I was surprised when I saw that Legend of the Omni-Sphere needed a review, considering it was released back in late 2009. Games usually don’t sit on the “need review” rack for too awful long. After playing the short, 15-minute demo I can see why people may have decided not to review it for so long.
The graphics look pretty solid overall, and the animations are well done. Amongst the goodness though, two things still stuck out at me. There is not near enough variety in enemy battle sprites. Most of them are just palette swapped copies that get pretty boring fast. Another thing I noticed, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but I could not help but think I’ve seen some of the graphics before in a different game. Perhaps some are ripped, but maybe not; regardless of who did them they look good to me. The graphics are by far Omni-sphere’s strong point, so be prepared because everything goes sharply downhill from here.
The plot is not very engaging besides the short opening sequence. Townspeople don’t have anything important to say. Some take a stab at some light jokes, but it doesn’t work out too well. The plot on paper seems serious yet it’s not handled that way in the dialogue. The characters are not fleshed out at all, and the author may argue this is due to the game being 15 minutes long. In my opinion, if you don’t give your audience something about the character to care about early on, why should they care an hour, two hours down the road? The idea is to grab the player’s attention at the beginning so they want to play more, and Omni-sphere does not do that at all. In fact, after hearing the music alone you may want to spontaneously combust.
When it comes to OHRRPGCE games I’ve always been one to think that using too many popular tunes from any game (especially the Final Fantasy series) can take away from your game as a whole. Every track but ONE in Omni-sphere is from a Final Fantasy game (the world map music is from Breath of Fire 3), and I’m sorry but that is extremely distracting to me. The intro sequence with the armies fighting each other is kind of cool, but I had a hard time taking it seriously due to FF4’s Red Wings tune being played in the background. If I wanted to hear a Final Fantasy soundtrack, I’d play one of their games; not an OHRRPGCE game that is trying way too hard to be a copy it.
Speaking of copying, there was another thing that turned me off pretty early into the game. Chris, the main hero, falls into a hole at the very beginning of the game and discovers the Omni-sphere cave, very much in the fashion of Final Fantasy 3 DS and the Wind Cave (even down to the same music!). Having something so similar to a popular commercial game right at the beginning is not likely to make people want to play it (unless it is a remake of course, but that’s not the case here).
What Omni-sphere needs is a heavy dose of originality and definitely a new soundtrack. It’s okay to be cliche, heck, pretty much any JRPG nowadays is a copy of something that has been done before. Again, the difference is how you go about delivering it that is the key to success. I think Earthbound is a good example of a story that is unoriginal but is delivered in a way that is extremely satisfying. That’s not to say that you should make a modern RPG, but you understand the point I’m trying to make by now.
Rearrange the soundtrack and throw in some of your own ideas and events into the story and I guarantee that both you and your player base will appreciate the game much more. Otherwise, Omni-sphere seems like a cheap knock-off of a Final Fantasy game that is in dire need of some creativity.