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You only got Oneshot

  • Stoic
  • 07/06/2014 05:02 AM
Oneshot is one of those games where the less that is said about it the better. It’s an experience that is just so unique that you really don’t want to spoil it for your friends. You just want to tell them “You gotta play this, dude!”. And when they ask “Why?” you’re like “You’ll see ;)"


At it’s heart, Oneshot is an adventure game. The game advises you to play in window mode for reasons you’ll find out later. It also mentions something about flashing lights but I didn’t really notice any.

You start as Niko, a cat person with huge glowing eyes, in a dark rundown apartment. After some exploration and adventure game puzzles you’ll find a lightbulb. Niko will carry the lightbulb which radiates out and lights the area around her. You’ll use the lightbulb on a door and be transported to a new world.

After exploring this dark but beautiful world for a bit, you’ll bump into a few of the citizens. There’s not many in this section. A robot will tell you that you are the “messiah” that was prophesied to save the world and that the lightbulb you carry is their new “sun”. Their old sun has gone out and now you need to journey to “The Spire” to insert the new sun and bring light back to the world. It’s a pretty cool concept in itself. But some of the citizens seem to think that it’s too late and the world is going to end no matter what. Niko is unsure of how to return to her world so she decides to fill this messianic role despite some of the characters misgivings.

"The Barrens" is a big place or at least it seems so at first. You’ll find items along the way that you’ll use later like most adventure games. There are also scattered notes that build up the world. You’ll encounter a few obstacles that either require a certain item or an item combination. These are all fairly intuitive and shouldn’t give any adventure game fans any trouble. Sometimes you also have to equip items to progress. Eventually though you’ll encounter a safe and then... let's move on.

Such pixelated beauty

The visuals for this game are stunning. The pixel art reminds me very much of Cave Story right down to the face graphics. Each environment is totally unique and just begs to be explored. The music is very moody and atmospheric which just heightens the immersion. Despite playing in windowed mode I felt totally fixated.

During certain sequences in the game you are also treated to illustrated pictures of Niko. Many of them are set in the dream world that you can access by sleeping in a bed and then resuming the game. Which brings me to one of the most interesting design choices of this game. Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!

Modern game design in a nutshell

Oneshot warns you early on that quitting the game has consequences. If you do you will fail your mission and that will be it. No second chances. You can only stop playing if you sleep in a bed. Sleeping in a bed saves the game and closes it automatically. You have to restart the game and then resume to play again. There is no threat of death in the game but this "feature" means you have to keep playing until you encounter another bed. This wasn't a problem for me as I had set time aside to play this but it could be a problem for some players. This created a sort of anxiety knowing that if I lost power or the game crashed or my computer blue screened all would be lost which I think actually heightened the experience.

There are also some fourth wall breaking elements; including some puzzles that require finding the solutions “outside of the game”. Niko will also talk to you from time to time and ask for your advice. In this world, apparently you’re a god. There’s also an entity that seems to be working against you which could be thought of as the game designer who will interact with you unexpectedly.

Ultimately, you need to make a choice in the game. And remember, you only have “one shot”.

I had a great experience with this game. It would probably be more accurate to say that this game WAS an experience. I hope this review intrigues you enough to check out the game if you haven't already.