A relaxing and a reflective journey through a lost civilization. An interesting array of creatures, the sumptuous soundtrack, and the colorful aesthetics make the trip worth the effort.
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
Developer: Jonas Manke
Future Friends Games
Release date: 29 July, 2021
Omno is a single player, third person, exploration and puzzle adventure.
As a staff bearer it is your duty to discover and retrace your ancestors’ footsteps. Travel through an ancient world filled with creatures who respond to your command and release a life force you can harness and power. Collect enough resources to carry on your journey, along the way learning more about the past and the lost civilization which lays broken before you.
Omno has ten playable areas, within five chapters, which have their own distinctive feel. Expect to walk through forests, deserts, icy tundra, and the clouds, on your quest to find the truth about your lost civilization.
To continue your journey, you need to collect at least three power globes which will activate the gateway to the next destination. Once activated, a trial ensues, and if completed, you will be led to the next area. The trial usually involves a memory game, jumping on platforms to light them in a certain sequence; Other times you may have to use your special skills to navigate an assault course of sorts.
As a staff bearer you are a spiritual being and have a close connection to nature and the world around you. The creatures that roam the lands, respond to your presence and will drop essence for you. This power can be used to activate ancient machinery, used for puzzles, or collect a power globe.
There are five power globes to collect in each level, four of which will need thought and precision.
There are also information cubes scattered around the area which will reveal details of your ancestor’s thoughts and struggles when carrying out the same pilgrimage.
Praying at a shrine will reveal the location of the power globes in a crude map, but will not reveal the location of the information cubes or the animals.
There are forty-one animals to encounter from large dinosaur like looking creatures to ones that are small and nimble. After the end of each chapter, you will ride a legendary beast to the next area.
As you progress through each chapter, you will acquire a new power. Eventually you will be able to ski, teleport, burst jump and float. As each power is introduced, the level will concentrate its puzzles on that power and any power received before. This makes later levels more difficult and more interesting as all powers need to be used in conjunction to solve puzzles.
The puzzles vary in difficulty. It is usually quite straightforward to get the minimum of three globes needed to progress. One of these just requires you collecting enough energy to release the orb. Others might need creative platforming skills, finding hidden paths, or navigating a tricky route.
New mechanics are introduced regularly including switches to move objects around; strategically pushing cubes to reach new areas; activating machinery to reveal new platforms or starting timed events; using wind drafts to soar into the air; hitting energy bursts that lift you and using trampolines.
The environments are quite beautiful, with some lovely palettes of color. Levels aren’t very detailed but are charming. The main character shows some emotion, especially with his companion and pet, and moves around realistically, either on foot, on his skis or floating in the air.
The creatures are very cute, and the legendary creatures are awesome, and very well drawn and animated.
The sound is absolutely gorgeous with orchestral movements and haunting choral voices.
This is particularly evident in the legendary beast scenes but the music is superb throughout the game.
Omno is beautiful to behold. You can tell the solo developer has experience in animation. The creatures’ movements are very believable and full of charm. There are lots of weird and wonderful creations to meet. My favorites were the larger animals and the legendary beasts. I particularly enjoyed riding them at the end of chapters. It had an almost a Disneyesque like quality and feeling, watching those majestic beasts travel through the landscapes and hearing the captivating soundtrack.
The environments are incredibly vibrant with a rich vein of color throughout. They’re not particularly detailed but somehow it looks great, and certainly fulfills all the requirements needed.
The music is sublime and soars on waves of angelic splendor. The soundtrack throughout the game is extremely pleasant and relaxing.
The combination of the two make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience, much akin to Journey in both structure and feel.
The puzzle elements are a mixed bag.
I think they have kept some relatively simple so that progress can be made by all ages. You are not required to complete all the puzzles to continue the journey, but you will be missing out if you don’t attempt them. Most of the time spent in game was trying to complete the harder puzzles. Some of them were quite imaginative and had me thinking they were impossible to complete. There is always a solution however and there were some eureka moments which felt satisfying.
Puzzle solutions are nothing new and contain many features already seen in lots of other games of this type. They can feel a little repetitive sometimes. The powers you possess added spice to proceedings. I sort of wish they were all introduced earlier on rather than handed out in stages though!
The story is typically ambiguous with room for interpretation, but I found it a little more interesting than some games of this genre. Obviously, the amount of lore you find in the game will determine how much of an overall picture you will receive, and some of those information cubes are difficult to locate so you could miss out.
Please note there is only one save slot and for some absolutely bizarre reason you won’t be able to continue your game after completion. There are chapter selections but once you start a chapter it will write over your progress, completely negating all animals discovered, puzzles solved and lore collected. The only advantage being you can skip levels. If like me, on your first run through, you miss one animal, then you will have to play through the whole game again. Crazy!
Omno is a relaxing and charming adventure with great visuals and a luscious soundtrack.
For walking sim fans this is probably enough and although not as dramatic as Journey, there are clear comparisons.
For puzzle enthusiasts you can partake in as much or as little as you would like, but I would recommend diving in and challenging yourself to get the most out of this title.
The puzzles are reasonably easy to complete with a little thought and experimentation but do feel a little repetitive and nothing new.
Overall, The game is a pleasure to play, especially if you want to chill out and relax.