By: Brian Gunn
Oneshot is the debut commercial title from developer Little Cat Feet, and is an expanded adaption of its freeware release of the same name. It’s one of the latest in the recent trend of ‘meta’ indie games that mess directly with the player like Undertale and Pony Island, and may be one of the more ambitious entries into the genre.
Oneshot largely plays like a simple adventure game, with players guiding main character Niko through basic inventory puzzles to navigate the game world. You’ll combine and use items on every conceivable interaction and talk to a few NPCs.
That’s only half of the game, however, as Oneshot frequently breaks the fourth wall and requires players to interact with their computer outside of the game in order to solve puzzles and even to save the game. These moments help elevate it quite a bit.
A bleak pixel world awaits you in Oneshot. The world itself doesn’t stand out too much, but the characters and their portrait art are very charming. Some of the backgrounds can feel a little too similar and are easy to get lost and turned around in, though thanks to a fast-travel system this isn’t an issue that’s too distracting.
The soundtrack is fairly enjoyable; featuring many laidback and eerie tracks as you trek across the barren world. It will call to mind many tunes in SNES era games for many players. A little more variety would not have hurt, but overall it’s a pleasant experience.
In the world of Oneshot, the player is God. Quite literally — well, actually, at least something close to that. The game opens with a connection being established between Niko and the player, and Niko will talk directly to them.
Players can go along with the premise that they are God and answer truthfully about how our world works, or they can mess with poor Niko’s head if they so desire. Many games break the fourth wall to address the player, but this is one of the few to cleverly involve them as a character themselves.
Niko, along with players, are in strange alien world. It’s dying and needs players to guide Niko to the center to replace the fading sun with a handy light bulb. This bizarre world is littered with oddities like a prophecy spewing robot and a variety of puzzles to solve. Most of these are the typical point-and-click adventure game level full of things like flattening an iron rod to turn it into a makeshift crowbar.
These sorts of puzzles are typically fine, albeit a little on the basic side. Where the game shines is when it involves the player using their computer. For instance, an early puzzle involves making the player minimize the game and go to their My Documents folder to retrieve a password in a document the game generated.
These sort of inventive moments really make the game shine. Little things like Niko not understanding what happened when you exited or the game knowing your name because it knows your computer’s name really got me jazzed to see what trick it would pull off next.
It does have a few issues, namely in that it can feel a little aimless. Oneshot typically gives you access to several areas at once, which are slow to navigate, and the various things you can interact with can quickly get overwhelming. More characters to interact with would have been nice as well, as the few you do find are often the highlights.
Oneshot is a clever little puzzle adventure. The basics of the gameplay are nothing to write home about, but the ways the game constantly engages the player directly are very amusing and unique.