Qora is an hour of my life I will never get back.
In fact, Qora is such a bore that every time I entered a new screen, I hoped it was the final one and the game would end.
That’s a harsh line to begin a review with, and I take no joy from slamming an indie production, but it needs to be said. Qora’s entire gameplay effectively surmounts to holding down the right arrow key and occasionally pressing spacebar to chip away at a rock, cut through grass or climb a short wall. It reminded me of a game called Snail. Snail is a game where you hold right for what feels like years until the game ends. If my review doesn’t deter you from picking up Qora, give Snail a go — their gameplay is similar.
When Qora begins, you take control of this little white human-shaped blob. After arriving in a new town, you explore and are spoken to by a statue who explains you have the power to see dead people. Well, specific dead people. An ancient civilisation once stood in the surrounding area so… you go to explore it, I guess. The motivation is never entirely clear and the ending makes the whole, boring experience feel like a sick joke to waste your time. There’s apparently a secret, alternate ending, though I won’t be playing again to find out what it is.
The journey takes you across dozens of uninteresting screens with some fairly typical fantasy-like environments: forests, floating islands, ancient ruins and a snow-capped mountain. There’s not much to see, and the snail-like walking pace makes it feel like a grind. There’s no real gameplay to speak of, either; no challenges, no enemies, no puzzles. The handful of items provided are obtained in the game’s opening sequence, so you’re never without exactly what you need. There’s not even an inventory to examine them in.
By pressing spacebar when a blue icon is above your head, you can temporarily see spirits and ancient buildings that no longer exist. There are some interesting moments, such as learning about the society’s rulers and customs, but they don’t add to the gameplay in any way. There could have been an opportunity to open areas only visible in the “spirit world,” but no such mechanic exists. The game is light on lore, so there’s little to learn about this mysterious, ancient world filled with dinosaur-like creatures, spirits and weird blobs.
The pixel graphics seem to serve no particular purpose, except to show the game was on a small budget. They’re jagged and lacking in detail, and I often thought certain areas would have been far more interesting with an improved, or even different, art style. There are some pretty environments, but it takes so long to walk through each one, and nothing dynamic or interesting occurs in them. I never grew attached, or was interested in, the white blob main character either. The soundtrack fares better, but there aren’t enough sound effects to keep it interesting, and the walking is so slow you’ll hear the same track loop over and over again.
In my time reviewing games for RPGFan, there have only been a small number I’ve found a chore to play through. Qora is one of them. In fact, Qora is such a bore that every time I entered a new screen I hoped it was the final one and the game would end. Across the 68 minutes it took me to beat the game, I didn’t have fun for even a second. There is no one I can recommend Qora to; it’s dull, monotonous, and void of any worthwhile substance.