Chill adventure games are rapidly becoming a staple of the indie gaming scene. There’s something incredible that happens to a player when you put them in a relaxed world, use a unique visual style, and then make everything fascinating to look upon and interact with.
A lot of these games forego anything complex outside of the path you’ll be treading. They aim to just have you wandering through a fairly set path, marvelling at everything you come across. However, Omno, a game by Jonas Manke, leans a little more into some traditional puzzle mechanics and the classic collectathon to keep players engaged.
Follow the light
You take control of a little dude who’s simply treading the path in front of them. As you come across magical shrines, you’ll unleash light upon the world, follow the journals of those who came before you and discover the journey that they went on, and slowly unravel more about the fantastical world you’re inhabiting.
You could, if you wanted to, blitz through Omno by doing the bare minimum in each area. That means getting three orbs of light, and then solving the puzzle that is activated once you’ve done so. Each of these puzzles is absolutely designed to test both your creativity and how much you’ve been paying attention to your abilities. However, playing like this would have you missing out on some of the best bits of Omno.
You see, alongside the journey you’re undertaking, you’ve also got a bestiary that you can slowly fill up by finding new lifeforms in each area. These range from simple things like little bugs that run away from you, to more peculiar entities like gigantic dinosaur-esque beings and big old flying jellyfish. This, in my opinion, is where Omno is strongest.
An occasional head-scratcher
I enjoyed the puzzles in Omno, though I found myself lost on a couple of them as I messed up a jump that made me believe it was impossible, but that’s on me. I found some of the puzzles to be a little predictable, but it’s tough to balance puzzles in a game where they’re not really the main focus of the experience. If you make them too tough, then players who are here for the journey won’t have fun, too easy, and those here for a challenge won’t find any.
You also unlock new abilities as your journey progresses, which add a bit of mobility most of the time, and also help to keep things interesting from a gameplay standpoint.
Aside from the wonderful creatures, the place Omno is best is the aesthetic, the vibes. Both the audio and the visual design are truly beautiful. The strange design of everything feels ever-so-slightly off, and it gives a constant feeling of the uncanny throughout, but not in an unsettling way, just in a way that inspires a bit of wonder and intrigue. The music helps to keep the mood perfectly in tune with where you are and what you’re doing too, so it’s exactly what it needs to be.