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  • Frogge
  • 01/23/2020 07:55 PM
  • 1747 views

Oneshot by Little Cat Feet (aka eliza, Nightmargin and Michael Shirt)
Length: ~1.5 hours (Original), ~5 hours (Remake)


I am ashamed to admit that when I first watched a let's play of Oneshot when it first came out all the way back in 2014, my impression of it was that it was "overrated." Thankfully, over the span of the last 5 years, I've learned to enjoy some of the rpg maker games I previously didn't care for at all. With the commercial version of Oneshot having collected digital dust in my steam library for a while since I bought it, I figured it was a good idea to give this game another shot. What triggered this sudden urge to replay this game was looking at some dope ass art on pinterest from several artists, most of which contained stars, galaxies, et cetera (I was looking for inspiration), and Oneshot came to my mind. Funny how the game I called "overrated" clearly left enough of an impression on me to think of it when looking at something that is only loosely related through the mood and colors of the visuals.

Now, while my score on the site will only cover the original 2k3 Oneshot since that's the version you can download here (my score for the remake would be 4.5 stars rather than 4), I'll be doing something I haven't really done with my reviews before and seperate this into three categories - the original, the remake, and solstice, because I don't really know what better place there is to review the commercial version of the game than here. Steam, I suppose, but meh, never been fond of writing reviews on steam as much as RMN for some reason.

PART 1 - THE ORIGINAL



I'm trying to save your world here, my dude, stop bugging me about a pen!


The original version of Oneshot was a pretty neat little game. I think there was some good reasoning as to why I originally didn't enjoy it too much, but I'll get to that later. First I'll start off with the aspects of it that I enjoyed from watching the let's play, and enjoyed again when playing myself. It should go without saying that Oneshot looks great. The pixel art is extremely well done, and the use of distinct color in each of the game's three areas is very memorable. I thought the fourth wall breaking elements were really awesome and was extremely impressed by how they managed to pull them off in rpg maker. Once again, that opinion remains. And while the story wasn't a big plus for me in the original, I thought it was okay, and my opinion on that remains the same as well. But my absolute favorite part of Oneshot has to be the sheer atmosphere of it.

Oneshot is a beautifully sombre experience. The visuals obviously help a lot, but I think I need to throw the soundtrack a shout here as well. You guys know I'm terrible with music and soundtracks, but I don't think Oneshot would have been the same game it is now without its soundtrack. Oneshot often gives the same impression as an absolutely captivating, magical storybook. The kind that you think is cute as a kid but realize is actually sombre, lonely and sad as an adult. Which isn't to say Oneshot isn't cute, because it is. It's extremely cute, from the character designs to a lot of the dialogue. Moreso in the remake than the original, but it certainly gets its charm across in the original too.

The gameplay in Oneshot is also very well designed. The puzzles are clever and I'm happy to play an rpg maker game for once where the puzzles challenged me, but didn't immediately make me want to run to a walkthrough. The fast travel mechanic is an absolute lifesaver, and I genuinely don't think I would've left with a very good impression of the gameplay had it not been there (especially in The Barrens, god that area is huge). I did find it a bit weird how you couldn't quick travel when inside buildings, but it wasn't really a huge issue in the original since most interior maps were pretty small. The only time it became annoying was when you had to walk all over the ruins in The Glen multiple times because you couldn't just quick travel across it. This does actually raise another issue I have with the game, but we'll get to that in a minute. One other super minor nitpick I had was that the game didn't tell you what items you picked up, which was a little weird. Surprisingly enough, this was kept in the remake too, though it does play a little chime in the remake that I don't remember being present in the original when you pick up items. It kind of makes sense within the context of the story that the game wouldn't announce to you when you picked items up, but maybe Niko telling you what items he picked up himself and coloring the item names may have been a good idea. I mean, Niko can talk to you, so I think it would've been a good substitute, but I digress. As I already mentioned, the fourth wall breaking puzzles in particular were extremely fun. I even found myself wishing there had been more of them, and not to worry because the remake definitely scratches that itch.


