The end of the world tree! A cataclysmic mystery! In this review, we examine whether Omensight can make its mark on Nintendo Switch history!
A Quest to Change Fate
Omensight takes place in a war-torn country, fought over by two major factions: Pygaria and Rodentia. However, the conflict gets unexpectedly overturned by a cataclysm – and the whole realm gets eaten alive an evil god named Voden.
Players take on the role of the Harbinger – an ethereal warrior tasked with preventing the end of the world. By travelling back in time, players will investigate who was responsible for summoning Voden.
This forms the core flow of the game: by exploring different histories, players learn new truths about the world and its characters. For example, allying with Ludomir (a hand-to-hand brawler) may lead players toward an ancient crypt – where they discover a key suspect behind everything.
Of course, the road to salvation is paved with its fair share of thorns. Combat is a key feature of Omensight – pitting players against multiple enemies in Arkham-style battles. Aside from the usual light and heavy attacks, the Harbinger will eventually gain many useful powers – such as stopping time and telekinesis.
The best part about combat is that most enemies aren’t pushovers, even on normal mode. Fights are intricate dances of dodging and slicing away at enemies – with one eye constantly checking which enemies are about to attack next. As battles get tougher, players will find themselves in a war of reflexes – juggling enemy attacks from all angles.
Overall, the core setup and gameplay of Omensight makes for an impressive foundation. There’s a compelling sense of choice from the onset, accompanied by solid action-combat.
Rescuing a Picturesque World
Omensight is hardly a slouch in its art direction, either. The game opts for a colorful and diverse cast of anthropomorphic animals – ranging from wolf soldiers, an owl priestess, and ratty peasants. While this kind of visual style might not be for everyone, it does help to keep various enemy factions unique and distinct from each other. Character portraits are also delightfully expressive, with subtle qualities like drooping ears adding a nice touch.
Omensight’s world design is likewise fantastic. Outdoor locations are impressively vast – often to highlight the damage caused by the war. Indoor locations are usually accented by dim lighting to give them a sinister or foreboding atmosphere. This is all presented in a wonderful cel-shaded look, which is what initially attracted me to give Omensight a shot.
Not a Spotless Future
For starters, players will encounter dozens of loading screens on each level, even between rooms. For some reason, the development team decided that new locations should load in when players open up doors. I can’t recall how many times I wanted move forward, only to have my excitement cut short by these annoying load screens that drag on for several seconds. It’s one of the most awful blemishes on the game’s overall presentation.
Secondly, Omensight looks really sub-par in handheld mode. The game scales down EVERYTHING to a super low resolution – with models and textures turning into blurry specks. I could only take it for 10 minutes before switching to docked mode for the rest of my playthrough. Below are two images for comparison (click to enlarge).
To some extent, I’ve been holding off this review to see if Spearhead Games would release some kind of performance patch. Sadly, my wait seems to have been in vain, as no such patch exists yet. If you want to play the game anytime soon, you’ll have to live with these issues.
Unfortunately, these problems aren’t even the main nitpick I have with Omensight.
Unpleasant Déjà Vu
Let me explain what I mean, without diving too far into spoilers.
In order to obtain the true ending of the game, players need to explore more than 30 bad endings. However, there are only around 8 unique stages in the game – which are explored in different orders for each respective bad ending.
This can get tiring very fast, as your brain will soon register the exact same assets being thrown at you – be it enemies, temples, or hallways. On average, it felt like I experiencing each stage about 4-5 times – with little to no variation each round. Some bad endings even felt pointless, as the Harbinger and their ally seem to archieve nothing valuable after all of my efforts.
Essentially, Spearhead Games created the illusion of a massive time-travel game by padding it out with rehashed content and dead-ends. I eventually felt like I was being forced to get bored, just so I could obtain the best ending. This is a huge no-no in game design – you don’t want people to get tired of your main gameplay loop.
At its core, the game is competently designed. Its combat system is a joy to master, and its art direction is marvelous. The development team did a stellar job with creating an interesting world – one that I genuinely wanted to explore. But that desire for exploration quickly fell apart as repetition set in, and the game’s time-loops failed to deliver a meaningful adventure. As I mentioned earlier, I quickly became bored despite the game’s brief 7-hour length.
Performance issues on the Switch version only make it a harder sell. Terrible loading pauses and muddy graphics in handheld mode completely overshadowed most of the praise I was saving for Omensight. In fact, I would recommend anyone interested to just wait for the Steam version to go on sale. At least you’ll be paying less for a sturdier build of the game.
Unlike Pygaria and Rodentia, I’m not sure if the Switch version of Omensight can be salvaged.
- Battles get progressively harder in a good way
- Art design is appealing and gorgeous overall
- Resolution in handheld mode is downright unacceptable
- Constant barrage of loading screens slow the game to a halt
- Repetitive stages will really start to grind on your nerves after awhile
Verdict: This soup only tastes great the first time – until you get tired of the flavor.
Soup Temperature: 6/10
A review code for Omensight was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.