5.0 out of 5


  • Gameplay
  • Soundtrack
  • Visuals
  • Otus
  • Puzzles


  • Aim tool can be cumbersome

Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
D-Pad Studio
D-Pad Studio
Action, Adventure, Platform
File Size (Minimum)
232 MB
Release Date (NA)
Nov 1, 2016
Purchase From

Filed Under

Owlboy has been in development for nearly ten years, and after releasing on Steam, the game lands on its first home console, the Nintendo Switch. With spectacular visuals, soothing music, and an amusing story, Owlboy is well worth your time.

You’re Doing It All Wrong!

Meet Otus, an owl born as a mute and who now studies under a strict owl mentor, Asio. When players first start, they’re introduced to basic game mechanics while watching Otus proving his worth to Asio. At the end of the segment, you’ll feel awful about Otus since he can’t seem to catch a break and messes up everything he does. He is considered a failure in front of the people of his hometown.

For a shot of redemption, Asio gives Otus orders to watch guard for sky pirates. Geddy, Otus’s best friend, joins him watching guard. However, a mysterious figure appears in the village, and the two leave their posts to investigate. After coming back, they find the village under attack by pirates.

This is just the beginning of the adventure as Otus discovers the reason behind the pirate’s attacks, as well as the power and history behind the ancient owl relics found in his world. And unlike many platformers, Owlboy’s intriguing storyline is something players will want to follow because they’ll care what happens to Otus and to those around him.

Play It Old School

Owlboy takes a lot of cues from classic platformer games and injects it with detailed and beautiful art. Think of Super Metroid with polished pixel art and an updated soundtrack, but this side-scrolling game lets you do more than just walk around the pretty scenery; you can fly, too.

As an owl, flying is very simple and requires no stamina to do, which is good because over the course of the adventure, you’ll be flying through the air collecting rings, avoiding cannons, and running away from enemies. You’ll travel across many areas in the world of Owlboy and will be doing a fair amount of stealth to avoid enemy contact. In short, there’s plenty of gameplay variety, so you won’t get bored with any one thing.

The minigame, in particular, where Otus is shot out of a canon and flies through the air collecting rings while avoiding hitting objects, is fun for a few times and is something to revisit when you just want to fly at full speed.

After collecting rings and finding hidden treasure chest of coins, you’ll take them to the game’s merchandise store and redeem them for hats, extended life meters, and accessories that improve weapons. While the importance of increasing one’s life and improving one’s weapons are self-evident, the hats don’t really do anything; they’re just there to prompt humorous dialogue and to show off on your adventure.

A Beautiful World

While not everyone is related to owls, the characters in the game are entertaining with their comedic dialogues and intriguing designs. The owl characters themselves are drawn in great detail and match their personalities well. The strict Asio, for example, was drawn to have a stern, serious personality, and while Otus doesn’t talk, his design was meant to portray his innocence and to display great expressions. There are also these strange, short creatures called Boguins which are used as punching bags for the game’s merchandise owner; they’re created to be not just awkward but comical as well. Think of the Prinnies in the Disgaea series.

Outside the characters, the world itself is drawn with luxurious, vibrant, and eye-catching designs. From the grass to the vast sky, there isn’t a spot that’s not overlooked by D-Pad Studios. Each enemy, especially the bosses, are animated smoothly and battling them couldn’t be more fun.

The game has some scenes where the frame rate drops, especially during the snake guardian fight. However, the developer has acknowledged there are issues, and there will be a fix. Recently, in fact, there was an update to fix crashes, missing rings, and more.

The game’s soundtrack, composed by Jonathan Geer, is well written and brings life into the world of Owlboy. The scores range from various types, from chiptune to orchestra, and is something you would hear from large game series such as Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda. It’s well worth adding to your video game soundtrack collection.

Pick a Partner, Any Partner

Early in the game, Otus will acquire a relic that will let him teleport in characters that will aid him on his adventure.

Each character has their own unique abilities that aids Otus in battle and in solving puzzles. Without spoiling anything, Alphonse carries a blunderbuss that can destroy strong barriers and light objects on fire; however, the weapon has a cooldown timer. On the other hand, Geddy can use his pistol to take down enemies without any cooldown. Each character has their own weakness but the other makes up for it.

When Owls Attack

Otus has a few tricks up his sleeve. His spin attack can help deflect projectiles or stun enemies, and players will be utilizing it frequently and quickly swap to a partner to take down baddies. Memorizing this setup will be useful when things get down to the nitty-gritty in boss battles.

Players can also use the aim tool for precision shots or shoot blatantly without it. During boss battles, the aim tool is a critical asset to winning, but players will die a few times trying to line up the perfect shot in the heat of battle.

The game is no cakewalk. Players will bite the big one again and again figuring out a boss’s weakness, escaping the runaway scenarios, and being trapped in a room full of enemies. Fortunately, there are many checkpoints in the game, so you shouldn’t have to worry about starting over from your last save. And even when dying quite a number of times, you’ll still want to keep trying and see to the very end of Otus’s adventure.


Owlboy is stellar game that well-deserves a spot on your console. The vibrant, detailed world, interesting characters, interactive gameplay, and soundtrack makes Owlboy not just one of the best indie games but one of the best platformers.

A Nintendo Switch review code was provided by D-Pad Studio for this review.

Owlboy Gameplay Footage

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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