Top Critic Average
WORTH CONSIDERING - Oniken is a solid 2D action/platformer and I had a fun weekend playing through it. However, it doesn’t do anything extraordinary or original. There are plenty of games that overshadow this, but the $9.99 price tag is perfect and for that affordable price, anyone who picks this up will surely get their money’s worth.
With Oniken, what you see is what you get, and your first impression of the game is probably spot on. If you miss your friendly, Tecmo ninja man, you might want to give this one a look. For everyone else, leave this one in 20XX.
Coming back to how Oniken plays, it is clearly trying to be a loving homage to 80’s side-scrollers, but it misses the point in how it uses its challenge. Rather than have proper structure and reliance on muscle memory as the games of that era did, Oniken often relies on cheap and nasty death traps that are very much designed to be ‘tough’ instead of challenging. Yes, you can ‘beat’ it and muddle through, but there’s little warmth or enjoyment to it. On the upside, playing it on the Switch’s handheld mode in bursts does alleviate some of the frustration. The only problem there being the Switch already has plenty of 8-bit games of higher quality both old and new to play. So, pretty or not, it’s hard to recommend Oniken to all but the most ardent retro gaming fan.
Oniken does a few things right, but flounders when it comes to the most important parts of the experience. The visuals and audio of the game are a faithful and accurate tribute to the style of classic NES action games, sure. All of the artistic flair in the world can't help a game that simply isn't fun to play, though. Action in Oniken is consistently stiff and frustrating, and while boss encounters can provide brief moments of gratifying gameplay, only the most dedicated of action platformer fans will have the patience to reach those encounters.
In its current state, even as an 8-bit enthusiast who loves a good Contra or Ninja Style challenge if its put before me, I can’t recommend Oniken: Unstoppable Edition despite the amount of content that it actually has to offer and the fact it’s an absolutely beautiful game.