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Owlboy cover art.jpg
Developer(s) D-Pad Studio
Publisher(s) D-Pad Studio
Director(s) Simon Stafsnes Andersen
  • Simon Stafsnes Andersen
  • Adrian Bauer
  • Jo-Remi Madsen
  • Henrik Stafsnes Andersen
Artist(s) Simon Stafsnes Andersen
Composer(s) Jonathan Geer
Engine XNA
  • Microsoft Windows
  • November 1, 2016
  • macOS, Linux
  • January 27, 2017
  • Nintendo Switch
  • February 13, 2018
  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • April 10, 2018
Genre(s) Platform-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Owlboy is a platform-adventure[1] video game created by the Norwegian independent developer; D-Pad Studio. The game is notable for its long development cycle, which began in 2007, and was released in November 2016.


The player controls Otus, who is capable of flying and carrying objects during flight. These objects vary in use as ranged weapons, thrown weapons, and puzzle-solving tools. As the game progresses, Otus gains allies that accompany him during his journey, each having their own weapon with exclusive properties.


Owlboy is set in the land of the sky; the islands of the world below have been separated by a catastrophic event. The player controls a boy named Otus, who is a member of an owl–humanoid race called the Owls. When Otus' village is attacked by a band of pirates, he sets out on a journey to save it from them, and uncovers the lost truth of the Owls.[2]


The inspiration for Owlboy came from several sources, most involving Andersen's penchant for Nintendo games. The basic mechanics were inspired by the Super Mario Bros. 3 Tanooki Suit, although with reverse mechanics.[3] Similarly, Andersen also became interested in rumors of a new game in the Kid Icarus series wondering how the flying mechanics of those games would translate to 3D, made Andersen realize that he felt a 2D design for his game would work better.[3] Finally, Andersen was inspired by the then-upcoming Wii and felt that it provided a great opportunity to create an old-school game.[3]

Beginning development in 2007,[4] the game spent the better part of a decade in development. The team worried about the expectation of fans and thus started over several times. Andersen also had to deal with suffering from depression, which he had since childhood.[3] Owlboy was released primarily for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers, but D-Pad also considered a release for home consoles.[5] A Nintendo Switch version was released in February 2018, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions being delayed. [6] The game was shown off at PAX 2013.[7] At PAX 2016, it was announced that the game would be released on November 1, 2016.[8][9]


Aggregate score
Review scores
Game Informer9/10[12]
PC Gamer (US)82/100[15]


Owlboy received positive commentary from gaming publications. Kotaku's Luke Plunkett stated in 2013 that it would be "worth the wait" of its extensive development time. Regarding the art style, he mentioned, "..and the game's charming art style, which for want of something more descriptive reminds me of a Genesis version of Wind Waker.".[1] Dave Cook from VG247 described the game as "a rather neat-looking 2D pixel art platformer".[5] Nathan Grayson of Rock, Paper, Shotgun lamented the fact that by 2013 the game still did not yet have a release date as "the bad news – the news by which all upsetting and otherwise unfortunate events are judged".[16] The website Kill Screen would go on to compare the game's long development cycle to that of Fez, another indie game with a similarly long gestation period, writing describing both games as "retro-sentimental platformers by independent studios that promised a lot, but seemed fated to never come out."[17]


On release, Owlboy was met with widespread critical acclaim and an aggregate score of 88/100 on Metacritic as of January 18, 2017.[10] IGN's Chloi Rad gave the game 9.3/10 and writes that the game "shines thanks to surprisingly varied, Metroidvania-style gameplay and a charming cast of unlikely heroes".[14] The game has sold 100,000 copies.[18]


  1. ^ a b Plunkett, Luke (January 21, 2013). "Damn It, Owlboy, Why Aren't You Out Yet". Kotaku. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to a world in the sky!". OwlboyGame.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Klepek, Patrick. "The Exhausting Ten-Year Journey to Release 'Owlboy'". Vice. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Donnelly, Joe (August 25, 2016). "Owlboy release date set after nine years in development". Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Cook, Dave (January 9, 2013). "Owlboy: PC version releasing in 2013, console port being considered". VG247. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Owlboy Coming to Switch, Xbox One, PS4 Next Year". IGN. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  7. ^ Hillier, Brenna (July 30, 2013). "PAX Prime indie showcase titles include Towerfall, Owlboy". VG247. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ Donnelly, Joe (September 6, 2016). "Owlboy release date finally confirmed after nine years in development". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  9. ^ McWhertor, Michael (August 24, 2016). "After eight years, beautiful platformer Owlboy looks like it's finally coming out". Polygon. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Owlboy". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  11. ^ Hancock, Patrick (October 27, 2016). "Review: Owlboy". Destructoid. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  12. ^ Vazquez, Suriel (November 4, 2016). "Owlboy Review - Taking The High Road". Game Informer. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  13. ^ Brown, Peter (November 2, 2016). "Owlboy Review". GameSpot. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  14. ^ a b Rad, Chloi (November 2, 2016). "OWLBOY REVIEW". IGN. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  15. ^ Prescott, Shaun (November 11, 2016). "Owlboy review". pcgamer. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  16. ^ Grayson, Nathan (July 10, 2013). "ELEVATEWAR: Owlboy Dev's Elevator Brawler Savant". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  17. ^ Priestman, Chris. "NEARLY 10 YEARS IN THE MAKING, THERE'S STILL PLENTY OF REASON TO CARE ABOUT OWLBOY". Kill Screen. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  18. ^ Madsen, Jo-Remi (7 April 2017). "Indies On Tour - How we escaped the office, and discovered the world". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 

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