Omnimus is a lightly-interactive visual novel that follows an alternate reality that is recovering from a third World War. The world is entrenched in corpocracy, and now houses many (as the retail description puts it) “useless cripples”. One such veteran is given the opportunity to start all over again in virtual reality in an ambitious experiment that promises to heal his body.
This review contains very mild spoilers for Omnimus.
I enjoy many of the central themes of Omnimus, but the script could have done with a final edit. The opening sequence is long and static, as well as fairly repetitive.
Once you get into the game proper, you meet the Curator, an entity who grants you an avatar (the dialogue indicates that it can be customised to your preference, but the game doesn’t seem to give you that option) and enters you into an alpha testing stage.
You meet Becky, another shy test subject, and soon after that the fiery elf Kira and smart-mouthed half elf edgelord who initially has given himself the moniker of Yagami911. Kira takes great offence to this, as she is a Death Note stan, despite the fact that she has also apparently named herself after the same character. He changes his name to Tesla911, which Kira seems happy with, but I thought the first name was funnier.
The semi-frequent pop culture references (mainly of the otaku variety) aren’t exactly unwelcome, but it’s also a bit of an odd detail for a futuristic sci-fi. The characters refer to this media as “classic”, to be fair, as well as expressing surprise at seeing books in person, so it does a bit of work for the game’s worldbuilding.
Kira and Tesla911 aren’t actually elves, by the way; it’s just how they’ve customised their avatars, which primarily made me wonder why that was included in this scientific experiment.
Despite offering choice-based mechanics, two romance routes and several endings, Omnimus is primarily a straightforward visual novel. Early-game choices are limited and don’t appear to have much effect – the most you can do in the first hour of gameplay is to prevent Kira from smashing a chair over Tesla911. You are also put through a psychological exam of sorts, which is a classic Rorschach test (and yes, it includes the two high-fiving bears).
I’m not sure if my answers actually led to unique results, or if the Curator tells everyone that they’re obsessed with sex and have bad relationships with their fathers. The machinations of the human mind are an enigma, I suppose.
Regardless, the game proceeds fairly well as a visual novel in its own right. My biggest problem with Omnimus, though, is in its writing. Disregarding its grammatical issues, it can be genuinely solid and even funny at points, but its tone never seems to match the scope or seriousness of its promised premise. Our main character also appears to be a bit of a Mary Sue – he’s the smartest, most reasonable and most diplomatic of the cast, most of whom immediately submit to his razor-sharp wit. Not the most dynamic character setup I’ve seen.
On top of that, there are certain lines that read as almost mean-spirited, particularly when concerning disabled people. Though our main character is himself disabled, he seems to offer no sympathy to those who have faced similar outcomes in WWIII, preferring instead a sort of condescending nihilism. It’s interesting in an “unreliable narrator” kind of way, but I suspect that this isn’t the game’s preferred reading.
Omnimus will likely be of interest to any fans of dystopia, futurism and science fiction, but there’s also no shortage of media in these genres. Overall, while I appreciate the vision and the artwork, it read to me a bit like a Sword Art Online AU, which wasn’t what I was expecting based on the retail listing and key art. But if you’re just looking for a no-frills visual novel with some sci-fi flavouring, Omnimus might be up your alley – check it out on the Switch store today.
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