Oniken
Nintendo Switch

Developed By : JoyMasher
Published By : Digerati
Catgeory : Action, Fighting, Platformer
Release Date : Feb 08, 2019

Nintendo has been a household name for many years now, and it’s a name that carried a lot of side-scrolling, platforming, hack-and-slash goodies. Oniken on the Nintendo Switch looks to capture that feeling of those days and do a service by bringing it to the present. While it’s successful in some ways, it’s not in others, and where it misses just might have been the more important areas.

The game brings six stages, as well as some bonus levels, that will instantly bring you back to the days of Ninja Gaiden. It also brings along a loose smearing of a story that seeks to bring a purpose to the things you’re doing, but just like a lot of similar pixel games, it doesn’t really. We’re thrust into a post-apocalyptic future where everything is run by an evil corporation, and you control Zaku, the ninja-mercenary who lives as humanity’s final saving grace.

Your main way of attacking with Zaku is with his sword which you can slash out with to either side while you’re standing on the ground. I tried but was unsuccessful in completing an attack in the air, but his jump isn’t incredibly impressive so it might just be that I was attacking as I landed. You’re also able to pick up some grenades that you find along the way, which can be thrown by holding up on the D-Pad, and he’ll toss it in whichever direction you’re facing.

The enemies you encounter will spawn in typical pixel-platformer fashion. They typically are fixed to spawn points and are entirely triggered by you crossing some invisible line, so if you find yourself having to repeat portions of levels, memorizing these patterns can help.

Speaking of patterns, the earlier portions of Oniken have a stronger balance on the platforming side of things than they do on the combat, and they can be just as unforgiving as these types of sections were a few decades ago. This is the area of the game that feels the most unforgiving if you’re not being careful about what you do.

As tough as it may sound, the game does help you out along the way. There are crates and barrels that you can destroy which will yield you temporary sword upgrades, grenades, or replenish some health. All of which will come quite in handy as you traverse the levels and end up in the boss and mini-boss fights.

The bigger-than-normal enemies can seem tough and intimidating at first, but tend to be pretty fun once you get used to their rhythms. You won’t have the benefit of watching their health bar get chipped away, though, so you’ll have to hack away until they drop.

Overall Oniken is a pretty good game. The pixel-filled environment is absolutely beautiful, and the soundtrack along with it really pulls you back to the 8-bit genre. If you’re looking for that throwback nostalgia, this game will be near-perfect for you. However, fans outside of that genre may not be so keen to jump onboard this one with the gigantic slew of similar titles the Switch has to offer. Either way, this title is more than deserving of some attention, especially for the price tag it carries. So if you love this genre, don’t pass this one up.

 

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