Omno is a beautiful puzzle game I enjoyed playing with my daughter that’s fun to explore and not too challenging.
Omno is a single player puzzle and exploration game by solo developer Jonas Manke of Studio Inkyfox and published by Future Friends Games. The game released on July 29, 2021 on PC, Xbox, Xbox Game Pass and Playstation, and is coming to Nintendo Switch later in the year. It’s a very chill puzzle game and one I’ve been playing with my 4-year-old daughter. We’ve really enjoyed our time exploring each area in the game, and when she’s had enough of zooming around the map, I will get stuck into the puzzle solving. The main character reminded me of a game called Little Big Adventure in the 90’s. There’s a slight resemblance to Twinsen there I reckon, right down to the colours and that gave me a nice nostalgia hit.
Not only are the game’s visuals and music so beautiful and soothing, the simple and non-violent gameplay was also perfect for my daughter to watch and play herself as she has been learning how to use the Xbox Controller. As the game progressed, the challenges got harder where Dad had to take over, but in between the puzzles we enjoyed soaring across planes on the staff hoverboard, zooming across the map with teleports, floating to platforms and just generally having a great time together.
In each zone you will find little textbooks that give you short sentences to ponder over the greater story being told. There are then white light orbs placed around the map, three of which are required to ‘power up’ an obelisk structure which then unveils the final map challenge. Once you complete the final map challenge, you can rush to complete it, but it warns you how much percentage of the zone you’ve completed. You can raise your staff to show a radar map showing orbs you haven’t found yet. However, there are also floating books to find in each map that reveal more of the story, and these don’t show up on the radar so you’ll need to find those on your own.
Omno has several varied and beautiful biomes and within each you will find and interact with heaps of different types of critters. Meeting each one for the first time adds their info to a bestiary to read at your leisure, and they have mini light orbs you can collect. These mini light orbs, also collected from trees and rocks, fill up a little white bar on your arm. Once your arm has been fully charged, you’ll get a short speed boost and take yourself to a nearby stone structure that has a white orb on top to unlock that orb for collection.
The critters were another aspect that my daughter enjoyed discovering and interacting with in different ways. Some of them will follow you for a short time or chase you when you’re on the hoverboard, while others will be scared and drop the mini orbs to run away. You may need to dash into some to get their orbs, and others will flip you into the air, helping you get onto a nearby platform. You can jump on turtles, but they will sink if you stand on them too long. Your character dies if they go into deep water or fall off edges, and you’ll respawn at the last spawn point you unlocked.
At the end of each zone, you’ll come across a large mythical creature that will help you travel to the next group of zones. Starting with a big turtle, you’ll also be helped by a jellyfish, and dinosaur type creatures ranging from tall walking ones to flying creatures. As you progress the worlds, more of the underlying story is unravelled and you’ll also learn new abilities to use in progressive levels. You start with dash, then unlock the ability to skate/surf on your staff which my daughter particularly loved.
The start of each new area in Omno teaches you the basics of these new abilities, then you’ll be required to use them to solve that area. After dash we were able to teleport across large expanses if we saw glowing white rings. Secret areas could be unveiled if we find the little stones with a disguised grey ring. Some of these, when activated, will raise or lower platforms, set off floating platforms, or will reveal objects to jump on within a time limit. Then other puzzles involved using your staff to store light energy, placing it into a contraption that is used as a switch, enabling you to move platforms to either jump to or move out of the way as they were obstructing something else beyond them.
The challenge difficulty progressed well. There were times where I spent ages trying to jump, dash and float to what I thought was the next area and getting frustrated. I slowed down and had a wider look at the area, and the solution was either obvious with another angle, or I was just trying to get somewhere I simply couldn’t get to or didn’t need to. I would often go off to find another orb and that would inadvertently show the solution to the previous.
Overall, Omno is a beautiful puzzle game I enjoyed playing with my daughter that’s fun to explore and not too challenging. There are some mind bending challenges towards the end, but often looking at them from different views will help reveal the solution. It’s really impressive that this game was made by just one person and I look forward to his future projects.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis