When a global war nearly decimated humankind, an evil military organization called Oniken takes advantage of the situation to dominate and oppress the few remaining survivors. Even though any resistance to this organization seemed hopeless, a small rebel movement organizes strikes against Oniken.
User reviews:
Very Positive (445 reviews) - 84% of the 445 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 5, 2014

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“It feels like it fell out of the late eighties, except the controls were tightened up during the voyage.”
7/10 – Destructoid

“Oniken is an hard platform game with a retrò feeling inspired by the NES classics. It is a good game which all the retrogamers should try.”
80/100 – http://multiplayer.it/recensioni/105550-oniken-una-lama-a-8-bit.html

“Tough as nails, Oniken brings gamers back to the good old days of platforming, the 8-Bit era. It's not just looks, but the gameplay and overall feel of the game will no doubt fill older gamers with nostalgia.”
5/5 – BitLoaders

About This Game

When a global war nearly decimated humankind, an evil military organization called Oniken takes advantage of the situation to dominate and oppress the few remaining survivors. Even though any resistance to this organization seemed hopeless, a small rebel movement organizes strikes against Oniken. One day, a ninja mercenary named Zaku offers his services to the resistance for unknown reasons. His moves are lethal and now he is the resistance's only hope.

Oniken is an action platform game highly inspired by the 1980's, its games and its movies. You can see this not only in the graphics and sound design, but also in Oniken's story and difficulty.

Don't Worry, You Will Die A Lot Of Times.

Every copy of Oniken comes with digital versions of the game manual and the original soundtrack.


  • Graphics, sounds and difficulty from the 8-bit era
  • Cinematic cutscenes
  • Over 18 boss fights
  • Six missions, three stages each
  • An extra mission after you beat the game
  • Boss rush mode
  • Not difficult enough? Try the new HARDCORE MODE
  • Global Leaderboards
  • Full pixelated violence

Note for Mac/Linux

Mac and Linux version are Wine wrappers. They're not a port but in every machine we could test the game it ran perfectly and without any problem. However if you have a problem with these versions please e-mail us!

We can't get gamepad controls working in the wrappers, but you can use key mapping softwares (like joy2key).

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.0 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 32MB VRAM Integrated Graphics Card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Dual Core Processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 64MB VRAM Dedicated Graphics Card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 32MB VRAM Integrated Graphics Card
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • OS: OS X 10.9 Mavericks
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 64MB VRAM Dedicated Graphics Card
    • Storage: 400 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (445 reviews)
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247 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Recently Posted
8.7 hrs
Posted: September 8
I didn't have much patience for this game the first time I played it.
Like many others I treated it as some crappy $1 indie game with pixel graphics that I bought on sale.
Coming back to it though, I can see why others liked it and am actually starting to enjoy It myself.

I didn't play the types of NES and SNES games that this game tries to emulate as I was far too young and only enjoyed first party nintendo games.
I have been playing a lot of NES/SNES inspired games on steam in my adult years though and I can definitely see the influence in the game from games like strider and anime such as fist of the north star and possibly berserk.

It is clear to me from seeing this game and their other game which is a faithful homage to castlevania that these people thoroughly revere and love the classic nintendo games.
Others may complain of unfair difficulty and cheap hits (staples of early arcade and console games) and I'll admit those annoyed me at first too.

And then I came back and finally started beating levels and It occurred to me what type of game I was playing. The levels are short, and you have checkpoints and extra lives at your disposal.
The game expects that you will die and next time through remember enemy placements and effective attack patterns. You were never meant to breeze through this game in one try.

Controls are simple, enemy attacks can be dodged if you learn placements and timing and you're given a fairly large health pool and plentiful resource drops (considering what type of game this is).
Much as I hate that everything gets compared to dark souls, It's the same concept here: be patient, look out for patterns, expect to die a few times until you learn and git gud.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.5 hrs
Posted: August 28

not even going to lie, this game is harder than ron Jeremy on Viagra in a three way. HOWEVER! it is worth the frustration and anger. the controls are simple, and it emulates the good ol' days of the NES with style and awesome music.