Niko is a communist icon and don't you dare tell me otherwise.


On the other hand, I have a two areas in which I think Oneshot could've been much better, one a minor nitpick and the other a more major problem I had. I'll get the nitpick out of the way first: I just really think the mapping in this game wasn't all that good. Yes, the game looks gorgeous, but there are tons of large empty areas that just use the same ground tile for nearly a full screen. I'm not an obsessor of the three tile rule, if it looks good it looks good, no matter how vast the maps, but it was just way too much empty space in a lot of areas. Especially the road leading up to Maize in The Glen and a fairly large amount of The Barrens. And for some of the interior maps, especially the ruins in The Glen, I found the structures of the rooms to be really weird and yuck. There's a lot of long winded hallways that lead to square rooms with weirdly shaped ponds of water in them, which interestingly was either changed extremely minimally or not at all for the remake. Regardless, I think the ruins area basically remains the worst looking area of the game, which is a shame because the tileset for it is actually quite nice. I probably would've liked that area a whole lot better if it was way smaller than it was.

But enough nitpicking about the maps, let's move on to my biggest issue with Oneshot, which is that I think the story was a bit too simplistic. Which is fine, obviously, it was written in a month so I probably shouldn't expect the next Great Gatsby (I have never read The Great Gatsby I just googled best book of all time and it was one of the few that showed up, roll with it) but it did feel like it could have been explored a lot further. Characters generally felt underdeveloped, the whole premise of the game itself was actually just the most cookiecutter idea if you took out the fourth wall breaks, and I really didn't feel the weight of the final choice which is what the entire game pretty much lead up to. Now there are parts of the writing here obviously to praise. My particular favorite aspect of the original game regarding the writing has to be the entity character who communicates with you, the player, directly. Oneshot is not a horror game, but every time The Entity (I don't recall if it had that name in the original, but that's what it's called for most of the remake) said pretty much anything I got genuine creeps.


Shut up, I was gonna choose the other option but you're tempting me not to.


That being said, the original version of Oneshot still remains a charming and atmospheric game with some extremely impressive feats for its engine. It's quite simplistic in its nature at the end of the day, but that is perfectly acceptable for a game made in a month, and the game is well worth checking out. Is it worth checking out over the remake, though? Absolutely not. If you want play Oneshot, absolutely get yourself the commercial version instead of playing the original. I only recommend the original if you want to be an extreme completionist, want to see how it compares to the remake, or if you can't afford the remake. Trust me, though, if you just wanna play the game normally, stick with the commercial remake. It is a huge step up from the original in pretty much every aspect.

PART 2 - THE REMAKE


Oh no, someone had a 2007 Britney moment. Or Katy Perry in her Part of Me music video, whichever one's more your niche.


Okay, I know I said my rating for the remake of Oneshot is only half a star higher than the original, but don't let ratings fool you. I thought the original game was pretty good and I thought the remake was amazing, I just didn't think it was perfect. While the difference in rating may be small, trust me when I say there is so much here that is miles above the original. A pretty large part of it is thanks to Solstice as well, but even without Solstice it's a big step up. (And if you're wondering what this Solstice I keep bringing up is, don't worry, we'll get to it in due time.)

While a good chunk of the remake is just a rehaul, you'll find that there's a good few new additions and little twists as well. Even right at the start of the game, the first puzzle has been shaken up a little bit. But you'll notice your first major changes as you progress across The Barrens. I played the original and remake back to back, and the remake's Barrens still felt like an entirely different area to the original's. Item locations are changed, there are a whole bunch of new NPCs, the layout of the map itself is slightly different, there's an entirely new mines area (that will mostly become relevant in Solstice, but contains a key item either way), and even the puzzles are shaken up a little bit.

I think all changes made to The Barrens were positive ones. It feels easier to traverse than before thanks to not being as vast, and the new additions were pretty dope. You can pressure Niko into doing a robot voice, which in itself makes the remake way better than the original. The only thing I kind of preferred in the original was the location of the bubble of goop that you have to inject into a syringe. It felt weird having it right in the same map, only a couple steps apart, as the other item you needed to combine it with. That's hardly even a minor nitpick, though, so no need to fixate on it.


