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My Hands Are Burning

  • Addit
  • 08/24/2014 02:02 AM

A Game Made By: mathew
Created Using: RPG Maker 2003
That Roughly Takes Around: 2 Hours To Complete

Finally, for the love of Aremen, I get to review a Rm2k3 game for a change – and it’s about bloody time! I’m getting sick of playing all these VX Ace and SMBX games lately…! Now, I’m not saying that they’re bad, it’s just that I need a change of scenery around here once and a while, a return to my roots. I mean, I love the games on the newer engines but you just can’t replace that lovely 2003 retro’s charm.

And speaking of that – here’s a underdog story for ya: “Oneshot” is a small puzzle / adventure game that was created by Mathew Velasquez and Casey Gu in celebration for the Indie Game Maker Contest 2014. Unlike all the other entries that decided to use RPG Maker XP, VX or VX Ace, the more prominent and newer engines, these guys decided to go a little oldschool and use supposedly the ba*tard child of Enterbrain’s RPG making family lately by deciding to stick with the good ol’ classic Rm2k3. “Now wait a minute, Addit,” you’re probably saying, “I thought that you couldn’t use RPG Maker 2003 for the contest?” Well, apparently you can if you own a legalized copy of it, but since the .EXE file that came with it was manipulated from the original source it ended up getting disqualified for that – which is a real shame, but, I suppose rules are rules, I guess…

Apparently, before it was disqualified, Oneshot was one of the favorites to the win the whole thing and has garnished a lot of positive reviews and feedback from what I’ve heard and seen. They might have not probably won the whole thing, but it still would have been pretty nice story to see a 2k3 game stick it to the man! Oh well, I guess I can always dream.

The Story

Awww…that game sucks!

You start the game pretty much right off the bat with no real backstory or introduction of any significance until you get a little ways in. You play as a young boy named “Niko,” who supposedly looks like a cat, has the eyes of the cat, and the teeth like one, but actually isn’t, which is a shame (‘cause I like cats). One day, while wandering around his empty house, Niko happens to find a giant lightbulb just lying down there in his basement of all places. And when he happens to pick it up, it begins to shine rather brightly surrounding him in a warm like glow. Niko then notices a strange door afterwards upstairs that seems to have a empty slot sticking out where the lightbulb can supposedly fit in. And once he happens to do that, strange things begins to happen…

Suddenly, Niko steps out of a strange metal like corridor to arrive in a dark, barren like world that is cold and empty with a giant tower sticking out in the middle of a vast ocean. Upon exploring this newly found place, he happens to run into a worker robot who tells him of an ancient prophecy and that he is the messiah and that he is to take the lightbulb as a replacement for the burnt out sun and restore this world’s former shining beauty. If he does so, he may find a way back to his home, since he can’t seem to return from once he came.

But Niko is not alone on his quest to deliver the sunlight, as watching over him, protecting him is god himself (which is you, the player, actually. That’s kinda cool! Don’t you feel all high and mighty right now?)

However, if Niko is unsuccessful in his attempt to restore the sun, or just plain gives up like the Toronto Blue Jays wild card hopes, then he will suffer a cold, frigid fate and will, thus, die in this world (hmmmm…we probably don’t want that.)

And when the time does come to restore the sunlight, the ultimate sacrifice will then be made as part of the final test of Niko’s own self-awareness. Can Niko accomplish his goal and reach the tower to save all the inhabitants of this world, or will he just die trying…literally.

One of the things I really like about the story and its steup is the overall character development of Niko and the strange inhabitants of the world itself. When you start the game, Niko is just this cat boy, someone to basically act as your avatar for this game. His real purpose and backstory doesn’t come into full circle yet until the more you get into the game and reach the final area that he becomes an incredibly well thought out and interestingly deep character that made me really feel for the guy.

The inhabitants of this world also interact with Niko on occasion and it really brings out a more softhearted approach to the game that shifts away a little from its over-appending doom setting, and what not. It’s a really well done told tale from the start to the end. And perhaps the greatest thing about all this is that this game has two real endings to offer depending on your final choice, leading you to play the game for the second time, adding more replay value to the package.

