OneShot – Undertale’s Ugly Cousin

OneShot, like Undertale, is best experienced without any prior knowledge. If you can, go and play it for yourself because this review contains spoilers. As I said above OneShot is like Undertale. It breaks the fourth wall, has a dying world, aims to make you care about the characters, and has a malicious powerful entity that knows it’s in a program. However unlike Undertale I just couldn’t bring myself to care. screenshot-02 Now, I do appear to be alone in this as the Steam reviews boast “Overwhelmingly Positive” and reviewers across the board have lathered it with gold stars and banana stickers. So take the rest of this review with a pinch of salt because while I didn’t like it, I can see how it appeals. Let’s start with the gameplay. OneShot is most similar to a point and click adventure, except you control your own movement. Interact with objects and people, get stuck, rub everything against everything and everyone type gameplay. Thankfully the developers have included some nice mechanics for the impatient player such as quick travel and a sprint function. So while many of the areas in the game are empty and bland, you at least don’t have to loiter. OneShot does differentiate itself from the adventure game crowd in some ways. The aforementioned Entity which frequently communicates with you in the form of error messages and pop-ups. How this Entity interacts with you was the only part of this game that kept my interest and kept me playing. Early on you need a code but have no way of getting it in the game. However it turns out that a document has been created in your documents folder that has the code hidden among a bunch of garbled text. The other difference is that Niko frequently breaks the fourth wall to talk to you, thinking of you as some sort of god. Throughout the course of the game you build a relationship with Niko and can let him know what you are and how you know what you know. Or you can lie to him and pretend you are some powerful god. Apart from these two aspects the game mostly sticks to the same formula as most other adventure games. Wander around, talk to people and perform esoteric tasks for bric-a-brac. Use said bric-a-brac to remove some arbitrary obstacle and repeat in new location. It works but it isn’t anything to write home about. My main issue with OneShot is that it feels thrown together. NPCs feel flat and lifeless, environments feel blocky and samey. This is compounded even more by the pixel-art visuals which make everyone look, well blocky and samey. This is forgivable as OneShot was made in a month by two people using RPG Maker 2003. A fact I did not discover until halfway through this review and which made me look upon the game a little more favourably. However with 3 years since the initial game jam creation and this release, I would have expected to see a little more polish on the visuals. screenshot-09 Since its creation in 2014 it has updated itself a little, the main change being that the game’s title now no longer makes sense. OneShot, as its name suggests, used to require a complete run through in one sitting. Exiting the game would kill Niko. On one hand I can understand that taking it out makes the game have a larger market appeal but the more artsy part of me wishes the developers had stuck to their guns. All in all, I didn’t like OneShot but you might. Adventure games have always rubbed me the wrong way. OneShot is available on Steam What’s your favourite adventure game, I’m open to suggestions. Just comment below and if I try it and like it you’ll win a prize!* *The prize is the warm feeling inside of knowing you did a good thing.