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Omega Strike Review


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On 01/20/2019 at 04:10 PM by Nick DiMola

Metal Slug and Metroid had a baby.
RECOMMENDATION:

For all fans of Metroidvanias.

As I’m coming to realize, I have a weakness for games classified as Metroidvanias. Between the layered progression and backtracking and the feeling of getting progressively more powerful, with some great boss fights sprinkled throughout, there’s always something to help continuously pull me through these experiences. Omega Strike, clocking in at five hours, is no exception to this rule and is further bolstered by its clear Metal Slug influence.

Unlike Iconoclasts, that was very heavy on the exposition and story, Omega Strike is a fairly straightforward adventure. There’s an evil guy (Doctor Omega) doing evil things (turning everyone into mutants) and you’ve gotta stop him before he takes over the world, or whatever. In order to achieve your goal, you’ve been given access to an instant teleporter, which turns out to be a necessity to get your team of three through all the impediments lined up by Doctor Omega.You’ll be able to swap between Sarge, Dex, and Bear on-the-fly to overcome every impediment Omega Strike throws at you.

Sarge has a machine gun and can grab onto rails to cross chasms, Dex has a shotgun with shorter range, but can double jump, and Bear has a grenade launcher and can move heavy objects. In theory, this mechanic is really interesting, but in practice it turns out to be less so. 90% of the time you’ll end up using Dex because he’s more mobile and his shotgun blast does heavy damage to up close enemies. It left me wishing I could just swap weapons with a button press and not sacrifice my double jump in switching to one of the other team members.

That said, having a wide variety of capabilities is nice, even if it can be a hassle at times to leverage them all. As you progress, each character will gain more abilities, which will grant access to new areas and shortcuts through the world, as is typical of this style of game. Trekking through the world, you’ll also find a wide variety of secrets, all of which offer bits of life. Finding four will allow you to cash in back in the town, adding a full block to your health. Enemies drop coins when you kill them, which can be cashed in for upgrades and supplies, notably improvement of range and power for each of your characters’ weapons.

The world is split into a set of five main areas, each of which can be explored a bit at a time. While having these unique areas gives the game a bit of personality, backtracking through them can be quite a chore. Though you’ll find a variety of save points through the areas, you can’t warp between them, which would completely alleviate the monotony of passing back through areas you’ve already explored. Keeping an eye out for secrets is the best way to make it less boring and gain some benefit out of the travel.

The bosses, while not particularly difficult, are pretty inventive and fun and can be quite rewarding to complete as you master their patterns. They also seem to show up just as you’re growing tired of dispensing with the usual mutant fodder distributed throughout the worlds.

In general, there’s nothing particularly challenging about Omega Strike. With the ability to stock up on healing items and the means of upgrading your health and power as you progress, you’ll always feel slightly ahead of the curve. Going through the motions is satisfying though and just as the adventure begins to wear thin, it wraps up.

If you’re also a Metroidvania addict like me, Omega Strike is an easy recommendation. Though there may be nothing remarkable about the experience, the controls feel good and it’s just the right length and level of difficulty that you’ll enjoy the ride and pass through it quickly.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Cary Woodham

01/20/2019 at 09:01 PM

I reviewed this game a while back, too!

http://www.gamerdad.com/blog/2018/08/01/omega-strike-ps4-xbox-one-pc/

I just got back from PAX South and played a lot of 16-bit style 2-D Metroidvania type of games, so you'll be happy!

Nick DiMola Director

01/21/2019 at 11:58 AM

Cool! Seems like you enjoyed it too. It was a neat little game that I really enjoyed.

transmet2033

01/21/2019 at 07:52 AM

This just went to the top of my list.  I also have a weakness for Metroidvanias...  even though I hate the term.

transmet2033

01/21/2019 at 08:07 AM

I just wish people weren't so loose with the term Metroidvania.  So many times I play a game described as Metroidvania, and they barely fit the description.  

Nick DiMola Director

01/21/2019 at 12:03 PM

I like the term for how effective it is at explaining something with some really simple shorthand, though I think it might be a bit overexposed and, like you said, used to describe games that aren't exactly that.

In Discord, you mentioned Iconoclasts as an example and I do think that one chafes up against the boundaries of the term. But generally, I feel like it's good shorthand to at least set the stage for what to expect.

All that said, I think this one fits the more strict definition of the term and definitely leverages earning new abilities to gain access to spots that were previously off limits. Exploring also rewards with more life, which is a nice bonus to earn. Not to bring Iconoclasts back up, but that one was not great about giving you compelling stuff to search for.

transmet2033

01/21/2019 at 01:43 PM

This makes me even more excited to play the game.  thanks(not being sarcastic)

I am not arguing the benefit of Metroidvania as shorthand to give you an idea of what you should be able to expect.  I just need to get to a point where my expectations for what people describe as Metroidvania keeps me from being inevitably disappointed.
I don't think you throw the term around like some other people in the industry, so I do trust you.

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/21/2019 at 02:49 PM

In my PS4 library, I have SotN, XeoDrifter, and Shantae: Pirate's Curse in a category called "2D Mapquests," because to me the genre heavily revolves around filling the map. I get that it's what's in those maps that make these games compelling, but they are definitely geared toward completionists who like exploring and making sure they've got no missing squares on these maps. 

transmet2033

01/21/2019 at 03:51 PM

I like it.  2D Mapquests

Super Step Contributing Writer

01/21/2019 at 02:50 PM

Metal Slug is an interesting motif for a Metroidvania, so if I have the funds I might look into this soon. First I want to play all these Metal Slug games I forgot I have on Steam. 

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