Omen Exitio Plague Review – Switch

The exciting and unsettling Lovecraftian story Omen Exitio Plague is a perfect fit on Nintendo Switch. Great for short bursts and the choose your own adventure style of storytelling really works however prolonged play can expose a few holes in the narrative.

Omen Exitio Plague is a text based narrative game based on choose your own adventure books from the ’80s and ’90s and features tabletop style experience and stat management. This marriage of the two created one of the more interesting and unique takes on the choose your own adventure format.

Book style presentation is basic but really succeeds at what it’s going for.

In an attempt to avoid spoiling the story I’ll start with the basics, you play as Jake Huntington a former medic being shipped off to fight in the war after a personal tragedy. However, shortly after your deployment, you encounter an island plagued by a mysterious illness.

The story is expansive and takes place across many different locations with many characters and situations for you to use your chosen stats to best try to survive or overcome. It seems like the creators were concerned with the story potentially not being engaging enough and in my opinion, it seems that they managed to avoid that. Across my 3 hours in total playtime to reach the finish, I never found myself bored with the story as it was always jumping from one tense situation or interaction to another with some great writing too. Each page is written very descriptively and paints a great picture to allow yourself to be immersed in the world.

Expansive story takes place across varied locations.

However, part of my issue is that due to the never ending escalation of the story it can sometimes feel like the plot doesn’t have time to conclude introduced elements satisfyingly. Exciting set pieces are introduced, milked for all the enjoyment they can be by giving you choices and options to influence the narrative, but there’s no real resolution from any of them being introduced and you’d be forgiven for almost forgetting that they even happened at all. There’s a central plot and all the beats of the story are steps heading towards the conclusion and though these steps are great fun, I found their inclusion purely to pop a reaction out of the reader moreso than to advance the plot in any real meaningful way.

One of the game’s strengths and what makes it stand out is the EXP system used to add greater control to how you wish to build Jake and influence your personal story. Based on where you choose to spend your EXP points you will find yourself succeeding or failing in tabletop style “power checks” and failing in certain outcomes lead to undesirable effects that invite later and more focused playthroughs. Although, a problem that arose for me is that I found that none of these “failures” resulted in a death or a result that really punished you for making choices on where you chose to prioritise your experience. Because of this, I had a feeling of being “invincible” knowing that no matter what stupid decision I would make I would get any long lasting repercussions.

EXP and stats encourage multiple playthroughs.

This decision to not chastise the player in this way was likely made to not overly push them towards any particular direction as so to open the possibility for player choice and I do appreciate that. Although an interesting omission in the game is the inability to chapter select or go to a specific part of the story without having to replay the whole thing from scratch, which I understand as it allows the 3 hours in game to be stretched and also to not expose the games narrative secrets by letting people go back to change earlier choices when they get an undesirable outcome. It just seemed like a bit of an inconvenience or drag in a game trying it’s hardest (and mostly succeeding) at being neither of those things.

Omen Exitio Plague is an enthralling narrative experience that’s chocked with choices and an interesting play on the choose your own adventure formula. The EXP system allows it to stand apart from most visual novels and other games in its genre and I did enjoy my time with it. However, due to its story often feeling a bit too crammed with exciting set pieces they can often feel like they don’t exactly get the pay off they probably deserved. Because of this, I would recommend that the game only really be played in Handheld where you can pick up and play and read when you need a quick exciting kick from this great novel. (And the touch controls are a treat too!)

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