Retro Encounter Final Thoughts

Retro Encounter Final Thoughts: Omori

Retro Encounter Final Thoughts - Omori and friends watering crops

Michael Sollosi

Before starting Omori, I knew it by reputation. This is an RPG about trauma and depression, and it handles those two topics earnestly in the form of a retro-styled RPG. But Omori is also considerably more. 

Sadness, joy, and anger are status effects-slash-status buffs that are employed both positively and negatively. The world of the protagonist’s Headspace presents a twisted version of his real memories that illuminate his feelings and motives, and the absurd situations of Headspace brilliantly clash with the human drama of the real world.

Omori is a smartly designed RPG that is consistently thoughtful and surprising, and when the dramatic endgame scenario takes shape, you might feel all manner of emotions. I personally found that for this game, joy was much stronger than anger.

Audra Bowling

Omori is a gaming experience I won’t soon forget, and one that’s arguably well out of my comfort zone due to its intense storytelling. So intense, in fact, that I stepped away from it for a time due to personal matters. Yet I was admittedly hooked whenever I entered Omori’s hauntingly powerful world. I was pleasantly surprised by the well-made gameplay mechanics and how much I grew to care about the characters interspersed throughout its tale. I found myself relating to Sunny, particularly how his personality is described, while also marveling at the narrative’s incredibly poignant themes.

While I may have picked Omori up out of curiosity because it was on sale and my interest was piqued by a wonderfully written article on this very site, I’m so grateful that I did. I’m also glad I managed to stick through until its incredible, thought-provoking final boss battle. Omori is brilliant and creative, exploring topics and themes both sensitively and deftly that most other media titles struggle to convey correctly. Omori is understandably a difficult RPG journey to get through at times due to those very plot themes, but it’s very much worth the attempt.

Jimmy Turner

I somewhat knew what I was getting into when I gave in to my daughter’s peer pressure and agreed to play Omori. Lacey did a good job—without spoiling anything—of preparing me for Omori’s story. I expected a dark, grim tale with heavy depictions of mental health challenges. What I didn’t expect is how strongly many of these depictions would resonate with me.

I relate deeply to many elements of Omori’s story and its characters. I found myself consistently impressed with how well the game depicts depression, anxiety, trauma, and loss. I lost a close friend shortly after graduation to a terminal illness. I experienced firsthand how the loss of one person can cause division amongst a close group of friends as each person deals with loss in their own way.

Still, the most impactful sections were in Sunny’s Dreamworld (a far darker place than Kirby’s Dream Land, I must say). Very few people know that I have spent most of my life struggling with maladaptive daydreaming. For those unfamiliar, this is essentially when a person spends large portions of their daily life inside a fantasy world in their head. Though daydreaming is not inherently bad, when living in a constant daydream state interferes with one’s ability to function in the real world, it can be quite unhealthy. Spending years trying to gain a better understanding of when, why, and how my inner fantasy realm became the default place to live in my head has yet to yield a definitive answer or the best solution to mitigate the issue. But seeing a similar world created through Sunny/Omori made me feel understood in a way I’ve not previously felt. I am so glad to have experienced Omori, and it has earned its place amongst the select games I will never forget.

Hilary Andreff

One comment that remained with me after our podcast was that Omori is potentially a modern classic specifically because of how it portrays emotions and mental health. And like many thoughtful and nuanced depictions, I found myself taking a dialectical approach to the game as I played to truly digest and interpret it. (I assume all my therapy folks are smiling at that.)

Dialectical refers to an integration of opposites, or holding opposing things to be true simultaneously. Sunny is a creative individual with a great capacity for emotion and happiness. He dearly loves his childhood friends while simultaneously shutting himself away from them for years due to traumatic and heartbreaking events. Sunny is and isn’t Omori. White and Black Space seem superimposed on each other.

Most importantly for me from a gameplay perspective, Headspace features some of the most earnestly cute RPG areas I’ve seen in a while and is extremely fun to play. It maintains this feel despite forcing me into actions (leaving Basil almost in crisis after he finds out Sunny is moving; Sunny fighting Aubrey) which honestly upset me. But by allowing me to understand and accept these different elements, I honestly learned something about myself and my emotional processes, which is enough for me to say that Omori earns its high regard.

Michael Sollosi

Michael Sollosi

Sollosi joined RPGFan in 2014 as part of the music section but switched lanes to podcasting a year later, eventually becoming showrunner of the Retro Encounter podcast. Outside of RPGFan, Sollosi works in a government engineering office, enjoys visiting local parks and petting local dogs, and dreams of a second Ys vs Trails fighting game.