+smooth controls
+graphics are spot on
+simple to learn
+story is cool

-difficulty is unforgiving
-random box drops kill speed running
-keyboard buggy, controller recommended.* (this could be me though)

Tl;DR- worth the price, massive replay value for achievments, music is great, graphics are nostalgic.
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0.8 hrs
Posted: August 21
difficulty scale is too high,cheap death ruin the game,I beat many nes,genesis games back in the day,hell I beat thunder force 3 and contra force with no single death,tedious gameplay not recommended
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0.4 hrs
Posted: August 17
For better or for worse a NES throwback. Lots of repetition, cheap deaths, tedious gameplay - unfun.

There was a reason why many 8-bit games were unfair nonsense; because they were direct ports of arcade titles with their coin-sucking unfairness left in. This is frustrating cack for its own sake.

Top marks for presentation though.
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Pale Dolphin
2.6 hrs
Posted: August 5
This game tries really hard to give you that 80s feel of a platformer game. And it succeeds in it.

This game reminded me of my NES days, playing Contra and stuff. There's not a lot more to it.

There are 6 missions, some 20ish enemies, some bosses... Hell, if you ever played a platformer, you know what this game is about. If not, watch a video -- you're getting exactly what you're seeing.

Hit detection is pretty good, so you won't get frustrated for no reason. It pulls some cheap shots on player occasionally, yeah -- like, when you appear on a new location, you might instantly get shot at, with no time to react (especially if you're first time in that location), so you'll lose some HP. But you're getting over it really fast.

For those of you who haven't played NES, I'll explain the difference between the modern games and the old-school (NES included) games -- they are really hard. And I'm not even talking "oh, damn, I'll need to reload my savegame to complete this part!", I'm talking about legit "holy ♥♥♥♥ing crap, I have to start the whole damn level over, because of that ♥♥♥♥♥♥ boss that showed up 20 min into the mission". You'll be biting your nails, you'll be getting really angry at the game, you'll feel frustrated a lot -- basically, like playing Dark Souls, but with no stats progression and any XP or similar features.

Should I buy this game?
It depends. Game's really good, in it's own genre. It takes patience and a lot of time to master. Some reviews say, that the game tries too hard to look like an 80s platformer (that it's way too hard, too old-school, etc.), which is not true -- the game is exactly how games in the 80s have been. So, if you're okay with it, it's a no-brainer, really -- that's a must-buy for you.
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3.1 hrs
Posted: July 30
-NES graphics style is legit
-I didn't notice any bugs or glitches
-Hit detection for melee attacks

-The difficulty makes the game tedious

If you like these old school type of games, get it, it's one of the better ones out there.
If you don't like dying all the time in cheap ways, restart the entire level just to try again, don't get it.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
4.9 hrs
Posted: July 19
Well I've had a blast playing oniken, awesome game. Not only feels like a retro old school platformer, but plays like an old game. Even with those small things that ♥♥♥♥♥♥ us off back on the NES times: throwback when hit, specially near cliffs, back to beginning of the level after losing all lives, instant death things on the environment, cheap bosses and such.

But after all those frustrating features, the game have much better controls than the old games. It's very fluid and precise. I played with a X One controller and the character 'weight' seemed very nice. The key to beat this game is to have patience and learn every single step you'll need to take, the accurate precision of the control is more than necessary to master the levels. When you do, it's so rewarding. Its just like in the past, when you beat a tough level and feel like mastering the game indeed.

The graphics and sounds are not memorable comparing to other indie retro games around. They're nice though. Oniken for me seems like one of that obscure little gems that almost no one knew and few talked about, until a friend got it and all kids on the neighbourhood went to that friend's house to see the game.

Overall I'd recommend this one to big retro platformer fans, who likes difficult games and could spend 1 hour trying to beat one single level. If you don't like those kind of games and are willing to play more casual or not so difficult games, you probably be frustrated with oniken. You probably should look for similar titles like Shovel Knight and such.

