The Metroidvania genre is quite saturated, particularly among the indie community, but it’s a genre that always scratches a very satisfying itch. Exploration and discovery, character growth in the form of awesome upgrades and challenging combat with varied enemy types. Omega Strike attempts to include all of these ingredients with the best of intentions, but unfortunately falls short of ever really implementing any of them effectively.
We often see that Metroidvania games opt for a supernatural or extra-terrestrial setting. It’s refreshing, then, that Omega Strike changes up this trend by opting for a military based storyline of a mad scientist responsible for creating genetically modified super soldiers, turned Zombies, who must be taken down by a trio of rogue soldiers; each with their own unique weapons and unique special abilities that allow the player to navigate through the platforming sections of Omega Strike. We have Sarge, the machine gun wielding, climbing and rolling leader of the pack, Bear the bald and hulking muscle of the operation who opts for a grenade launcher as his weapon of choice and has the ability to move boulders that may block your path. Finally, we have Dax, the hi-tech mercenary who can teleport, double jump and blows the opposition away with a powerful shotgun. This world is brought to life with vibrant hand drawn pixel sprites, complimented by subtle animations that give each of the characters their own personalities and further complimented by nicely varied backdrops. It’s one of the nicer looking pixel style indie games, for sure.
Omega Strike gives players the freedom to swap between these 3 characters at the push of a button, with each character being suited to different situations. Well, you’d assume so, but unfortunately, in my playthrough, I spent majority of it as Sarge with a little bit of Dax towards the end, with Bear literally only used for the handful of sparse moments where I required his boulder moving strength. One of the reasons for this poor utilisation is result of another of Omega Strikes issues; the pacing.
The first half of the games story sees Dax and Bear kidnapped, leaving the player to play this portion of the game exclusively as Sarge. In this time, I was able to max out Sarge’s skill tree (which only includes weapon damage and range) without ever having to grind for XP points to spend. By the time I had saved Dax and Bear, there was no incentive for me to use these under powered characters and so I only swapped to them occasionally when I needed to overcome but a few platforming obstacles, or in Bear’s case, hardly at all. This, for me, is a huge issue as the very core of Omega Strikes appeal is the 3 character set up. My first play through clocked in at just over 4 hours and more than half of that was played exclusively as Sarge. There simply aren’t enough platforming sections that require the use of each characters special abilities nor are the single weapons of each character varied enough for me to want to experiment in combat.
The difficulty within Omega Strike doesn’t really develop, with enemy types only ever becoming stronger bullet sponges who remain easily exploited right through to the end. The Boss battles are most definitely a highlight of the game, but again, never pose any real threat in terms of challenge. In my entire play through, I died a total of twice.
With all of these elements taken into account, Omega Strike may come across as a bad game, but it’s not. It’s a fun, short outing, but there are so many similar games that do a much better job of implementing the ideas that Omega Strike fails to properly execute, Axiom Verge, for one. For that reason, it’s difficult to recommend it with confidence. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the Metroidvania genre, then perhaps Omega Strike is a good place to start, but if you’re craving a satisfying adventure to sink your teeth into as a seasoned fan of the genre, there are other titles more deserving of your time.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.