Muhahahaha.


The Glen is largely the same as the original, so I won't stop on it too much. One of the most major differences is after you reunite the siblings whose names I wish I could remember but am too lazy to look up, where a new, and pretty nice scene was added. The Refuge saw the biggest upgrade of all, however. Not only was it almost completely reworked, it's about twice as long as it was before. Where the spire was in the original, there is now an elevator that takes you to the surface of The Refuge that is an entirely new area in itself. I do wish there were two beds in the surface refuge since I was actually really tired and wanted to go to sleep at that point but I couldn't sleep at the same bed from before and I didn't want to close the game. Which I probably should've done. Oh yeah, that's a thing I forgot to mention. In the original game, closing the game kills Niko and gives you a sort of bad ending/gameover, so you only have Oneshot to beat it. In the remake, you can actually close the game and it will even save itself for you so you can resume exactly where you left off. Apparently Niko does make a remark of closing the game, though, but there doesn't seem to be any major consequences for doing so. I didn't take my chances anyway and slept only at beds, which allow you to safely close the game while Niko sleeps. I'm glad I did that, though, because as it turns out while there isn't much consequence for closing the game unlike the original, there is reward for not doing so. It's only a steam achievement, but I did actually replay the game a 3rd time (4th if counting Solstice, 2nd if not counting the original) to get all achievements I missed, and I had one less achievement to worry about thanks to getting it on my first run.

Other than new additions, though (Besides Solstice which I still have to talk about, I'm getting to it!) the game has also seen a complete graphical overhaul. I believe the only thing that may have been kept the same from the original are some of the CGs (and even so there's a bunch of new ones), and everything else has been completely redrawn, and it looks GREAT. The original game looked pretty good too, but looking at it after playing the remake you can really see how much it was improved for the remake.


A e s t h e t i c


A few other changes include a different menu system, which took me a little while to get used to but I thought was pretty neat, and a completely different leadup to the ending of the game. This part is the only addition I have some criticsms for. Don't get me wrong, the entire area was super cool, but it kind of dragged on. If it was half the length that it was, I think it would have been so much better. I could elaborate more, but I'll leave it at that for now in an attempt not to spoil any new endgame content.

Overall, the remake of Oneshot was great. Was it worth replaying the entire game over? I mean, I really like the game, so I'd say so, yeah. I liked the new additions, rehauls and reworks a lot, and not to sound like a broken record, but I'll repeat what I said about it pretty much being a step up in every way. Especially thanks to Solstice. Oh yeah baby, we're not done.

PART 3 - SOLSTICE


YES, THE KITTENS ARE OKAY!


So what is this Solstice I keep bringing up anyway? Well, it's essentially new game+ and a continuation of the story rolled into one. Basically, after completing the remake normally, you can now try starting it up again, and you'll notice that the intro is a little different. Instead of the usual 4 digit code you input into the computer to leave the first room, you can now input a password. To find the password, you must look in your Documents for a few new image files the game created that will give you a clue on how to unlock it. This doesn't do much at first, but once you're about halfway through The Barrens, the game will become something else entirely.

I really don't want to spoil anything that happens in Solstice since I think it's well worth experiencing yourself, and also technically because I guess it's post game content (even though it's like the other half of the game) but I'll just say this. The reason I didn't really talk about the story in the remake when compared to the original is because Solstice is where the story really begins to shine. Without Solstice, my opinion is pretty much the same. I mean yeah, there's some extra character scenes which does go a long way on its own, but the story remains something fairly simple that isn't anything particularly mindblowing. But man, when you get to Solstice, the game is just taken to the extremes. It takes on a much more intense and dark turn in its story, not in a lol edgy way, but more of "Wow, shit really went down the drain" way. And if you're like me and the fourth wall breaking aspects of Oneshot was one of your favorite aspects of it, then you're going to love Solstice because it goes full on meta on you. Which, honestly, I was kind of pessimistic about at first. A lot of games seem to like taking those meta turns these days and it's enough to get a lot of people rolling their eyes since a lot of the time it can come off a bit pretentious, or not fully developed. As much as I love Undertale, it being one of my favorite games and all, I'm not ashamed to admit that I thought its meta aspects were somewhat bizarre and didn't really have much consistency to them. But with Oneshot it is done so well, SO. WELL. And I genuinely cannot stress this enough; this might be the best meta story I've seen in any videogame ever.

