and she is a beautiful lady that you secretly want to see more.
TELEPORT, ATTACK, AND REPEAT
You start your adventure with your bare fists, but you soon find a rapier that you can use as a sub-weapon. This is a useful weapon and helps you defeat the enemies. You also quickly notice that you cannot get everywhere, but luckily you come across the golden harpoon from the vision while exploring the first island. You use one button for your harpoon, one for your sub-weapon, and one for the harpoon warp. You can also dash with R2 to move or dodge quickly. By throwing the harpoon you can teleport to enemies and objects, making the world a lot more accessible. If you miss, you can call him back with the same button. Of course, you can also attack them with the golden weapon, and the alternation between teleport, attack with the sub-weapon, or harpoon gives you a big advantage. Certainly,
By defeating enemies, you build up a special meter that allows you to make special attacks with your harpoon or to enhance the hat’s special technique. You can save these for a boss, but since the gauge fills up quickly, you can use it even if you get overwhelmed. Fortunately, the rapier is not the only sub-weapon and you will find several later in the game including a crossbow and a blunderbuss. You can switch sub-weapons with L1, so you use the right weapon against the right enemy. This gives you even more options to target enemies from all sides. From a distance with arrows or from close range by blowing them away with your blunderbuss. Then another harpoon after it and it is quickly the end of practice.
The enemies are often hidden and only respond when you are close. When you know what to look out for, it will not cause any surprises. The enemies themselves each have their own way of attacking, but I haven’t had much trouble with them unless I had lost too much energy falling into chasms and points. For example, some come at you madly, while others attack you from a distance with arrows. The bosses, on the other hand, were a bit spicier, but never cost more than an extra life (except for the final boss). A small point of criticism is that it all does not take very long and you will definitely have the game finished within ten hours.
Olija is a fast-paced action-adventure game with gameplay and visual style somewhat similar to Another World of the past. It’s worth discovering and exploring the islands with Faraday. He responds well to the controls and fighting with the harpoon, sub-weapons, and teleportation takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you are almost unstoppable. The perks of the hats help, but I’ve mostly focused on the combination of teleporting and attacking with the harpoon or sub-weapon. Searching for keys to open doors or maps to discover new islands is not very difficult, but certainly entertaining. The story is not very complicated or special but suits this genre. It’s all over quickly and that was a shame
- The harpoon and the teleport
- Atmospheric and intriguing presentation
- Fight with harpoon and sub weapons
- Explore the islands
- Story is simple, but sufficient
- Old school gameplay a la Another World
- Lacks that X-factor to become a classic
- Olija is not very tall
- The perks of the hats are not determinative