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A legendary harpoon
Olija seemed to be very ominous game at first. It got minimal pixelated visuals, but rich gameplay and movie-like sound design. Its melancholic vibe reminded me of a recent game I played Inmost. I love Japan and its mythological history and folktales, and Olija seems to dive into that realm. I knew where I was getting myself into, when I saw some early gameplay footage of it; fast-paced action, lots of gore, lore and the odd, gloomy atmosphere. I played this fully on PS5 console.
Gameplay, controls, graphics, weapons and sound
The game starts strongly; with a shipwreck and a man Lord Faraday, who gets stuck into a mysterious place called Terraphage. I found other castaways, a legendary harpoon and an actual place, that I could build up as I went on a journey. Everytime I got back from caves and dungeons, the place was more full of survivors I rescued along the way.
Olija is almost linear, mixed with some RPG elements, as I could buy health upgrades and craft various hats from materials, that gave extra protection or extra moves. I like the options and, obviously, I used all the help I could get. The game hides lots of secrets out of the boundary and I liked the satisfaction after trusting my guts and finding secret areas and items.
With my main weapon, a legendary harpoon, I also got new alternative weapons, as I progressed in the game. Unfortunately, I found it tedious and slow to change the alt-weapons. The gameplay is fast-paced and my inputs always felt too slow. Also the controls could need some tweaking, for example, adding secondary button for the alt-weapon, to scroll them to opposite direction. Definitely these little details were the biggest problem in Olija, everything else was just so enjoyable.
The detailed sound effects of enemies getting cut in pieces to enviromental audio was well-thought-out. What comes to the visuals and pixelated graphics. At times, I had to stand up and back away from my TV screen, to really see the whole picture clearly. It was rather diffcult to play on TV screen (55″), when so much was happening and all the pixels were so big.
The last words
Olija is beautiful, enjoyable and rare game, but the controls might need some fine-tuning. I enjoyed those insane fight scenes, puzzles I had to solve, the storytelling and dungeon bosses. I’m sure every hack&slash gamers will enjoy this. I did too, and I don’t usually play this type of games.
Olija is a great game, not too long, not too short, about 4 hours. I do recommend this, but if you still hesitate to buy it, there’s a free demo on Steam.
(Review copy kindly provided by the publisher)
Fast-paced action, lots of gore, lore and the odd, gloomy atmosphere”