It often seems that I see the worst in games and rarely the best that it actually has to offer. And to no surprise, Oneshot clearly has its faults, but I rarely have this much praise for any game at all.
Originally, Oneshot was created as a free indie puzzle adventure game, that as the name intended, was to be completed in… one shot. But in 2016, the game was re-released on Steam, as sort of a new remastered version that, unlike the original, could be played more than once.
Oneshot is focused on the protagonist Niko, a feline-esque person, who is dubbed the “messiah,” as he is transported into an alternate decaying world where the “sun,” a magical light bulb placed upon a central tower, has gone out. As the “messiah,” Niko must replace this “sun” so that he can return to his world. You as the player assist Niko, as an entirely different celestial being referred to as “God.”
Now this is how the game gets interesting. Because you are an actual character in the game, rather than just some guy controlling a cat behind the monitor, the game often breaks the fourth wall, usually asking you to do some task that is beyond the limits of the game itself. For example, one puzzle adds a “mysterious film” item to the game. To solve this puzzle, you have to actually drag around the window the game is in, as if it were an actual polaroid picture and it reveals a code that has to later be inputted. HOW COOL IS THAT??? I loved the use of mechanics like this that gave a new creative way to solve puzzles instead of just moving items around in the game itself.
I also really liked the artwork of the game. For the most part, I am a huge sucker for good pixel art, and Oneshot definitely delivers, having artwork on par with the likes of Undertale and Stardew Valley. Outside of the pixels, the other artwork present in cutscenes is also alluring. Though it does not do anything special, its lack of sharpness and use of wispy painting, make them almost nostalgic to look at.
However, despite the great artwork and creative puzzles, what I think shined most about this game was the soundtrack and musical direction. Usually in other indie games, the music is not really a defining trait, usually focusing more on the gameplay or story. But Oneshot’s soundtrack just seemed too good to not talk about. Every track that played in the game matched the area perfectly, whether it be the lifelessness of the barren desert or the eeriness found while walking through an alley late at night. In fact I found this music to be done so well, that, over the course of playtesting this game, I legit felt like I would be stabbed in real life every time I walked through the back streets.
Unfortunately, there is one undeniable flaw within this game, and that is the stupidly loud footsteps Niko makes on different terrain. Imagine watching a live orchestra play one of Beethoven’s Symphonies, but some idiot was blowing on his kazoo the entire time. That is essentially the sound of his footsteps. Oneshot is already a puzzle game and it’s already expected to have lots of walking through trial and error when solving problems. At least 30 percent of the game is just walking back and forth, and that would be fine, because the game has dope music, but 100 percent of that time is plagued by repetitive thudding. While I do love the soundtrack the only actual way to listen to it is by standing still, i.e. not solving puzzles.
I would not compare this game to Undertale. Aside from the combat that has become synonymous with Undertale, outside from being both decision based RPGs the two could not be more different. Undertale is very focused on its wide range of characters, giving them deep personalities and traits that players could easily be attached too. This of course goes hand in hand, with the overlying theme within the game questioning the protagonist on whether or not to stay in the realm of monsters or to return to the human world. Oneshot, I feel does the complete opposite. Though the main character is a naive cat boy, his only goal is to return home, and the only way to complete that is by fixing the sun. Likewise, Oneshot’s cast of characters is very forgettable, usually only appearing once and rarely reappearing later in the game. They also seem to lack personality and are very one-dimensional, serving their NPC purpose and nothing more. I honestly kind of enjoyed it more like that. While I love good story building, Niko doesn’t really need this cast of supporters because his greatest supporter is yours truly, the god.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Oneshot, from the creative yet challenging puzzles as well as the spectacular soundtrack. While I think there are minor flaws within the game like the absurdly loud footsteps, it’s nothing a few bugfixes can’t fix.
- Creative Puzzles
- You are God
- Phenomenal Soundtrack
- Nostalgic Artwork
- Short yet Satisfying
- GOD PLEASE SAVE ME FROM THESE LOUD FOOTSTEPS
Reviewed on: PC; Publisher: Degica Developer: Team Oneshot; Players: Singleplayer; Released: December 8, 2016; ESRB: NA; MSRP: $9.99; Official Site