But I'd kindly insist that casual players should take a look at it and have a little extra patience to play Oniken. It'll totally worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.3 hrs
Posted: July 17
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Apparently Kid
10.7 hrs
Posted: July 15
Great old school look and feel. Unfortunately it tries too much to be "old school hard" and leads to bad controls and level design. First off, how everything moves is pretty terribly done. Your guy jumps up and down super fast and jerky, and not in an intuitive way. Then there are enemies. You will run into a a new area and a shooter guy will immediately shoot you, leading to cheap damage. You can't dodge bc shots travel 100 mph for some reason. Its also dumb how these guys can shoot you so far away and all you can do is run up at them and try and attack them with your sword. This leads to getting hit my almost every 1. Then there are enemies that suddenly appear on screen and run out you and do huge amounts of damage if you don't react in time. The shooting enemies can also home you with shots bc even if you jump up they can fire from far away and hit you no matter where you are. Controls are bad, and cannot be changed or viewed from the game, only the launcher (big mistake). I kept collecting grenades and was never able to use them with any buttons on the gamepad, only to figure out after a long time you have to hold up and attack, as if that makes any sense at all. Then theres the hanging movements. It works terribly. Sometimes you will just fall off into fire instead of jumping even though you pressed it. If you use analog sticks you will just jump up but barely move forward at all, causing you to fall. Falling happens really fast and jerky. Then there's the first boss. You can't swing your sword up or at an angle at all. So this guy will come up at angles on the screen, and you will be under him, but that means you can't hurt him, because an upward slash would make too much sense. So you have to get in front of him and try to jump and swing at him, but bc of the bad hitboxes it says you touch him and you get hurt from it. Dying multiple times leads to you restarting entire level over again.

You will die and repeat stages all the time. Not bc of your mistakes, but bc you hit cheap hits by guys with guns that hurt you before you can react, or guys you can't attack bc you can't slash at an angle or upwards, or how everything is ranged but you have to melee, or bc of the bad hanging controls, or the bad hitboxes, or the jerky jumping platforming. Nothing here seems well done, and just seems meant to frustrate. Great looking and sounding game though.

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6.3 hrs
Posted: July 5
If this game had been released 25 years earlier, it would probably still be regarded as one of the great action-platformers of all time. Unlike so many other games that settle for a retro visual style and call it a day, the folks at JoyMasher seem to get what made those great games of yesteryear actually great. Great, bold visual design, a catchy soundtrack, tight controls, solid level design, and challenging-but-fair gameplay are all here in spades. If you grew up with games like the NES Ninja Gaiden or the Shinobi games, you'll feel right at home with Oniken.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
113 of 127 people (89%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 5, 2014
The review blurbs don't lie: This game absolutely feels like it came right out of the late 80's NES but with fine tuned controls. Everything about it screams classic from the NES style color palette that neatly separates foreground from background and makes sure enemies stand out clearly to the hard as balls platforming and combat, to the sparse checkpoints and lives and unforgiving boss battles that can crush you in an instant if you don't learn their patterns.

Gameplay feels like a mix of Strider and Shatterhand with swords and grenades as your primary weapons. A power-up item lets you cast a crescent shaped beam half the length of the screen with your primary attack but fails after you've been hit twice, requiring you to not only master the new attack range to keep enemies at bay but also hone your platforming and dodging skills to maintain your elevated attack power for harder enemies later in the stage.

The Terminator meets Vexille meets any kind of robo apocalypse storyline is pure '80's cheese and it's glorious, especially when a dude called Rico calls you on what looks like an '80's portable TV while you're riding a bright green rocket powered jetski. There's even a villain that feels like a pure throwback to the infamous Cats from Zero Wing.

Despite all the homage to action games of the late '80's, Oniken manages to be its own beast. It doesn't feel especially unique but it doesn't have to as it's a masterfully crafted experience that's equal parts nostalgia trip and exciting. Even with the harsh difficulty I find myself wanting to see what the next screen will be, what the next villain will be, what's the next enemy the game will throw at me and what will it do.

The audio feels ripped right from the era too, a masterfully crafted score of synthetic sounding music that perfectly fits the tone and transports you back to a childhood full of bleeps and bloops and incredible ear-pleasure that you're sure your audio chip is having an ♥♥♥♥♥♥ to produce.

Controls are tight, responsive and the ability to use the dpad or analogue stick makes everything a bit easier (or more authentic depending on how you look at it). Restricting controls to two buttons (attack and jump, with grenade being up+attack) feels like an unnecessary nod to the NES but it's not restricting or annoying. Neither is the game in general - when you die it's almost always your own fault, you own mistake or lack of attention that causes you to fail. That said, enemies are fast and unpredictable (at least the first time you meet them) and you'll get caught off guard by a rushing machine or chucked grenade more than once.

So do I recommend the game? Absolutely. No other game even comes close to the level of authenticity that Oniken achieves and it's obviously a labour of love from the developers who are very talented. The game isn't perfect though, for all the praise I have to give it the flashing backgrounds in some cutscenes are an epileptics worst nightmare that can't be disabled (except by skipping the whole cutscene).

Score: 9/10 robots stabbed in the faceplate.
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59 of 63 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 16, 2015
There are TWO games on Steam that play and feel like classic NES / SNES games.
Oniken is one of them.

Many side-scrollers and platformers claim to play and / or feel like they're out of the 80's. Like they are from the (S)NES era.
They all lie!
Some of them really do look like NES games. Some of them look like HD NES games. Some of them claim to play like NES games while looking totally "new-age?". None of them really plays nor feels like old-school retro side-scrollers tho.
I'm not saying they're bad games. They mostly aren't. But they don't feel nor play like (S)NES games.

Oniken, however, plays and feels exactly like a classic NES game!

I was sure that Oniken is another one of those pixelated games that is super hard, claims to be "old-school" but doesn't feel or play like an NES classic and once again poor old Mets would be dissapointed.
I still gave it a shot and WOW! Just WOW!
Oniken feels just like it came out from the 80's!

Unlike any other false "old-school" games on Steam, Oniken keeps it simple: You have 2 different attacks (one of them being a pick-up), you can jump...and move back and forth. The game is hard tho. Not Ninja Gaiden hard, but hard. Challenging is the key word here.

Easy to get into, hard to master.

The combat is smooth - Your main weapon is a sword (that looks like a katana) and you can throw grenades as a secondary weapon. Grenades are pick-ups tho and you can run out of them. You can also find secret 1-UPs and some sword power-ups if you get lucky.

After each level you get rewarded with a cutscene that has the quality of Ninja Gaiden.

I managed to finish the entire game in 6h...it's possible to speedrun through the game in 15-30 minutes tho. Just like with classic NES games. Their true lengths were about 15-40 minutes but they took hundreds, if not thousands, of tries to finish.
There are 6 stages and each stage takes you about 2-5 minutes...That is if you know what to expect and you're familiar with the level layout. The first playthrough will take some time. I especially hate level 4 which took me the longest amount of time to beat.

10/10 - Nails every aspect of being a good NES game!

If you're looking for a throwback then this is it. Look no further! Buy Oniken!
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38 of 41 people (93%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
15.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 20, 2015
Sometimes you just want to slash people in half and use no more than a couple buttons to do it. Reminiscent of games like Strider, Ninja Gaiden, and Shatterhand, Oniken is a brutal and brutally difficult 8-bit platformer that isn’t for the meek. Games of its style have been common as of late, but none feel as authentic as Oniken. For better and worse, one could easily mistake Oniken for a lost Nintendo game by Nastume or Tecmo.

Call it indie if you like, but teams of two to three people were commonplace during Nintendo game development. Some did great things within the action-platformer genre, of which Oniken belongs. What we now see as limitations of hardware, they saw as a framework to build within. With 56 colors, a goofy-sounding synth, and four buttons, a few talented designers made games that continue to entertain us many years later. Oniken aspires to be in their company, even if it’s from a different era and on a different platform.

As an outsider, simplicity and difficulty appear to be the two main design philosophies of Oniken. We’ll talk about the former, before my blood starts boiling at the thought of the game’s bosses. Designed with a gamepad in mind, Oniken centers around one mercenary ninja’s ability to jump and slash dystopian future jerks. Zuku, the game’s protagonist, isn’t as fluid and fun to control as Strider Hiryu, but his sword has a nice reach. You can extend that reach by collecting power-ups. However, you can easily lose these upgrades by taking damage. If it isn’t clear by now, Oniken loves to punish the player for making dumb mistakes.

