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On Little Cat Feet; Is Freeware Worth Replaying? (a brief review)

  • birbohex
  • 09/19/2023 04:24 AM
OneShot is, by all accounts, an amazing game.

From its' memorable characters and unique soundtrack, to its' oppressive atmosphere and emotional ending, everything about this game simply clicks. It's hard not to include some bias, seeing how much OneShot relies on tugging on your heartstrings, pulling you into its' world and immersing you in its' locations, residents, and story. However, the version most know is the 2016 remake on Steam. Few actually know that OneShot not only has a freeware edition, but releases in June of 2014. There will certainly be people who, once hearing this, be interested in playing it. Is it as good as OneShot 2016? Does it have the characters we love?
This review is coming from a perspective of someone who has not only played the freeware upon release, but also someone who has played both the 2016 Steam remaster/remake, and the console World Machine Edition. This is also not a review for people who haven't played OneShot in general before. This, if it hasn't become obvious yet, is meant to answer a different question. With how much the game has changed over the nearly 10 years of this game's existence by the time of this review, I'm sure many will ask the question of: "Is OneShot's Freeware worth playing?"

TL;DR is, yes, if you can get past the jank that comes from not only such an old and rushed GameJam release (including but not limited to: stiff controls, unpatched bugs that may or may not be gamebreaking, uncanny and underdeveloped dialog, confusing item placements, ect), but also the muscle memory of playing the Steam copy, there are many, many interesting differences between these versions worth seeing and experiencing, not to mention that the aesthetics of the games are quite different from one another! From sprite differences, to characters from 2016 not being in game yet, to full story changes ranging from how characters present themselves, dialog, and the lack of the Solstice expansion altogether, as that would not release until 2017.

Now, onto the game itself;

The first thing you'll notice is that OneShot 2014 is on RPG Maker 2003. I understand if you want to hide after hearing that. I would too. This doesn't harm the game too much however, and the game uses its' engine in very clever ways despite any shortcomings. In very familiar fashions with the game's puzzles, it still is a meta RPG. Mechanics will effect the game, even outside the game window. Such as the thing most people will know this version for.

Closing the game will kill Niko. You truly do only have One Shot.

The game itself isn't very long, only maybe a few hours first playthrough, a little less if you've played 2016, but with the looming threat of killing off Niko on accident, it turns into a very methodical and stressful march to the Spire of the tower above to return the Sun. If your PC dies/crashes? If your power goes out? If you close the game in any way, even unintentional, that's a death. As soon as you leave that title screen and enter gameplay, you have to sit down and commit. When you finally get to a chance to sit down and play, and adjust to the feel of RPG Maker 2003, you'll notice that the game is seemingly aiming for and hitting a different vibe. The game is much more passive aggressive towards you, the game has a darker and more sad atmosphere rather than the confused and curious one of 2016. It really, really hits the nail on the head on how much decay the world has been through. From sheets of dialog strewn across the maps, to how NPCs will speak with Niko, it's far more depressing than 2016. This is excellent, and fits the much shorter playtime. Character sprites vary, however many of them are interesting in their own rights. Comparing Silver's overworld and Alula's face sprite to their updated counterparts is certainly a fun activity for one. The maps themselves also can be different, holding different scenery or lacking areas added later, items not being where they once were too. Certain scenes also play out differently, such as the house and it's exit door.

All of this to say, if you played 2016 or World Machine Edition, if you don't mind looking at OneShot's edgier and shorter version, take the time and play this copy! It certainly wont be something you regret! That is, if you don't have an obsessive attachment with Niko. Because if that's the case, good luck :>


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If your PC dies/crashes? If your power goes out? If you close the game in any way, even unintentional, that's a death.
Actually, the game only registers the act of closing it normally. If your PC crashes, the power goes out or use TaskManager to kill the game, you're fine ! IIRC you could also reset the game by removing some file from the registry.

The original Oneshot was a great experience for me. It even influenced a feature in one of my games.
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