Reviews - Updated on April 6, 2022

The protagonist of Olija’s adventure is the young Lord Faraday, whose people, living in a fishing village, suffer from poverty and a smaller catch every year. At some point, the lord gets tired of watching the suffering of people, so he calls them with him in search of a better life. The journey is interrupted by a terrible monster that looks like a huge whale – it destroys the ship, and Faraday wakes up in an unknown region called Terrafagos. He is rescued by a boatman who helps the hero find a temporary home. The Lord will have to find a team and unravel the mysteries of this unusual place.

Without a ship, but with a weapon

The lord’s refuge is a dilapidated pier, from where he will go to different regions with the help of the same boatman. A beginner with empty hands is very lucky with finds: first he will find a rapier, with which it will become much safer to explore the world, and then he will get the legendary harpoon – an item that everyone around is talking about.

These things are related to the main gameplay mechanics. The harpoon can be thrown towards special sprouts to quickly move to your weapon. The same trick can be done with any opponent – if he flies or teleports when the hero approaches, the harpoon will allow you to carry out a surprise attack. And you can also stand on it if you launch it into the wall, but this is also allowed to be done only at some points.

Some enemies “cosplay” headcrabs.

Other than that, Olija is about as standard a platform game as it gets. We go to a new location, walk from side to side, sometimes we climb stairs and fight with someone. The islands are not entirely linear – there can be two exits from one location, therefore, some zones cannot be fully explored either the first or even the second time. At the same time, it is difficult to get confused here – the path to the next door is rarely branching.

Olija’s problem is that she doesn’t give enough motivation to play through. The story is too mysterious – the characters speak in a fictitious language (with subtitles), in the caves you hear low voices of either spirits or monsters and you hardly understand the meaning of their words, and some scenes do without dialogues at all. Poor visual design does not save, although sometimes the game still tries to look stylish – episodes with falling leaves make you remember Ghost of Tsushima, even if everything here is many times more modest.

Olija game review

The wandering musician loves to philosophize.

Pixel Vinaigrette

Olija’s gameplay is a hodgepodge of everything, with little done to perfection. The godforsaken pier becomes more and more beautiful after each journey: new buildings appear, people begin to work, and so on. But interactivity does not become much more – except that there is a hat merchant, an alchemist who increases health, and a person who gives out a random resource in exchange for the collected currency.

I pumped up my health completely by the middle of the game, and in order to get all the hats, I had to visit old locations and collect resources – they refused to fall out in the “casino”. The process took very little time, but in the end I continued to use the hat that I unlocked at the beginning – it restored health when dealing damage. In the rest, there is very little sense: on the one hand, the harpoon rotates when thrown, on the other, the attack speed increases if you do not take damage for a long time during the battle, but there are practically no abilities suitable for such situations.

With some hats you get cool moments, but you can finish the fight without these tricks.

There are cool combat episodes where you fight with a dozen opponents, dodge projectiles and jump with a harpoon to the most dangerous targets. But usually this happens at the end of the level – there the boss can get out, and all sorts of interesting mechanics are sometimes added. Alas, much more often you meet with two or three enemies, you lazily kill them and move on. Sometimes you get distracted by secret rooms with collectibles, but they are absolutely useless – just 40 bottles with ships inside.

The strangest thing is that Olija throws up new features from time to time, but does not offer situations in which they would be useful. The character receives a crossbow – there is no sense from it. Towards the end of the game, a musket is issued, but it is not needed either – and here even cartridges can be created with gunpowder. Exploring the locations, you come across caged crew members who seem to be transferred after being rescued to the pier. But even if you find everyone (and I found everyone), nothing will change.

Olija game review

The pier seems busy, but there is nothing to do on it.

In general, there are a lot of ideas, but the implementation let us down. One could make allowances for the fact that one person was involved in the game, but after Pumpkin Jack and Cyber ​​Shadow, this is no longer an argument – single developers can create games no worse than entire teams. Here, the author clearly had no experience, and there was no one to point out the shortcomings.

What the developer has succeeded in is the atmosphere. Visually, the game is far from the best examples of pixel art and not replete with details, but there is something in this minimalism. Simple animation in the dialogues adds seriousness to what is happening (although a bit of humor would not hurt), poor backdrops make the environment more mysterious and make you feel like a hero who finds himself in an unknown place. The soundtrack with motives of Japanese music also sounds good – after all, the character ends up in an eastern country. Too bad there isn’t enough music.

Olija game review

The atmosphere at first seems creepy, but then you notice the same skeletons.


I failed to defeat the final boss – when he had a third of his health left, the game crashed every time. But this is fixable, but the rest of the shortcomings will remain untouched – otherwise you will have to redo almost the entire game. It’s always a shame to give low marks to such projects, especially if one person has been working on them for many years, but I really did not manage to see Olija as a game that deserves attention.

Pros: good mystical atmosphere and nice soundtrack; convenient management.

Cons: the plot is not interesting to follow; no fresh ideas in the gameplay; there are few major battles, which makes the author’s attempts to diversify the arsenal seem inappropriate; many elements have not received proper development.

Đánh giá Star
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