There is often something pretty great about being in safe hands. I love games that wrong-foot you, that feel weird and off-kilter the moment you start them up. But I also love stuff like Omno, which promises rich pleasures luxuriously handled. A game that feels like it's made of things you love, whipped together by a master.
Omno's on Kickstarter right now, and looks pretty comfortable. With a pad in hand it's pretty comfortable stuff too. Touchstones are Zelda, Grow Home and Jurassic Park, I think. Events kick off in a balmy low-poly glade, angular strips of grass whistling in the breeze, friendly flats of stone poking out of the sloping turf. Overhead the sky is a bloomy dawn pink, and there's nothing pressing to do but wander around, learning how to jump and dash - this is a punchy, jetting speed-burst that can move you between floating platforms - and how to harvest glowing blobs of energy from the playful creatures that are wandering around this sweet-natured place.
Beyond this starting area is a game of dreamy vistas and simple challenges. There are stone machines to be coaxed to life, cliffs and steep drops to be navigated as you move between wandering ledges. Every now and then a new skill is introduced. One minute you're skiing downhill, curving gently through drifts of alien snow. Another, you are thrown into the sky and can drift down in a lazy arc.
None of these pieces are new, but Omno's not really about newness. It's about delivering reliable treats - gentle exploration, a sense of a strange, ancient place that serves as a giant puzzle to be put back together. It has a lovely line in quiet drama, too. Entering a new area, huge sleepy dinosaurs raise their long necks and stare at me, seeming to chew perhaps, to ruminate. In the distance something massive judders over a shimmering savannah. Overhead flocks of white birds turn through the sky.
I play it all, exploring every inch of the demo, trying to make sure I miss nothing in a world that has been constructed with obvious care. I can't wait for Omno to come out: it's not going to shock me with dramatic twists, I suspect, but it's going to be warming and soothing and quietly intoxicating.