Release Date: May 15, 2018
Developer: Spearhead Games
Omensight is a game that has the player talking to animals, offering amber to the Tree of Life and meditating. It would be pretty chill, except for the giant serpent slithering forth from the Void trying to end the world. In reality, Omensight’s world is filled to the brim with betrayal and political intrigue where your character, the Harbinger, fights her way through active battlefields and prison riots alike. Basically, it’s a game that contains pretty much everything I love about the medium.
As someone who delights in games that tell fantastical stories, I found Omensight an absolute joy to play. At the beginning of the game, your character is plucked from the jaws of the apocalypse at the last second and given a day to save the world. This day can be spent with different characters on both sides of the final battle for the world of Uralia. When the end inevitably comes at midnight, your character is once again saved and given the same day to live over again, this time with knowledge of the previous day’s exploits. The pattern then repeats itself again and again. It’s a concept that has been seen before, but Groundhog Day has never been this dark or complex.
Omensight was developed in a mere eighteen months by indie developers Spearhead Games, a truly incredible achievement given its depth. The story is not only brilliant but contains branching choices; it is always your choice who you spend the day with and how you react to the characters you encounter. Each character is also fully voiced, and has their own backstory to be uncovered along the way as you discover memories by exploring off the beaten track. The graphics are beautiful too. An original and stunning world has been created in Uralia, even if it sometimes it feels like it would be nice to see more of it.
While Omensight is a brilliant game, it isn’t without its flaws. About halfway through the game, I began to find myself slightly frustrated by the repetition of the scenery. Even though the Harbinger’s companion will change depending on the choices made that day, too often I ended up running through the same bits of dungeon again and again to get new information, particularly towards the endgame. Although they were always framed by different stories, eventually running through similar bits of levels and fighting similar battles, even if it was against different enemies, began to feel a bit stale.
Despite that, for the most part, the gameplay is one of my favourite parts about the game, which makes its repetitive nature much easier to swallow. I love combat that is easy to learn but hard to master, and Omensight has it in spades. It introduces compulsory skills slowly at a basic level, with the chance to improve them based on player choice. This means I could always upgrade what I was using, but was able to change up my combat if I got bored. Different abilities (including the abilities of your companions) can always be combined in a variety of ways, so I was constantly learning new ways to improve my fighting style throughout the game. The platforming is heaps of fun as well, and if you don’t like jumping across broken bridges, particular companions will give you a way out.
Omensight is one of those few games that I’d recommend for most people as there’s not much it gets wrong. It’s heaps of fun to play, beautiful to look at and has a wonderfully dark and interesting story. I would only avoid it if you have a tendency to get bored playing through similar levels, and even then, the mastering the combat and uncovering more of the story might be enough to get you through what would otherwise seem tedious. Ultimately Omensight, despite being quite a sinister game at times, has a lot of heart and I came to really care about my companions and I defy anyone who plays the game to not end up feeling the same about at least one of them.
Fun, easy-to-learn-but-hard-to-master combat
Intriguing story with interesting characters and likable companions
Beautiful design and graphics
Levels can feel repetitive
A huge thank-you to Spearhead Games for providing us with a review copy