The overall tone of the story has a very deep meaning to it but it’s an understandable one at that. And although most of these characters won’t stay with you long after you finish playing this game, the overall experience of it all will still linger on. This was a very well told plot, and I even like how the game makes you feel really guilty for just manually quitting and dooming everybody in this world and letting them down. Now that’s keeping me glued to my seat!

The Gameplay

Nothing like an evening stroll; just me and my giant lightbulb.

The gameplay is pretty simplistic in its approach but it has full of neat little ideas tucked away in there. Your overall objective is to basically collect objects and items, solve the occasion puzzle along the way through four total areas and finally reaching the end game. These puzzles aren’t particularly hard to figure out on your own, but the ones where the game tells you to go out of program itself and tells you to look for the required files to continue through might baffle some players like myself. You see, cleverly, this game manages to create dummy files on your computer as part of the hints required to solve some of the game’s puzzles. Now don’t fret; these files aren’t harmless to your machine, but it’s an interesting mechanic. I’m not the biggest fan of something like this, as I really don’t like having to change my desktop wallpaper back to normal, and all that, but I do appreciate for it for trying something new.

As for collecting items and what not, you can also combine two items together to make a brand new one which is vital for solving some of the game’s puzzles and certain situations. It can be a bit tricky to figure out which one goes with which, especially when you have a ton of items with you, but the overall execution is just fine. It’s a bit strange how the second area of the game, the barrens, left me more confused than any other area in the game while the rest of them were a bit easier to solve and didn’t have that many items to pick up.

I also like the use of a “Travel Fast” system that allows you to backtrack to other maps with the simple press of a key. This is a really handy thing to have, considering a lot of these maps are pretty big to navigate

Perhaps the most interesting – and most infamous – mechanic that this game has is in regards to getting a game over sequence. You see, if you happen to manually quit playing the game from the default menu screen at any time, you basically just lost the game. Okay, no biggie, right; I’ll just start a new file, right? However, once you do quit, if you happen to begin a new game again you won’t be able to do so, such as the title of the name of this game. I first encounter this by accident while writing this review which angered me a little because I was a little ways in. However, if this does happen to you, you can just delete the entire game’s folder, download a brand new copy, and play it again from a fresh new file. Could you imagine if Oneshot basically just played once with no other way to play it again!? Holy crap, that would be disastrous! I was actually worried the first time around because I still needed some screenshots for this game and wasn’t quite finished with it yet, so having no way to play the game again would have seriously made me cry in tears of rage… But, luckily, that wasn’t the case.

The game may seem like it forces you to continue until you’re done with the whole game, but luckily you can find these beds throughout the world for a chance to save your game and take a little break from it. Either way, there are a couple of instances where you’ll have to do this regardless, so you’ll get to save and take a break either way.

The Soundtrack

“Row, row, row your boat…gently down the stream…!!!”

Just like the previous Indie Game Maker Contest 2014 entries (well, most of them, anyways), this game features some customly made music – and it’s quite lovely and quite haunting to hear; definitely fitting for the overall tone and mood for this game. The tracks may not be incredibly catchy or very memorable, but for an atmospheric approach this soundtrack did a great job with its haunting like melodies without it being too staticy or not very appeasing to the ears like some of the other games of its genre do in order to invoke that fearish mentality. In fact, there’s one track I actually really like from this game and that’s the final area’s theme, “OnLittleCatsFeet”. It kind of comes off as a very energetic but a very mysterious tune that really does a good job setting the mood for the final scene. Tie that in with some nice atmospheric sound effects to go along with it and you got yourself a very good experience in the sound department that I found worked rather quite well.

The Aesthetics

Giant, long winding stairs…we meet again.

