When I first covered Omno‘s Kickstarter at the beginning of the month, I was curious whether the exploration puzzle-platformer would feel as good as it looks. Now having tried a playable demo for myself, I’m confident that solo developer Jonas Manke is working on something special here. To get hold of the just-released demo, you’ll need to sign up to Studio Inkyfox’s mailing list, but I reckon it’s worth the legwork, even if it’s an all-too-brief experience. Who needs textures when you’ve lighting this nice?
Omno’s demo is currently short, sweet and gently paced, although the developer has mentioned that he will be keeping it updated. Whether that means more content later, I can’t say. Playing as a cute onion-headed wizardly figure, your main interaction in Omno at present is shaking down the world for magical power, but non-violently. You chase around cute little rabbity creatures and they squeak, dropping motes of glowing energy. Luminous bees sprinkle you with mana as you approach, and lumbering rock-crabs need to be gently jostled with a tap of your staff on the ground.
So far, all the interactions in the game (aside from cracking a few rocks) are non-violent – at most, you’re just mildly irritating the local fauna, and I hope the full game keeps that up. The demo sadly segues to a (literal) sandbox just after you meet your first full-sized dinosaur, but the big lizard seems friendly enough. The only real puzzle in the demo is mild, but the platforming feels solid. The initial spell that you get – an aerial dash that can be used for teleportation later – feels whooshy enough to be suitably magical and the particle effects feel just right.
Once the demo ends, you’re left by yourself, but free to explore a second environment using your staff as a magical surfboard. It’s immediately reminiscent of surfing across the dunes in Journey, but feels satisfying. There’s a weight to every animation that feels just right without getting in the way of control response. I admit that I played this demo with a gamepad (this seems a very good lying-on-the-sofa game), but the mouse controls feel responsive enough, from the brief poke I gave them.
Even without the aid of the demo, Omno sailed past its initial €32,000 Kickstarter funding goal in short order. There’s a week left, and with the launch of this demo, I can easily see it filling out all of the developer’s stretch goals over its final week. £13/€15 gets you a copy of the game when it’s finished, and it’s aiming to launch next September. You can find more on its Steam and official pages.