Oniken Review

Oniken Featured

Oniken Boxart

Developer: JoyMasher
Publisher: JoyMasher
Platform: PC – Desura, Steam

I hate to admit it but I was not raised on the era of tough as nails NES games. Nope, instead I became friendly with an Apple IIe, Atari 7800, and off-brand Pong console. These devices offered their own difficult games but it was quite a different experience when you typically only had one button and a joystick. Missing out on the greats like Contra, Ninja Gaiden, and innumerable others has caused me to wonder what it was like to grow up with them, though. So, from my perspective, it does feel like Oniken is bringing a classic experience to players.

It starts things off on the right food with a wonderfully cliche storyline. The Oniken – bad guys – are attempting to seize control of humanity. A ragtag trio of resistance fighters aren’t having any of it! They jump into action to stop Oniken by any means necessary. Lead character Zaku is armed only with a sword and grenades but will work his way through countless enemies through the game’s six stages.

Oniken Screenshot

As you might expect from a title hearkening back to the NES era, Oniken is a 2D side-scrolling action game. You slash up foes, jump over dangerous areas, and generally kick a lot of butt in order to beat bosses and complete stages. Each area might seem fairly tough the first time but repeated plays make them seem increasingly manageable. For me, that meant maybe ten or so rounds on the second stage, but I’m not as skilled as players actually honed on NES games are. After watching a few people play it, I found that perhaps the game wasn’t even that hard at all – my skills simply weren’t up to the task.

Both the visuals and music seem to accurately recreate the era as well. I can’t say for certain if the color pallete and amount of pixels are right on, but they seem good enough to me! It’s exciting to see that even at this point in time there is still something uniquely engaging about a game that operates with such a bare minimum of keys. Oniken is a ton of fun even for people like me who don’t feel indebted to the systems of their past. Basically, if you’re in the mood for a retro-styled romp then Oniken is a fine choice.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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