Graphically speaking, this game looks rather fabulous for Rm2k3 standards done in a short matter of time thanks in large part to its distinctive atmosphere in regards to its lighting effects and the usage of some very nice looking cutscenes throughout – and some of them are even animated. In fact, this entire game impressed overall with its sense of style and its look. It may kinda at first glance look more like a Yumi Nikki knockoff in similar tastes, but I can assure that it’s not. Everything looks great and I definitely can’t ask for anything more.

I did find some minor mapping problems in terms of passability issues in regards to some of the trees in the third area, and what not, but it wasn’t anything game breaking or anything that really turned me off completely.

The End Result

This thing better be worth it!

Oneshot truly turned out to be a neat little gem that was overall intriguing and quite entertaining pretty much all the way to the end. I enjoyed this one rather immensely, and I even have even more fondness for it considering just how little time these guys had in order to complete this game. For instances like that, I give anybody who can get something like this done in a short matter of time all the mad props in the world; there’s no way I could have done something like this in so little time, hell noes.

I definitely would recommend this game to pretty much anybody who’s looking for a short two hour game to play that isn’t an RPG or isn’t technically very hard. Hell, even if you’re not into these types of games you should definitely at least try this once if you get the chance; it’s definitely one of the best games I’ve played from this year.

Oneshot may only give you one shot to save the world, but that one shot was all that it needed.

(Well, besides downloading it again thanks to some dumb luck on my part.)

4.5 / 5 - B+ ~ Oustanding. Truly Outstanding.


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(Un)Fun fact: It's been disqualified due to using RM2k3. Thought you might want to update your review accordingly. Otherwise, good job!
(Un)Fun fact: It's been disqualified due to using RM2k3. Thought you might want to update your review accordingly. Otherwise, good job!

As far as I know it has been disqualified not because of the RM2k3 (they probably have a legal version), but because the RTP-RT.exe was modified to make the various special featues possible, which is against the EULA.

Too bad, really :/
Really, you guys? Man…that’s such a shame. I mean, I understand why and all, but it just seems like such a waste to me. *sigh* Oh well…

Guess I gotta fix up my review now and all that.
As far as I know it has been disqualified not because of the RM2k3 (they probably have a legal version), but because the RTP-RT.exe was modified to make the various special featues possible, which is against the EULA.

Too bad, really :/

Even without the added slight of modifying the exe, 1) they didn't own a legal copy, and 2) this debate doesn't belong here, but one should know Enterbrain has been trying to do everything to erase RMs before XP from the surface of the Earth, and I highly doubt they would have accepted even an entry made on the legal Japanese version (it's pretty much forbidden to discuss these engines on the official boards) so Oneshot had no chance to begin with, really.

A sad affair anyway.
We really ought to have been more aware of Enterbrain's stance on Rm2k3 before entering, since we didn't make this game for the contest as much as the contest coincided with the time we decided to make the game and we just went with it. As for whether or not we used a legal editor was apparently never even a factor (or even established), since, according to the forum admin/judge, we were disqualified on the spot for using the engine.

But thank you for the review! All the feedback we've received for the game is a reward in itself.
Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
Is it supposed to be a B+? I would've thought 4.5 corresponded to an A.
Originally when I was first starting writing reviews way back then, I was originally thinking about that, giving a 4.5 rating an A and then making a 5 star game get an A+ rating. But then I started to think to myself, “Hey, myself, have you ever seen anybody in one of your classes, elementary or otherwise get a freakin’ A+ on something?” And the answer is, “No, of course not.”

I don’t think any game that I’ve played, professional or not, warrants something like an A+ because that would imply that the game is absolutely picture perfect with no real flaws of any to speak of when in reality no game is absolutely perfect, even the 5 star ones that I’ve played on here aren’t completely 100% perfect. Sure, they’re good, but even games that I’ve given 5 star ratings to already in the past, like Romancing Walker, Super Talking Time Bros. 2.5 – The Last Levels, Ara Fell, just to name a few, have a few issues in there that could be nitpicked a bit if I wanted to go down that direction.

So, I ultimately ended up scoring any 4.5 games a B+ and any 5 star games an A. It’s just the way I do things. :)
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