LifeisXbox’s Omno review | Once in a while a game shows up that immediately catches your attention and full dedication, Omno is one of those games. A gorgeous, non-violent game that encourages the player to interact with creatures and explore medium-sized levels. All of that peacefully, at your own pace and full of memorable atmospheric moments. With The Falconeer earlier this year, Omno is another Xbox game that is made by a single German developer. The name from this incredibly talented dev is Jonas Manke, who previously worked on a franchise Xbox gamers know by heart… State of Decay! By the way, Falconeer and Omno have one thing in common, composer Benedict Nichols created the music for both games!
ℹ️ | We played Omno for four hours on Xbox Series X, this game is also available on Xbox Game Pass, PS4 and Steam.
What we liked!
- I don’t know a game with better low-poly visuals | Omno constantly shows impressive wide-open vistas in a beautiful visual style devoid of textures. It takes a few minutes to get used to it but the result is fantastic. Rarely will you play a game with more atmosphere! It is not perfect, as sometimes you’ll see a few pop-ups in the distance but Omno managed to impress me on many occasions. Jonas Manke’s use of colour in the environments are very well done with habitats ranging from swamps, ice mountains and forests.
- Exploration is key | Omno is all about exploring levels. With each level you’ll need to find three light orbs that will unlock the level’s exit puzzle, there’s even more to find that help you understand what is happening. Additional motivation comes from unlocking achievements, each level has 100% achievements and you’ll always be warned if you leave an area. So you’ll never miss out on the satisfaction of finishing levels. (Something other games can learn from) Platforming and puzzle-solving are the main factors of the fun and are always pretty simple and straightforward. There was one rotating camera puzzle that took a bit more effort but that’s because I missed the most logical way of solving it, so that was my bad.
- Adorable peaceful creatures | Each habitat has creatures that help you with your journey, they give you light energy for faster movement or for powering objects. These 40 friendly friends can all be interacted with and have cute animations. They come in all sorts of sizes, cute little worms or tower high dinosaurs. Variation is remarkable here and I was always looking forward to seeing what was next. A sort of Pokémon – Gotta catch ’em all – feeling was heavily present while playing Omno.
- Music that give you chills | The music in the background or with impressive visual moments or cues is nothing short of brilliant. When you make a game by yourself like Jonas Manke it must be such a relief that you have someone like Benedict Nichols. He lifts up everything with his sound, charming moments become more lasting, beautiful views become more epic and exploring the levels become more relaxing. His sound work is straight-up Game of the Year material.
- Chill gameplay and vague story | It is refreshing to play Omno as it lacks any sort of stress or violence. None of the scary or larger creatures can harm you and while your nameless playable character has a large staff it is never used for combat. So nope, the staff doesn’t fire sparkly electric bolts. It’s rare to see this kind of experience without threats so thumbs up to the developer for making the game interesting with other means. This is something you notice with the vague story too. You connect the dots by finding collectables in the ten levels, all of this is done without voiced dialogue. That sounds a bit negative at first but figuring things out yourself is a big part of the game’s charm.
- Performance issues | It runs smoothly 80% of the time but some stutter is noticeable when turning the camera and very rarely the game drops from 60fps to 30fps on Xbox Series X. Omno’s dev addressed this issue, he didn’t have a Series X devkit so an optimization patch will eventually happen in the future. Don’t let this be a reason to ignore Omno as it runs smooth as butter most of the time.
- Advanced platforming controls don’t feel right | Luckily for Omno it is a very forgiving game if you manage to die you instantly respawn at a near checkpoint. This only happens when you fall into an endless pit, so I’m pretty sure that some players will never even have to use the checkpoint system. You won’t die from creatures, you don’t die if you fall from height and there isn’t a lethal puzzle either. The sole reason for meeting your end is the awkwardness of some advanced platforming mechanics that unlock halfway and near the end of the game. Especially the gliding mechanic doesn’t always work as it should with failed registered button presses, which can result in a few cheap deaths or frustrations. Snowboarding on your staff feels smooth and very cool but sometimes the turning gets stuck so you end up moving right or left without your intention. A few rocky bumps along a beautiful road of memorable setpieces.
What we disliked
- Slightly repetitive | You initially fall in love with Omno’s first hour but after a few more it becomes stuck in the friendzone. Why? After giving it some thought I realised that it lacks a more unique structure in level design. Each of the ten levels is loosely the same, they look completely different and have level-specific creatures but the way forward is always the same. You look for three light orbs and solve the main level puzzle, it becomes a bit predictable and repetitive.
How long to beat the story | 4 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 5 hours
Similar with | The Journey – Abzu
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