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The Omno review
Chill adventure games are quickly becoming a staple of the indie gaming scene. Something incredible happens to a player when you place them in a relaxed world, use a unique visual style and make everything fascinating to watch and work with.
Many of these games forego anything complex beyond the path you are about to tread. They just want you to wander along a reasonably marked path and marvel at everything you encounter. However, Omno, a game by Jonas Manke, relies a bit more on some traditional puzzle mechanics and the classic collectathon to keep players engaged.
A lot of people I’ve talked to about Omno recently have told me it’s a bit like Journey or those kinds of games. Empty spaces, just you and the environment, compelling soundtracks and the various distant cries of carefully arranged nature. Epiphany and a decent light show as a reward for achieving your goal and progressing. In fact, looking at that opening anecdote I just wrote about, it sounds a bit like Journey or those kinds of games. You can surf the ground, fishing between arches. Magic panels and ancient rock!
Omno is a single player adventure game that takes you on a magical journey through a beautiful landscape; one that is full of wonders and amazing creatures. What I especially liked about this game, as with others, is that the story is told without any kind of voiceover or words. Instead, there are some special books you discover on your journey that give you poetic text like “Follow the Light” or longer clues to the world around you. After spending some time in this world, I still don’t really know who the hero you play is: maybe it’s Omno, maybe it’s Frank or even Lucy. It doesn’t matter though, because it’s the journey that counts.
You take control of a little guy who just walks the path in front of them. As you come across magical shrines, you shine light on the world, follow the diaries of those who came before you and discover the journey they took, and slowly unravel more about the fantastic world you inhabit.
You could, if you wanted to, blast through Omno by doing the bare minimum in every area. That means getting three orbs and then solving the puzzle that will be activated once you’ve done that. Each of these puzzles is absolutely designed to test your creativity as well as how much thought you’ve put into your skills. However, if you play this way, you’ll miss out on some of Omno’s best bits.
You see, in addition to the journey you are on, you also have a bestiary that you can slowly fill up by finding new life forms in each area. These range from simple things like little critters running away from you, to more quirky entities like giant dinosaur-like creatures and big old flying jellyfish. This, in my opinion, is where Omno is strongest.
I enjoyed the puzzles in Omno, although I got myself lost on a few of them as I was messing around up a jump that made me believe it was impossible, but that’s just me. I found some of the puzzles a bit predictable, but it’s hard to balance puzzles in a game where they’re not really the main focus of the experience. If you make them too hard, players here for the journey won’t have fun, too easy, and those here for a challenge won’t find any.
You’ll also unlock new abilities as your journey progresses, which usually add a bit of mobility, as well as help keep things interesting from a gameplay standpoint.
Apart from the beautiful creatures, the place where Omno is best is the aesthetics, the atmosphere. Both the audio and visual design are truly beautiful. The odd design of everything feels a bit odd, and it gives a constant sense of the eerie, but not in a disturbing way, just in a way that evokes a bit of wonder and intrigue. The music helps set the mood perfectly for where you are and whatever you’re doing, so it’s exactly what it needs to be.
A main run through of Omno will take you about 4 to 5 hours to complete, but if you want to spend time grabbing all the orbs and finding all the creatures, you should be able to add a few more hours to that total.
The whole adventure of Omno is complemented by some images that are a delight from start to finish. The landscapes, colors and visual stories are beautiful and the design of the creatures is genius. I loved meeting and reading all these fantastic creatures up about them. The main characters of our hero and his flying dog friend are also beautifully animated, and there’s definitely room for these guys to break out of the virtual world and get into a line of cuddles.
Furthermore, the soundtrack is a perfect complement to the gameplay. It’s epic and dreamy with the right kind of drama, pathos and wonder. It’s the little details, though, that Omno really works – for example, when the main character teleports, the animation twists and turns like they’re being sucked into a wormhole… all with added audio effect. It’s honestly brilliant work.
Chances are you’ll come to love Omno just by looking at the screenshots, but once you get your hands on it, you’ll learn very quickly why that love is real. Yes, there are a few niggles, especially in the accuracy of the glide, but other than that, this is a gaming experience that is almost damn perfect.
OMNO is a game worth experiencing despite its minor flaws, especially as it is a great testament to what can be made by a single person. No complicated storyline is needed, just simple puzzles and platforming actions to create a satisfying experience. The satisfaction comes from working things out on your own and finding your own way to the Gate of Light through a journey that never gets too difficult or frustrating.
Being left to myself and trusted to explore a beautiful natural world – a world where nature itself is a kind of machine! The sense of space and confidence in a player’s ability to get what they want out of a game make it something very special. I finished Omno, but now I want to finish it. I want to see everything – all animals, all orbs, all ideas, all views. I’m going back inside.
Wrap up Omno review
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