Another aspect of the commercial version of Oneshot in general was that I heard it had a true ending, which I wasn't sure how I felt about. The rpg maker community has this kind of unfortunate trend of always wanting a true/happy ending in every game. I know tons of people want to see The Witch's House get a happy ending, but I think that would completely undermine the impact the ending has. I think it was a perfect ending as it was and a happy ending wouldn't be anywhere near as good. That's the kind of thing I worried would happen with Oneshot. A big part of the original game is that it builds up to you having to make a difficult choice, and only having one shot at it since you cannot get the other ending after making it. I assumed a true ending would maybe throw in some bullshit ex machina and solve all problems and give a happy ending, but I should not have underestimated the developers of Oneshot. The true ending of this game is essentially the ending of Solstice, and I'm not gonna lie they did basically do what I expected them to with a true ending, but the way they built up to it and the way it took place was honestly so much better than I expected.

I did not go into Solstice expecting to be as impressed by it as I was, but it completely blew me out of the water. If you do decide to play Oneshot, make absolutely sure that you see it to the true ending rather than stopping after either one of the two endings of the non-Solstice content. It's a perfect conclusion that takes an okay story and makes it feel much more clever, fun and most importantly, complete.

PART 4 - CLOSING WORDS


Haha, what a great bonus room that was that I just went through. And I will not show you. Go play the game yourself. It's worth your time.


As I mentioned previously, I did go on a third playthrough for achievements after Solstice, which hopefully without spoiling anything, actually really cleverly lets you replay the game, because letting you replay it normally wouldn't actually make any sense within the story. I think it's just worth mentioning that I love the way actual replays of the game without Solstice were handled. And I also managed to unlock this secret room that was interesting to say the least.

Other than that, yeah, that's Oneshot. I know I gave much more praise to the commercial version in this review in comparison to the free one, but I think the original still stands as a great game on its own, even if the commercial version kinda completely undermines it. Oneshot, I'm sorry I called you "overrated." You are a good game, and your commercial remake is absolutely beautiful. Stay magnificent. I give Oneshot four lightbulbs out of five.


Posts

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Slick review. I agree that the original still has its own weight.
Frogge
"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
14592
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for the review! And here I was thinking the commercial version was just the same game but with a little extra polish. I hope that the meta stuff won't get too weird though, because meta games tend to be overrated for me and very few of them I actually like. We are on a similar boat with Undertale (though it isn't my favourite game) and I thought Oneshot was slightly overrated too, so hey, maybe I'll like it too.
Frogge
"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
14592
author=El_WaKa
Thanks for the review! And here I was thinking the commercial version was just the same game but with a little extra polish. I hope that the meta stuff won't get too weird though, because meta games tend to be overrated for me and very few of them I actually like. We are on a similar boat with Undertale (though it isn't my favourite game) and I thought Oneshot was slightly overrated too, so hey, maybe I'll like it too.


Definitely give it a go for yourself and be your own judge, I would say. I think it certainly feels much, much less shoehorned than a lot of other meta stories.
Frogge this review is banging

Also I will argue with u about the brilliant consistency of metacommentary Undertale employs any time but i dont wanna type up an essay rn

just let it be known this is a good review B)
Frogge
"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
14592
author=Punkitt
Frogge this review is banging

Also I will argue with u about the brilliant consistency of metacommentary Undertale employs any time but i dont wanna type up an essay rn

just let it be known this is a good review B)


you, me, after school at 5, we settle this undertale discourse once and for all

also i'm glad you like it, it's probably one of my better ones and I'm happy people agree!
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