Reviews - Updated on March 31, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Sometimes independent developers want to be independent so much that they do all the work alone. German Jonas Manke is just one of those – for five years he worked on a dream project called Omno. The game attracted the attention of gamers and industry representatives even before the release: the Kickstarter campaign became successful, Epic gave the author a large mega-grant, and Microsoft invited Manke to add his creation to the Game Pass subscription. Everything was not in vain – Omno turned out to be a wonderful, enchanting adventure that remains in memory for a long time.

In the animal world

In the role of a nameless hero, we find ourselves in a beautiful world about which we know nothing. Besides us, there is not a single humanoid creature here, but there are numerous records that a lone wanderer left behind in random places. From his stories, we learn about the civilization that lived on this territory and the desire of the mysterious pilgrim to get into the “new world” that awaits him beyond the gates of light.

Omno: Overview

You should not be afraid of creatures – no one attacks the hero.

According to the wanderer’s notes, this place used to be different and his relatives lived in harmony with nature. But at some point there was a great departure – the staff-bearers built a portal to a new world, where “something more was waiting for them all.” Throughout the game, we follow in the footsteps of the chronicler and follow the same path, trying to understand what the locals might not like and prompted them to leave the territory.

Omno: Overview

Sometimes the records say the same thing in different words, but it’s not scary.

Despite the fact that the protagonist does not let go of the staff, there is no need to fight here. Omno is a game about exploring small locations, in each of which we need to find three spheres of light. As soon as they are collected, a puzzle is activated, which opens access to the next area – and so on until the finale. The structure is monotonous, but the game does its best to keep it inconspicuous.

In particular, each transition between locations is accompanied by a breathtaking scene – either we climb onto the legendary creature and fly to the next target on autopilot, or we move through the air using the power of the wind on our own. The music in these episodes is especially good (the soundtrack is the only thing another person helped Manka with), and it makes the already great episodes even better.

Omno: Overview

Luxury screenshot generator.

Not just a pretty story

The regions themselves are quite diverse, and the point is not only in their visual design (there are swamps, and snow-capped mountains, and sandy plains), but also in the fauna inhabiting them. There are more than 40 creatures that react differently to the hero passing by and his attempts to interact with them. Someone hides and runs away, someone tosses the character or wants to follow him. All of them are very different: both tall animals that look like giraffes with wings from dragonflies, and rodents hiding underground, and flying birds, more reminiscent of marine life.

On the road.

All this enlivens the locations, and the fact that in each region you meet several new unique individuals makes the passage even more exciting. The game pushes you to interact with them – when you approach and press the indicated button, after a short scene, they present the protagonist with particles of light. And these particles not only speed up the character for a few seconds, but are also needed to get some spheres – in each location there is one stele where you need to hand over the collected light.

All beings give light.

In other cases, the spheres are obtained by other methods – the player needs to either jump on the platforms, or solve a simple puzzle with moving columns, jumping on buttons, or something else. All this does not cause any difficulties, and with the passage of 100% there will be no difficulties. But if you still can’t get some sphere, you don’t have to suffer – to access the next area, only three pieces are required, despite the fact that there are always twice as many of them in the region. All of them are marked on a stylish map, but the records of the pilgrim will have to be looked for by yourself, since they usually lie in the most prominent places.

Sometimes you want to write low difficulty in games as a disadvantage, but here it is appropriate – this is a game about traveling through cute locations with charming creatures, and not about a “challenge”. And the further you go through it, the more spectacular it is, including thanks to new abilities. When a character starts riding a staff like a snowboard, the developer clearly wants you to have fun, and puts the character on a long slope with jumps. And the puzzles are getting more interesting with the advent of teleportation and dash.

Omno: Overview

The game tells you if you have found everything in the location – spheres, records and new creatures are taken into account.

What’s most impressive about Omno is how well-made it is and how good it is in terms of game design. There are no unique ideas, but there is something to be surprised at. There are no training screens, no hints, but you can think of everything yourself. Seeing the ruins in the distance, you understand that there is a riddle waiting for you there or jumping on the platforms to the next sphere. When you get a new skill, you begin to use it with such confidence, as if you had it for a long time. You solve puzzles in the same way – no need to explain that the staff is used as a lever or that the columns can be moved.

Omno: Overview

Moments like this never cease to delight.

It is incorrect to make allowances for the fact that the game was made by one person, but in the case of Omno this is not necessary – if you don’t know that this is a solo project, then you will never guess in your life. A beautiful, soulful and endlessly cozy story about travel and interaction with nature, which leaves vivid impressions and boasts pleasant gameplay. The monotonous structure lubricates the impression, but in no way makes the game bad – on the contrary, such adventures are sorely lacking.

Pros: nice and atmospheric locations; several dozen unique creatures with different designs and habits; nice gameplay with fun puzzles and simple platforming; wonderful music.

Cons: the level structure does not change throughout the game; lack of new ideas.

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