Five years in the making, Omno is finally ready for primetime.
Omno is a gorgeous game and much of the fun is to be had in discovering the world by your own means – there’s no hand-holding or patronising tutorials to sit through here. By its very nature, this review does contain mild spoilers about how I discovered things, and much of the fun I had with Omno was in doing just that; working things out for myself and understanding what I was required to do in order to continue the journey. That being said, if you want to dive into Omno as I did, stop reading now. You will thank me later. The review starts below.
Every once in a while a game comes along that somehow just clicks with you. You don’t quite know how or why, or even what makes it so special, it just is. Omno is one of those games, at least for me.
Release Date: July 29th, 2021
Developer: Studio Inkyfox
Publisher: Future Friends Games, Studio Inkyfox
Availability: PSN (Digital)
There’s something about it – whether that be its chilled atmosphere, its gorgeous world, or its soothing soundtrack, there’s something special about Omno – even if you can’t quite put your finger on what it is.
Omno is a puzzle-based exploration game from Studio Inkyfox, and even though it’s a fairly short experience, it’s an enjoyable one nonetheless. It doesn’t do anything new or revolutionary, but what it does do, it does incredibly well. And remember – this is coming from a one-man team.
There are no enemies to defeat and no life bar to preserve – in fact, Omno shuns a HUD entirely, allowing the staff bearer you control to be your sole focus. This is partly what makes Omno such a chilled experience, as you are free to explore the world at your own pace, clumsily climbing rocks or surfing your way around the landscape without having to worry about threats lurking around every corner.
In Omno, each of the game’s ten levels gives you a different task to complete. Excluding a few on-screen prompts early on, Omno leaves it up to you to work out what you have to do to progress. Even though this is often obvious, I appreciated the subtle way that the game guided me onwards without being overbearing.
Progression comes in the form of collecting orbs of light that are dotted around the landscape. Collect enough, and a pillar will reveal the area’s exit which allows you to move on to the next section.
There are many ways to go about collecting these orbs of light. You can choose to complete simple platforming challenges, or solve some puzzles – what you do is up to you. Omno doesn’t force you to do everything in an area in order to unlock the next one, and that, too, helps add to Omno’s appeal. Stuck on something? Don’t worry about it, move on and try something else.
Each level contains a variety of creatures to encounter and glyphs to unlock, none of which are required to unlocking the next level. I still found myself hunting them out anyway, with the glyphs filling in some of the backstories while each animal can be interacted with, responding to your button prompts in various ways.
These animals all have distinct personalities, and if you choose to interact with them they shed smaller orbs of light. Collect enough of these and you become supercharged for a few seconds, zipping across the terrain as if struck by lightning. Once charged up, you can then interact with a large obelisk which unlocks another area of the map or another puzzle to solve.
It all plays out in a delightful reward loop, and Omno excels in letting you stumble across its world naturally. Much of my joy while playing Omno came about through discovery as I slowly worked out the solution to a puzzle, which in turn helped me move on to the next.
The puzzles in Omno aren’t overly difficult, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t challenging or satisfying to complete. There are a few mechanics that Omno employs within its puzzles, and once you understand this language, it all begins to click into place, and again, like everything else, it feels very natural and organic.
My only complaints about Omno are relatively minor, with the biggest being that the game is over far too soon. I completed Omno on the day I started, so don’t expect a long experience. I savoured my few short hours in Omno’s world and I would have happily spent a few more hours exploring its colourful landscape.
My second gripe is that there were a few times when the controls felt a little bit clunky, particularly during the gliding sections. Again, this is a minor complaint, and Omno doesn’t punish you for failing – there is no game over screen nor are you made to feel silly for messing up a jump, no matter how easy it should have been.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Omno and Journey, as both are soothing puzzle experiences that manage to challenge you in fine and subtle ways, never holding your hand or bashing you over the head with instructions. Instead, you’re left to explore at your own pace, slowly working things out for yourself while never losing that sense of satisfaction when you finally do. Omno is a great addition to the puzzle-platform genre, and if you consider yourself a fan of that genre, you’d be silly to not give Omno a chance.
Omno PS5, PS4 Review
Like a crossword puzzle completed on a Sunday afternoon, Omno challenges you in a relaxed and soothing way, and when you manage to overcome its obstacles, it leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. If you’re looking for a simple but satisfying puzzle experience, look no further – Omno is here.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5.