[Nintendo Switch] Olija Review
Olija from Skeleton Crew Studios and Devolver Digital is a fun 2D action platformer on Nintendo Switch. Check out our Olija review!
In Olija from Skeleton Crew Studios and Devolver Digital, you’ll be taking on a the quest of Faraday, a man who has been shipwrecked, ending up trapped in the mysterious country of Terraphage. You’ll have to do whatever it takes to escape this land, using a powerful and legendary harpoon, as well as the help of other fellow castaways, as you try to leave this dangerous and deadly country. During all of this, Faraday will get to meet the titular Olija, an enigmatic and mysterious woman.
You’ll be moving Faraday with the left analog stick or the D-Pad. At first, you’ll only be able to jump with the B button, punch while on the ground or kick while jumping when you press the Y button. You can interact with objects and with other characters by pressing up on the left analog stick or the D-Pad. As you explore each new area, you’ll find new items to aid you on your quest to return home. The first one is a golden compass that will help to lead the way as you locate the maps that open the way to new areas to explore.
After this, you’ll find a rapier, a thin but sharp metal sword that can be put to good use to attack enemies from a more comfortable distance, as well as to, say, cut the ropes from which wooden cages hang. To use the rapier, press the X button as needed. This weapon will allow you to unleash combos as you attack your enemies, who will start to become more aggressive as soon as you pick this weapon up. The ZR button will allow you to do a quick dive, which can help to put some distance between yourself and your opponents, or to clear a large gap over which you couldn’t otherwise jump over. Once you find a crossbow, you can press the L button to switch between it and the rapier. Do be aware that arrows are a finite resource, so you will need to collect as many as possible, and make each shot count!
And then, you’ll locate a peculiar, magical harpoon. You can throw this harpoon with the A button, attacking enemies from the other side of the screen without fearing any retaliation. That’s definitely good news considering all of the different types of monsters and opponents you’ll battle against, but this harpoon, in particular, has another special ability. Once you throw it and it goes through an enemy, if you press and hold the left analog stick or the D-Pad towards the direction in which it landed and press the A button, you’ll be quickly teleported to it! As expected, this will play a role in some of the puzzles that the game will throw at you.
Enemies, which come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, won’t be the only thing you’ll have to worry about during your time playing Olija. As you explore each area, you will also need to stay away from the water, which is home to dangerous creatures that will try to drown you, or from falling into pits with some rather sharp and deadly spikes that will cause a lot of damage. Oh, and do keep an eye out for the trap mechanisms you’ll run into, since, if you’re not careful, you could easily end up skewered by a volley of arrows flying through the screen.
The crystals you collect in Olija can be used as currency. They can be spent to rebuild the damaged huts in the small village of Oaktide where the castaways will reside, or maybe you’ll want to spend them on a nee hat! During your adventure, you’ll find new people to join your cause, and the Hatmaker is one of them. For a price, and by bringing him the required ingredients, you can have him craft a variety of hats for your adventure. Each hat will have a different effect, such as not being burned by acid, being able to steal vitality from enemies, making it possible for the harpoon to spin like a sawblade when you throw it, dealing a lot of damage along the way.
You could also spend the crystals you collect over at the Alchemist’s hut. Doing this will boost your maximum hit points so that you can survive your battles against the stronger enemies you’ll run into as you progress through the game. Fix the boat at Oaktide, and you can unlock the Explorer. The Explorer can be sent on trips to, well, explore while you go out on your adventure, bringing back goods and items when he makes his way back to Oaktide… for a cost. You can receive additional resources for crafting, which will be useful for adding all hats to your collection.
I had been looking forward to playing Olija since it was revealed the game would be making its way to the Nintendo Switch, and I’m here to report that the wait has been worth it and that Olija is one you should check out on Nintendo Switch. It has a very interesting art style, solid gameplay mechanics, and more than enough content to enjoy on Nintendo’s console, all for a $14.99 asking price, making it an easy one to recommend.
This Olija review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Devolver Digital.