Omensight review

Likeable, if repetitive, adventure that plays like a Saturday morning cartoon.

For anyone lamenting the loss of the old style of God Of War, Omensight should scratch that itch. It might not be set in Greek mythology or feature bombastic bosses – its animal cartoon aesthetic is very different – but there’s a similar feel to this action-adventure.

That largely comes down to the camera. It swoops through the world with cinematic flair and certainly makes the most of the simple but striking visual style. There are some lovely touches to the world – the graceful falling of crimson leaves as moonlight dapples through trees – and the fixed camera provides plenty of opportunity to take it all in as you smash jars for collectibles, explore a fantasy world of temples and forests, and smack some bad guys.

Indeed, combat also takes its cue from God Of War. Alternating between light and heavy attacks creates some enemy juggling combos, while also building a meter that allows for special attacks. Dodge at the last minute and time slows, Bayonetta style, and there are even extra experience points for stylish play. It’s simple yet accessible and satisfyingly familiar.

The camera does have some drawbacks, though. It may be aimed at the most spectacular view but it’s near impossible to perceive depth, which leads to some unnecessarily tricky platforming. Combat also frustrates when enemies strike from off-screen, especially when later in the game more enemies are thrown your way. With the camera pulled out so far, it quickly becomes chaotic.

The main draw of the game, though, is its narrative. It riffs on familiar ideas – two warring empires and an impending apocalypse – but its main conceit is an intriguing one. You play as the harbinger, a being sent in times of need to rewrite fate. Following the final day of four key players in the war, you must piece together the mystery behind the murder of the godless priestess and her involvement in the apocalypse.

In gameplay terms, this means collecting knowledge by playing through each branch of the story and then using that insight – the titular Omensight – to influence the characters who join you along the way and the direction of the narrative. Further, you gain the ability to break special seals that allow for branching paths in the world. There you’ll find precious resources to level up your sword and hidden memories that flesh out the story.

If this sounds repetitive, it’s because it is. For story reasons you’re required to replay each character’s day multiple times and the writing is sometimes clunky to force a new direction. Yet each repetition is just varied enough, empowering the player with new skills and knowledge. The level design allows for alternative routes and the harbinger herself constantly switches side between the warring factions. It’s fun to be helping a character one minute, then fighting them later on assisted by their nemesis. And thankfully, the game allows you to skip to the crucial moment of the branching story, though doing so means you’ll miss out on experience necessary to unlock new abilities.

Perhaps most disappointing is the simplistic nature of the gameplay. There are no puzzles here – besides the overarching puzzle of the narrative – meaning there’s nothing beyond fighting and the occasional bit of jumping. This is a game that doesn’t test the player’s mind, only their fingers.

When it clicks, though, you’ll be dancing around enemies in a whirl of special effects. The imaginative style of the animal characters, plus the fantastical if predictable story, lends the game a pleasing Saturday morning cartoon feel. It’s compelling and likeable enough that its repetition can be easily overlooked.