Omno by Jonas Manke
Omno is an exploration-focused game about following a path to the Light: a path that will lead to puzzles, mysterious ruins, and even some friendly creatures along the way. It’s a third-person game that felt oddly familiar.
A Journey by Any Other Name
This game takes inspiration from thatgamecompany’s Journey, which is not a bad game to be inspired by. Certain sections of the game felt really similar, like when I was gliding downhill while a sweeping score played in the background or how the protagonist doesn’t speak and the narrative is purposely sparse.
Thankfully the game ends up doing enough to form into its own experience, feeling less like a clone and more unique.
Instead of creating a guided narrative journey, the game is more focused on exploration and puzzle-solving. There are collectibles to find, lore text passages to uncover, and plenty of wildlife to encounter. Numerous different types of locales to explore help keep the game from feeling dull.
Each area is like a small hub each with puzzles and things to find. Once I uncovered a certain amount of light orbs, I could progress to the next area. Cute little creatures roam around, adding some character to each area. Ruined structures and ancient statues add to the mystery of it all. Thanks to the fun to explore areas, it creates a fun gameplay loop for those who enjoy a casual exploration experience.
Getting There Is Half the Fun
Puzzles themselves aren’t necessarily difficult, nor are they too easy, and there are plenty of jumping, timing, and sequence puzzles throughout. Overall, the puzzles don’t feel stale thanks to the game introducing some more interesting movement abilities, but overall I’d say that the puzzles take more of a backseat to the game’s focus on exploration.
Platforming is made more enjoyable thanks to the game’s traversal abilities. There are dash, glide and teleportation abilities to make things more interesting. The glide helps make traversing big areas less of a chore, while the dash makes platforming sections a bit more complex.
I do wish that the game had a more compelling narrative, or perhaps presented it in a more interesting way. More environmental storytelling would have gone a long way to create even better areas to explore. But most of the lore and narrative seems to be confined to on-screen text paragraphs, which is a shame because the lore in this game has some compelling aspects to it.
A Mellow Trip
The game opts for a more straightforward, low poly-aesthetic. It has this solid color, clay look to everything. It reminded me a lot of the game Grow Home. Small details like visible air particles and swaying grass keep it all from feeling bland. It works well with the game’s more relaxing atmosphere.
The music in this game features somber tunes. It’s a collection of piano, female vocals, flutes and violins. Like Journey, moments in the game are enhanced thanks to its wonderful soundtrack. The music is key to making the game feel even more relaxing.
Omno is an enjoyable game for those looking for an exploration-focused experience. Puzzles are good, platforming is good and exploration is fun. If you’re a fan of Journey or just a fan of relaxing experiences, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Omno is available via the Nintendo Game Store, Sony PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Steam, and Epic Games Store.
Check out the official trailer for Omno below: