'Omno': The new soul-pleasing indie game31.07.2021, 15:20
Most people have either loved or got a little bored with Journey, missing out on the classic game's wide, fluid scope and spiritual quality. There was also a multiplayer element, allowing wanderers of a vast landscape with structures of a deserted civilization to at least play alongside other players, even communicate with them via music.
Sky: Children of the Light (by the same developer) has since managed to take this further and added extra features allowing players to inhabit - and interpret - the new, uplifting realms of Sky. It’s a lot more sociable, and you could meet some people and become part of the fanbase and community.
But Sky is only available (for now) free on Nintendo Switch, so if you’re looking to fill a gap then... Omno is perfect, and it's just out.
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This one has been created by one guy, and it stands as a tribute to his dedication, where it also says something about the power of the tools available today for developers. And there is a similarity to Rime, another great indie game with intuitive exploration.
Omno will draw you in, allow you to explore a beautiful world at your own pace, and there are some puzzles to solve, and fluid platforming. It’s a little lonely, but that’s its own thing too. It should be great for some kids, since it doesn’t feed them non-stop action but works to intrigue them, and lead them to explore another lost civilization.
The power of these games lies in their understatement and subtlety, as though something existed here before the player ever arrived. They've been designed so you can unearth and discover things freely, and not in conventional, hand-holding or just by following a direct progression. In fact, even a lot of supposedly 'open-world', free-roam games don't really imbue the player with this sense of possibility, wonder, self-discovery as a player, or just that anything can happen.
Not only do you get some cool travel, surfing mechanics, but there are plenty of creatures to meet and interact with. It’s a chill-out game, where the sound and art creates a top-notch atmosphere.
It’s these kind of intuitive games that have filled themselves up with enchantment for players to encounter and also experience. Making it intuitive though means being ambitious and inventive with gaming conventions.
They’re special kinds of games, which will continue to endear players of all ages, who spend time in them, and leave them with fond, escapist memories of the ride.
The question that lingers is... how far can you push or create an environment where a player plays intuitively? Omno is perhaps only limited by its adherence to former, familiar games, where it could have been even more daring if it had managed to shake itself more free of them.
There’s a trend here though. Perhaps this genre of games without any combat etc. are still on a journey towards a place where deliberate puzzles or familiar game elements are not the main focus. What if you could inject some more creative or artistic aspects into these - artistic - experiences?
It makes you think, and that’s a sign of an ambitious game, where there are some deeper ideas for other games to take further... For now, we can also enjoy Omno for what it is, within existing confines. Your soul will smile again.
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