Indie oniken-review

Published on July 27th, 2012 | by Niko


Review: Oniken

Review: Oniken Niko

Too Long; Didn't Read

Summary: Tough as nails, Oniken brings gamers back to the good old days of platforming, the 8-Bit era. It's not just looks, but the gameplay and overall feel of the game will no doubt fill older gamers with nostalgia. A great game, with an awesome soundtrack to boot. What are you waiting for?



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So, how difficult do you really like your games? Well, this 8-bit gem will test you in every way possible. Oniken is a side scrolling adventure that will have you wanting to throw your keyboard out the window. Then you will go and get it only to play again. If you liked Contra or Ninja Gaiden, get ready for Oniken.

So basically, the story is pretty generic but good. The year is the ever popular 20XX. A group known as “Oniken” has come to enslave and take over the planet. Mercenary has a different idea. Zaku has been hired to take out the organization. Armed with minimal weapons and a couple close friends he sets out to take on the difficult task.

Insane bosses, robotic ninjas, and cyborgs will make sure he does not succeed. Oniken is broken up into 6 missions. Each of those missions are broken up into 3 sections. Each with a boss fight. There are 11 main bosses, 10 sub-bosses, and a boss rush mode to add to your fun. There are also leader boards.

First we will start with the gameplay. I guess the simple way to put it would be, tough as nails. The movements are very basic. Left, right, jump, and attack. The only thing is, they are more or less set to Ninja Gaiden stiffness. The difficulty is pretty high on this one. There are no spawn points before bosses so you will have to go through the level again to get there.

Another aspect that makes the game so tough is the boss fights. They don’t have patterns to their movement thanks to a random movement generator. No boss fight will be the same and that can be maddening. You only have 3 lives as well. That won’t be enough if you just try to power through each level. You will end your game pretty quickly if you are over zealous.

My only complaint is that if you are trying to use a controller, you are limited using your analog joystick for movement. You can however, Joy2Key it.

Next up the graphics. These are definitely the 8-bit graphics you have been missing. It is deceptively simple. Easy on the eyes and something that will definitely remind of you Ninja Gaiden and V.I.C.E : Project Doom. It is your basic side scroller.

This is a game that would have pushed the original NES to its limits. There are cutscenes within the game that are not so much animated but effective. They are mostly palette swaps and sectioned movement while the rest remains static. Originally, Oniken was supposed to be a 16-bit game that was later shelved. That was supposed to be the end of it until Danilo Dias and his team decided to make it an 8-bit game. The engine used was Media Fusion.

The sound of the game is where is really shines over everything else. The soundtrack is just awesome. There is no other way to put it. The composing team of Bruno Araujo, Thommaz Kauffmann, and N-Freq created an energetic chiptune sound. These days that is hard to find. They nailed it 100%.

Even better, when you buy the game through Desura at $4.99, you get a free copy of the soundtrack as well. Talk about a win win. The songs are short but unlike many other pieces of in-game music, I don’t mind hearing these tracks over and over again. For how many times you die, you will.

~The soundtrack alone would be enough to warrant a purchase for some people. As the launch trailer above demonstrates~

Final Thoughts:

So when it really comes down to it, this game is for anyone who longs for the true 8-bit NES feel of the 80’s and early 90’s. It definitely doesn’t disappoint. The controls are tight, the story is generic but entertaining. The action is also intense. I really enjoyed their attention to detail even for a retro style platformer.

You would really be robbing yourself of an experience if you don’t pick this up. You are in for a ride, albeit a difficult one. If you are looking for something you can breeze through then this game isn’t for you. I would say to you, open yourself up to a challenge and pick it up anyways. The controller issue might be a problem for some but Joy2Key and the keyboard work just fine.

Be sure to check out our interview with Danilo Dias in last weeks podcast. It was a real treat having him on.

+ Best 8-bit feeling in quite a while
+ Stays true to retro platformers down to the difficulty
+ Awesome soundtrack is worth getting the game alone.

- Controller issues being that you can only use analog with Joy2Key being the only remedy.
– You are still reading this review and haven’t bought it yet! HOP TO!

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About the Author

Avatar of Niko

I'm a gamer who loves all sorts of gaming. Especially the golden days of Pinball and the 16-bit Era.



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