Quick Look – Owlboy (#Maytroidvania)

I had such high hopes for Owlboy. I didn’t necessarily think I would finish the game, mind you, but I thought I’d get further than I did. I’m trying to gently ease myself into more platforming games, but the big appeal for me with this title was that I expected to not have to worry about the persnickety jumping parts. I was playing a character with wings. Although I also sometimes have problems with flight in games, Owlboy is 2D, so I was sure I could handle it.

I did struggle a bit with the combination of flying and shooting at stuff, but I worked my way through the first dungeon area without too much trouble. However, upon exiting, I was greeted by a mechanic I hadn’t even considered – a segment of the game where you were expected to be stealthy.

But flying around avoiding the lights wasn’t too bad! In fact, for almost the first 90 minutes of the game, it really felt like something within my capacity. Until, in the Owl Temple, I encountered gnomes.

If you guessed it was another stealthy bit, well, you’d be spot on. Gnomes have terrible eyesight (meaning they only see a tiny circle of space around their bodies), but really excellent hearing. What that means from a gameplay perspective is you cannot fly. They will run as fast as their little gnome legs can carry them to the sound of flapping wings.

And did I mention that touching any of those vision orbs lead to being one-shot killed? No? Well that’s exactly what happens. And since Owlboy is a checkpoint-based save game, rather than a save anywhere game, I got very frustrated very quickly.

Of my just-shy-of-two-hour playtime, I’d say probably a quarter of that was spent trying to get through the god-awful gnome area. I have no idea if I was ever even close to escape. I’d figured out a good chunk of the path, but it felt like sometimes, when I just barely tapped the button to jump, the game registered it as a longer press and there were my wings, and then I was gnome-food.

Really, it’s too bad, because I was having a lot of fun with it up until that point. Maybe there was something I missed that would have made it easier? I don’t know, but I tried long enough to make me want to shelf the whole game. Chances are this wouldn’t be the last area with this kind of frustrating (at least for me) gameplay.

One thought on “Quick Look – Owlboy (#Maytroidvania)

  1. Ouch! I am also not so much a platformer player these days. I was also interested in Owlboy for the style and the concept. But I think this will be frustration city for me, too. I appreciate your review and will pass, sadly – I think I’d have the same troubles as you have. It looked like it could have been super cute!


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