Welcome Time Wasters!
This week I spent my time with a game called Orikami. It was made for Ludum Dare 35, which had the theme “shapeshift.”
The gameplay in Orikami is simple and easy to get used to. Players control a paper man as he falls through the air trying to avoid paper airplanes and other obstacles. Moving right turns the man into an origami crane and pressing left turns him back into a man. These forms don’t really change gameplay at all, though the hit box while in human form may be a bit smaller.
The game itself is really short and players will likely complete it on their first try. This is fine. The game actually has a much deeper theme that hits home with players once they’ve completed it.
When the player successfully dodges enough obstacles to reach the end of Orikami, the origami man crashes into a battleship, which was where the obstacles were coming from. After this, you see the man sink into the water as a quote from Yukio Seki appears on screen.
“I am not going on this mission for the Emperor or for the Empire… I am going because I was ordered to!”
After this text appears dedicating the game to all the kamikaze pilots, people who were turned into their weapons, and their victims. This is a very powerful message that shouldn’t be taking lightly.
Small history lesson incoming!
Yukio Seki was the leader of the first successful kamikaze attack. I did some research on him and found that his mission resulted in the successful sinking of the USS St. Lo. It can’t be confirmed, but it’s believed that his kamikaze attack was what sank that ship. What was believed to be his aircraft slide across the ship’s deck, went off the edge and sank into the water. This is reflected in the game with the origami man sinking into the ocean after hitting the battleship. Adding to the depressing, but powerful message are the air bubbles that come from the origami man while he sinks. Until they stop appearing about 30 seconds later.
The visual presentation in Orikami is very fitting. The paper man changing into a paper crane is very obviously meant to symbolize his role as a kamikaze pilot, which is also presented as him being turned into a weapon. It perfectly matches the themes that the game is going for.
The audio in Orikami is also wonderfully presented. It starts out with a slow bit of traditional Japanese music that picks up pace as more obstacles appear. Right as the origami man crashes into the battleship, a series of drum hits occur that clearly represents the explosion on the ships, but also acts as a perfect climax for the build up of music. There’s also a soft tune that plays as the origami man sinks into the water and it stops with his breathing. This is a great example of matching the music to what’s happening on screen.
Overall, Orikami is a wonderful experience that has a very serious message. It’s presentation is spot on for the graphics and audio. The game is short, but that works to its advantage. I usually don’t comment on the more artsy type of games, but this is one that’s worth sitting down and giving a couple of minutes to.
Orikami earns 4 GiN Gems out of 5!
(Note: I want to make it clear that this isn’t any type of anti-American sentiment over our part in World War II, or anything like that. It’s also not meant to show the Japanese in any type of negative light. War is war. It’s a brutal, but sometimes necessary, act that I’ve never had to experience and hope to never have to in my lifetime. However, it’s very important to recognize the casualties that are made during wartime and to remember that we’re all human. There’s an old saying about studying history so that we don’t repeat it. I think that fits well here.)