There are some games you just know from the demo that you’re going to love. For me, Spearhead Games’ Omensight was one of those demos. It’s a murder mystery game set on the eve of an apocalypse, and as the mystical Harbinger, it is your job to solve that mystery. Along the way, you’ve a surprising amount of choices to make — do you attack, do you use your Omensight powers, do you betray your chosen companion for the day?
So for a game that makes you play the same stages over and over, reliving the same day, with changes each time — Omensight is surprisingly entertaining. The story is on the deep side, with well-crafted drama and character motivations. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the story quite as much as I did; it’s got several surprising twists. Things are not nearly as straightforward as they seem.
While replay value is pretty diminished because it’s a murder mystery — once you solve that mystery, a key part of the game isn’t nearly as interesting the second time around. However, because of the freedom of choice players are given on how they deal with each situation, things don’t develop exactly the same way each playthrough. So while the mystery is no longer a mystery the second time around, how you get there changes. And that can make all the difference.
The gameplay starts off on the slower side but ramps up into a solid challenge a few days into your attempt to avert the apocalypse. The combat itself is rather intuitive, with multiple different combos and the ability to endlessly chain attacks. You can also use your companion for a strategic upset — three of the four have unique abilities. And the more they trust you, the more you can upgrade their abilities and basic attacks.
Your companions don’t die easily, which actually makes them an advantage rather than a hindrance. A well-timed companion special can turn the tide of a battle, which can be incredibly helpful when you get swarmed by enemy AI. The different types of enemies, different designs and abilities, gives each playthrough of the same map fresh. Its also worth noting that different companions take you through different directions through the environment and can even change how you traverse obstacles. And your companion choice also differentiates between which NPCs are your enemies and which are allies.
And then there’s the art. While many of the NPCs are generic, the designs are intricate and gorgeously stylistic. The companions, the witch who serves as your guide, the harbinger, and the evil force of world ending darkness Voden all have incredibly gorgeous designs. The art team for Omensight did a fantastic job. And of course, I have to give them props for designing the female characters in a way that is completely void of sexualization. Also: the silent player character is female. Which is kind of cool, given that you are a silent force of justice. It seems fitting.
I’ll admit, the game does have some flaws. The forced perspectives can be aggravating, as they switch on you with very little warning. I may have run myself off a ledge a few times due to a perspective shift I wasn’t prepared for. Occasionally your camera will take you through the inside of a building, and occasionally objects need to disappear in order for you to run around them and still see, because the camera won’t move. The voice acting is also rather hit or miss. On the whole, the principal characters have solid actors, but a lot of the secondary and tertiary characters sound like confused programmers just reading lines.
However, the gameplay, story, mystery solving process, and art style more than make up for those flaws. Omensight is absolutely unique even among all the other art-driven indie games on Steam and PS4. I cannot recommend it enough.
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