Owlboy released in 2016. Not only is that a pure statement of fact, it’s something I don’t think I would have believed in, say, 2009. Back then, the game was one of the first real independent efforts in the world of development.

Before we had the likes of Braid (out in 2008), Limbo (2010), Fez (2012), Super Meat Boy (2010) and the indie movement in general, small developer D-Pad Studio began work on Owlboy. The game was delayed, delayed and delayed again before the 2016 release date finally started to materialize.

Then it launched, and I loved Owlboy.

We wound up with a game that mixes Metroid and Zelda with Kid Icarus and Metal Slug, and it’s a beautiful collection. The soundtrack, the art style and the storyline are all fantastic, too.

The adventure itself is a harrowing one, and it stars an unlikely hero with the ability to fly while carrying allies. While playing, players control the owl’s flight and fire his passenger’s weapons. It works really well in motion, and it’s a mechanic that never overstays its welcome.

The campaign lasts around eight hours, give or take, though you can leisurely move through the story in around 10. I’d say that’s what you should do. It’s $25 and worth every penny.

Owlboy is one of the few games to release after a decade of work that actually turns out great. It’s rare in this industry to see a title go through so many iterations and so much work only to release in such high quality. That’s what we had here. Owlboy was somehow worth all the wait.