Last month, Ori and the Will of the Wisps came out for Xbox One and PC. Like its 2015 predecessor, Will of the Wisps is a lovely, challenging, downright magical game. Take it from Kotaku’s Mike Fahey: You don’t want to miss this one.
At its core, Will of the Wisps is a Metroidvania-style platformer; certain areas will be gated off until you unlock certain upgrades, necessitating a bit of backtracking. For the most part, the plot beats (and your own curiosity) will naturally guide and re-guide you through Niwen’s nooks and crannies.
But there’s one area that’s totally optional, easily skippable, and, most importantly, extremely fun: the Midnight Burrows.
Light spoilers follow for Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Before you can access the Midnight Burrows, you’ll need to have completed The Wellspring. Beating that area should purge the murky waters from Niwen, allowing Ori to swim without taking damage. You’ll also need the Burrow ability, which you can get from the Ancestral Tree in the Windswept Wastes. (While not necessary, it doesn’t hurt to invest in the Water Breath upgrade, too. That way, you needn’t worry about coming up for air in the pools en route to the Midnight Burrows.)
Once you’ve done all that, teleport to the central Spirit Well in Inkwater Marsh. Head west until you see a point on the map where you can dive deep.
At the bottom of the pool, you’ll hit a sandy block. Burrow through it, then continue down the path until you come across Tokk. He’s the grizzled, blue, ever-wandering stork creature. Tokk is seeking a long-lost stone tablet, supposedly hidden away somewhere in the Midnight Burrows. Thing is, the way there is shut, and he can’t get in. So, this being a video game, you’re asked to find a way in and retrieve the tablet for Tokk.
Most puzzles in Ori and the Will of the Wisps are fairly straightforward. But not this one. Behind Tokk, you’ll see a series of seven stone pillars. To his right, you’ll see three hanging bell flowers of different heights, with the left one being the tallest and the middle one being the shortest. If you look more closely at the magical forest Stonehenge behind Tokk, you’ll see that each pillar is either tall, short, or “six feet.” To open up the Midnight Burrows, you need to “play” the bells in order, which you can do by using Bash (LB on an Xbox One controller) on each bell.
There’s a launching pad on the right side of the screen. Use that to reach the bells. Then Bash them in this order: left, center, right, right, left, center, left.
From there, the branch blocking off the Midnight Burrows will retract. Jump down, activate the Spirit Well to your left (you can never be too careful!), and start working your way through the area. The gimmick of this area is that it’s loaded with portals. Hop in one and you’ll pop out in a totally different section. So, in addition to the precise action-platforming Ori asks you to perfect, you’re also forced to start thinking with portals. It’s also good practice for Willow’s End, one of the game’s final areas. (That place is basically a Hayao Miyazaki take on Portal.)
As you worm your way through, collect the four keystones, then use them on the keystone door close to the Burrows’ entrance. In there, you’ll find the Curious Tablet. (Tokk was right! It exists!) Bring it back to him and you’ll officially complete the side quest. But you’re not quite done yet.
To Tokk’s chagrin, the tablet you brought him is functionally worthless. He mutters some frustration about it being “backwards,” which is the key to this whole optional part of the game. Hit the bells in the reverse order: left, center, left, right, right, center, left. Doing so will clear away the branch blocking that room to your right. For your efforts, you’ll nab the Ancestral Light upgrade, which permanently boosts Ori’s attack power by 25 percent.
It’s unclear whether or not you can just Bash the bells in reverse order from the get-go, ultimately sidestepping the Midnight Burrows. But even if that was the case, I wouldn’t do it—and I sure wouldn’t tell you to do it. Upgrades are cool and all, but where’s the fun in skipping the game?