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27th Mar 2019 | 1,728 views
Oniken is an arcade action platformer developed by Joymasher and published by Digerati. Heighten your skills as you move and jump your way through countless obstacles as you try to save mankind from the evil organization Oniken.
In a post-apocalyptic future controlled by a sinister corporation, ninja mercenary Zaku is the last hope for humanity. Travel across the globe and into enemy territory as you aim to rid the world of the Oniken once and for all.
Oniken is an arcade action platformer heavily inspired by NES games of the 1980s and is a pure love letter to games of the past. Much like its NES counterparts, Oniken also prides itself in making the player remember enemy attack patterns and makes sure your reflexes are honed in completely while attempting to beat the game. While the game isn't overly difficult in this regard, its not a complete walk in the park.
Through out the game you will traverse through 6 different stages, with the option of bonus stages as a reward. Each area is separated by ''Missions'' in which each area starts off rather traditional with the first level being a typical enemy science fiction looking base,before changing scenarios to snow levels and boarding battleships. While the game is usually your typical side scroll platformer, it does change it up every now and then with some game play variety on specific levels,such as the beginning of Mission 2 as you head towards your destination of the Battleship.
As you make your way to the battleship you're able to hop on a jet ski/motor bike to zoom across the water. During these sections of the level you must shoot any incoming mines or enemies,while also jumping over enemies coming from behind you or land on specific platforms to keep your momentum going. These levels are not too challenging but they're still pretty engaging and offer a little bit more variety to specific levels.
The platforming in this game while simplified is actually not too shabby. Moving around in the level will take some thought and you won't be able to blindly rush your way through the levels thanks to the enemy variety that either shoot projectiles at you or block your path. Platforming challenges range from having to jump over fire onto tiny platforms, moving platforms, grabbing onto pipes and monkey barring your way across them and also falling through ice ledges if you stay on too long. Once again this isn't too hard, but it will definitely make you think twice about what you're doing. Just enough to make you say to yourself ''Ehh. I better not''.
In Oniken as you go through these 6 stages, you will encounter roughly 18 bosses, some levels having 2-3 mini and main bosses that you have to make your way through. Thankfully though after each check point you reach(after defeating a mini boss), all your health returns and you have a fighting chance to make it to the next bad guy of the level and have it be a fair fight. Boss fights in this game are not overly hard thanks to both your sword and bomb throwing, as long as you do it properly. Most of the boss fights you can spam an attack such as melee with your sword or spam them by throwing bombs and depending on how full your health is, they will die before you do. Takes a little bit of challenge out of some of the fights. Just be a damn meat shield.
However,even though some of these boss fights might be rather simple, that does not mean they're bad necessarily. For instance one of my favorite boss battles in the game is actually one of the easiest. The boss fight I refer to takes place on an Ice mission where you jump on a driving vehicle as a polar bear chases you and tries to kill you. As he is trying to kill you, you must blow up crates and grab grenades,all while dodging him and dodging incoming obstacles. When you get a moment of free time, you must toss grenades behind you in order to destroy the polar bear,who will then turn into a robot polar bear and keep coming. Yup, you heard me right, a robot polar bear, Coca-Cola needs to be sued for licensing these type of monstrosities out to terrorists! I kid I kid.
For people that are sorta bummed that this a short game, there are other options to increase the length and even give you more of a challenge. With boss rush mode, its self explanatory, its no different than any other game, just fight the bosses and see how well you fare against them all. Another way to increase your play time in the game is to activate single life hardcore mode, this is the type of stuff that made kids in the NES days break so many controllers. As the name states, you will attempt to beat the game and each level with just one single life, yup, that means one death and its game over for you. This is definitely the way to go if you want that good ol classic NES style difficulty.
My final thoughts in regard to Oniken come away positive ones. While yes the game may be a tad bit on the short side,clocking in and just an hour or so long and also isn't overly difficult,however from its superb presentation,solid platforming,good enemy variety and cool boss fights, it gives me more than enough confidence for me to say give this one a look.
Oniken is out now on Nintendo Switch