Owlboy is a game best experienced with little to no information. The story is gripping and the game does an amazing job instilling a sense of wonder, but both qualities can be dampened by spoilers. So this review is spoiler free. Enjoy.
Part One: How Owlboy Handles.
In Owlboy, by D-Pad Studio, you play as Otus, an Owl human hybrid hero, tasked with defeating the villainous sky pirate Molstrom. You recruit friends along the way, who help you fight and solve puzzles to achieve victory and save your village. The gameplay is a 2-D platformer/adventure style in which you can fly, pick up items, and use various ally’s abilities.
Part Two: The Look.
The aesthetic style is retro, using pixel art and a mostly orchestral soundtrack with some chiptune thrown in for good measure. I should mention that the aesthetic in Owlboy is beyond what most would expect from an indie game. While it does rely on a retro style, unlike most indie titles that use this as a crutch to save time, Owlboy embraces the look and feel of a retro game but elevates it to modern standards. Overall, Owlboy well-polished with a high amount of detail.
Part 3: The Sound.
The soundtrack is also phenomenal. Composed by Jonathan Geer, it’s easily one of the best game compositions I’ve heard in a long time. As I mentioned earlier, it’s mostly an orchestral set with small amounts of retro-style chiptune thrown in. Overall the soundtrack reflects the game whimsical nature, but it also can have a harshness to certain pieces, when the in-game events call for it.
Part 4: The Story.
This is where Owlboy shines. It is, in my opinion, the perfect way to tell a story in an indie title. Instead of having a deep, overtly philosophical message told in a muddy and incoherent manner, like many indie titles are prone to do, Owlboy takes a simpler path. Owlboy tells an adventure story about a boy overcoming obstacles with his friends. Simple, but masterfully crafted. The characters are likable and genuine, the antagonist in imposing, the action is heart pumping and the comedy is gold. It does exactly what a great game should do: entertain.
Part 5: Conclusion.
I won’t lie. The game isn’t perfect. But as an indie game, it comes damn close. If I had to list one major issue, it is that the story felt rushed. You run from point A to B a lot, which sometimes left me with a frantic feeling. But this falls into the nature of adventure titles so I can easily forgive this.
If I’m being frank, and trust me I am, Owlboy is worth your time. The game, in my opinion, gets nearly full marks in all categories, be it aesthetic, story, gameplay, soundtrack, and writing. Owlboy just succeeds. The price is high though, $24.99, but in my opinion it’s well worth it. There’s lots of content and the quality is more than equal to the cost. But if you’re worried the price is too steep, keep an eye out on Steam sales and Humble Bundle. It goes on sale frequently and usually drops around the $15.00 region.