Ori and the Will of the Wisps introduced many new abilities and skills. Given so many choices, what are players supposed to use first? Well, I have tested out all the abilities, skills, and their upgrades, so I can tell you which ones are the best.
The first ability you get costs 400 Spirit Light, so it is important to choose wisely. I highly recommend buying Spirit Smash for several reasons. First of all, it costs no energy to use and packs quite the punch, allowing Ori to deal heavy damage to enemies. This weapon can also break enemy shields and armor, which adds to its usefulness.
Just be wary when using Spirit Smash, because Ori will have a slower attack speed. Such is the drawback of a powerful, but heavy weapon. However, the extra damage is not even the best part about this ability.
What makes Spirit Smash so amazing, is that it can break weak stone walls, allowing Ori to gain access to areas he normally would not be able to get into. This will help you get easy access to more Spirit Shards, Life Cells, Energy Cells or Spirit Light. Additionally, you can open up many shortcuts between areas of the map.
Below is an example of a breakable structure. Most of them look exactly like it, so you can easily recognize breakable areas. It is possible to break these structures with Spike, but there is one wall that can only be broken by Spirit Smash.
Next what you want to do, is get the Quickshot and Splinter Spirit Shards as fast as you can. These are absolutely free to get, you just need to reach them. Both of these skills cannot be obtained until you reach Krowolok’s Hollow. The first one you can get is Quickshot, after you obtain the Dash ability. In fact, it is directly on the path you take to exit the area. You can stop and grab the skill before continuing with the story.
As for Splinter, you can get this immediately after getting the Bash ability. The location is really close to the Bash-giving tree. All you have to do, is go up from the tree, but instead of continuing up you want to break the cracked purple structure. There is a lever there that you need to pull, because it will open a door. After opening the door, go through it and just keep going straight -- Splinter is at the very end of this area. To help you find both of these abilities more easily, I have a video showing you exactly how to get them.
After you get Splinter, you will want to upgrade it because that is where the real power is. Just continue on with the story, it will lead you to the Spirit Shard vendor. He will sell you the first Splinter upgrade for 400 Spirit Light, and the final upgrade for 1,000 Spirit Light. Each upgrade adds an extra arrow, making a total of 5 arrows with the fully upgraded version, and creating a far more powerful Spirit Arc that can deal heavy damage and even one-shot some enemies!
Now that you have all those, it is time to purchase your next ability: Spike. It will cost 800 Spirit Light to purchase, but it is worth it. This is by far the most powerful ability in the game. However, the energy cost to use it is really high to make up for the damage it deals. That is why I recommend getting Spike after Spirit Smash, Quickshot, and Splinter. If you got Spike right away, it would take all your energy to use just one time. Once you have a lot more energy, Spike is far more useful and becomes worth the cost.
Other than that, the only other ability you want is Water Breath. There are a lot more underwater areas in Ori and the Will of the Wisps than there were in Ori and the Blind Forest. Water Breath is definitely a must, just to make those areas less stressful. Water Breath is a cheap ability, only costing 500 Spirit Light, so there is no reason to not get it. You should get Water Breath after you beat the Wellspring, since you cannot go under water before then.
What about the other abilities you can buy? Well, the other ones the vendor sells you are not really worth buying. I know that Sentry and Blaze sound like great abilities, but each only does one damage a second, so against harder enemies they are useless. As for Spirit Star, it can be hard to aim correctly and get it to hit enemies. Overall the damage of Sentry, Blaze, and Spirit Star pales in comparison to Spirit Smash and Spike.
After getting all these, there is now the question of upgrades. The upgrades you can get do not add damage to abilities. Instead, they add an additional effect.
Spirit Smash gets a shockwave added to it for 1200 Spirit Shards. This shockwave can be activated by holding down the input for the down direction, and using Spirit Smash. As for Spike, it gets an AOE effect added, so it can damage multiple enemies. This upgrade is more expensive at 1600 Spirit Light.
Both of these upgrades work really well, and the decision on which to buy first is up to you.
As for your skills, Quickshot and Splinter make Spirit Arc a force to be reckoned with. Other than those two, the rest of the skills are up to you. Moon Studios created a large variety of skills to suit any playstyle. So which ones can be considered good or bad will be different for everyone.
For the combat oriented playstyle I have been talking about, you can combine the skills Reckless, Spirit Surge, Finesse, and Lifeforce with Quickshot and Splinter for maximum damage. Just be careful, since Reckless makes Ori take extra damage.
I hope this guide has helped you out, and good luck restoring peace to the forest!