System: Steam (Also on Nintendo Switch & PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Jonas Manke | Future Friends Games, StudioInkyfox
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £14.99 | EU € 17,99 | USA $18.99
Release Date: July 29th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Future Friends Games
A New Adventure
Omno is a 3D puzzle adventure game that was developed by one talented individual. After successfully being Kickstarted in 2018, the game has now seen its final release to PC and consoles with a Nintendo Switch port also on the way for the handheld lovers. Omno will stand out to players with its simple yet beautiful graphical style and enchanting music. Need to know more? Then read on.
Explore and Discover
Omno is very vague with its story. You play as a young tribal creature who has awoken from a nap. With your staff in hand the objective appears to be to explore the world looking for these white shining orbs hidden in the area. These can be obtained by platforming and solving some simple puzzles. One can also be obtained by collecting enough white pixels by interacting with the plants and animals in the area. These interactions also get logged in a codex if you want to admire the creatures later.
There are several orbs to find in each area, but you only need three to trigger the final area puzzle and then move onto the next region. Before you leave, the game does let you know your percentage completion so if you do want to grab absolutely everything you can take the time to do that before moving on. As you progress you also unlock new moves, such as the ability to dash and even ride on your staff which was my preferred method of transportation around the open landscapes. Controls are simple to pick up and play and when the game does introduce a new mechanic it flags up a brief tutorial on how to use the new move.
Later in the game you befriend a green little flying creature who acts as your friendly companion. Every now and then you can stop to give him a nice pat on the head. The impression I get from playing, is that you are on a quest to discover the light. But much like games like Journey, it’s really up to the player’s interpretation of what you take from the experience.
What I can say is the experience is casual and stress-free. I did get a little confused with some of the puzzles, but nothing that a little trial and error couldn’t solve. If you somehow do fall off a cliff or drown in a swamp you instantly respawn back at a close checkpoint. This is designed for gamers of all skill levels. The main enjoyment of the experience is exploring the world and just going at your own pace.
Simple and Beautiful
The graphical style of the game is simple but beautiful. The 3D world feels vibrant and alive from murky swamps to warm deserts and chilly winter regions. It’s familiar territory but it looks peaceful and tranquil. Animals freely roam around the open areas from bunny-like creatures to giant flying jellyfish you can jump on. They are mostly cute re-imaged creatures from planet Earth and folklore. There is also a generous variety of plant life.
Grass waves as you walk or fly past it and there are some beautiful lighting effects as you come across a new landscape. Sometimes you just have to sit back and take in the spectacle. The music is very chilled, nicely suiting the relaxing gameplay style. There were moments I could have happily just stopped playing and had a moment of meditation listening to the score. The good news the soundtrack is available to purchase separately on Steam.
Short and Sweet
Omno clocks in at about 3 hours on an initial playthrough. But that time extends if you stop to look for all of the codex entries and collectables in an area. When the game is finished you can also jump into a time trial mode to add a little more challenge to the experience. The game saves regularly so there is no need to rush the experience.
Conclusion – A Shining Light
Omno is a gaming experience to take in and appreciate. Beautiful music and graphics make this the meditative gaming experience some gamers will adore. Particularly if you need that important escapism from stress or an excuse not to do the washing up for a few more hours. It’s a game that lets you go at your own pace and will likely ignite the feels with its cute animal interactions. An incredible achievement from a solo developer and musician combo that is well worth taking the time to explore.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot