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Omori: Fighting Emotions

“Everything is okay.” Although, it’s really not OK for titular protagonist Omori/Sunny, who alternates between the bright, fun friends of his dreams and the lonely, terrifying reality of a dark house and repressed memories. Emotions are important, and it’s ok to be scared, sad, angry, or happy, dark house or not. Released just a couple of months ago, Omori has bloomed into a fully-formed game from its humble Kickstarter origins. Given its continued comparisons to Undertale and my love for that game, I had to check it out. What I found looks promising.

Courtesy of OMOCAT

Originally planned as a graphic novel or a web series, Omori is an indie RPG released on December 25, 2020 after nearly six-and-a-half years of development. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, Omori reached its funding in a single day, although the project was ultimately delayed until more recently, likely due to the small team size.

Given the hand-drawn animation and art style of the game, this was likely a necessary choice in order to release the game at its current phenomenal quality. With its RPG Maker-like overworld and charming NPCs, it’s no wonder people compare it to Undertale, especially given their similar origins. In addition to Undertale, Omori also pays heavy homage to EarthBound and personally reminds me of OFF in its style and themes.

Courtesy of OMOCAT

While the game is incredibly cute and charming, there are some very serious topics and themes  core to the gameplay. Here is what the developers have chosen to put as an advisory on the Steam Store page for the game: 

“This game contains depictions of depression, anxiety, and suicide, and may not be suitable for all audiences. It also contains bright flashing imagery that may cause discomfort and/or seizures for those with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.”

With an Overwhelmingly Positive rating and the highest user-generated tag being ‘psychological horror,’ Omori cements itself solidly within the top ratings for its genre on Steam among both Doki Doki Literature Club and Phasmaphobia. And with an equally unsettling website, Omori reminds me of so much interactive fiction from the early internet, loosely connected codes and ideas making a feeling more than a word. To see the site itself, click here.

With an unconventional battle system centered on emotions and an entire cast of cute, memorable characters waiting in the wings, Omori is facing the test of its first few months with pride after a long battle of development and publishing. At just under $20 for upwards of 20+ hours of gameplay in the main story alone, Omori is absolutely worth checking out for fans of horror and RPGs alike. Until then, keep your friends close at hand and everything will be ok. 

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