Luckily, Zuku has a couple of extra tricks up his sleeve. In addition to extending attack reach, Zuku can sacrifice his power-up in order to go into berserk mode, where he deals more damage and takes less. Just as the power-ups render deadly enemies harmless, berserk mode can turn some of the game’s most difficult bosses into a 15-second slashfest. Only the most masochist old-school players will complain about these cheap victories, because even when you do manage to berserk a boss, you likely have died from him many times before - if not during the long trek to his room.

And finally, there are grenades. These are used much like items in Castlevania: awkwardly hold up and press attack to throw in an arch. Unlike Castlevania, this is the only item you'll have which is pretty disappointing. You get used to jumping and throwing grenades, but it never feels quite right. This is one of many instances of how Oniken’s earnestness to emulate Nintendo games disservices the overall experience.

Oniken packs a lot of variety and creativity in its six levels which contain three areas each. Sometimes you’ll be platforming across conveyor belts with lava beneath while other times you’ll be force feeding grenades to a cybernetic polar bear while jumping spikes on a speeder bike. One area you will find consistency in, however, are Oniken’s tough-as-nails boss fights that demand you to quickly recognize an enemy pattern and stay the hell away from projectiles.

Most of the time, these boss encounters are a fun challenge, but a couple will frustrate in a way that is neither fair nor entertaining. One such boss is a snake that breathes fire down on you if you attack it. Not taking damage is a matter of endurance and luck. This boss is followed by an even more maddening boss: A robot you must fight from a small, moving platform - fall off and it's instant death. Until you recognize the specific attack pattern and necessary approach that a boss demands, Oniken will put you in a world of hurt. Once you run out of lives, you'll have to start the ~15-minute journey to the boss again.

While Oniken’s difficulty is decidedly old school, there are many times where I think the developer could have reconsidered its approach. Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden may have contained instant death traps, pits, and cheap aerial enemies, but these were not the things that made those games good. In fact, these are the things that keep many players from returning to them.

One aspect of tribute that can’t be knocked is the game’s presentation. 8-bit indie games are a dime a dozen these days, but rarely do they sound and look as great as Oniken. Though the backdrops and animation lack some detail displayed in the best Nintendo games, it’s an impressive effort nonetheless.

Oniken isn’t quite the magical pairing of nostalgia and great game design that Mega Man 9 was, but it comes close to scratching that same itch that few other games have done since. If you love 8-bit games and hate yourself, dying repeatedly within Oniken’s six merciless levels brings its own form of joy that is rare in games these days.
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32 of 36 people (89%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 29, 2014
Oniken is a 2D run and sword action game. The controls are simple, attack, jump, duck, berserk and up + attack to throw a grenade. It is all so nice. The attack distance is good and can be boosted with power ups you find. You can hang from things. This game really goes the extra mile to make you think you're playing something for the original Nintendo, while most other games going for the nostalgia feel don't have actual 8 bit graphics and music. I feel such a buzz playing this game unlike other 'retro-ish' games that miss the mark with modernized graphics and sound.

The cut scenes are nice to look at, but the real fun of the game is the game play and the enemy variety. You'll see a lot of enemies and tackle them in different ways. For modern gamers the game might be seen as difficult due to the fact if you die, you restart the section of the level. Die at a boss, restart that entire section. You'll get better! Lose all of your lives and you'll have to restart the level. Each level mainly consists of 3 sections, each with a mini boss of some sort. Since the save file allows you to just jump to a level, if I die on the first section of a level, I just go back to the menu and warp to the level I was on. Kinda makes lives on the first section of each level pointless. You have a hefty health bar like Mega Man, so the game is pretty forgiving. Pits are of course instant death.

The level variety is a mixed bag. Some levels are just bluntly walk to the right, others make you scale to the top and still others put you in a jet ski with a scrolling screen. There are a few sections that feel open where you're free to make your own path, which feels good. Some levels are needlessly difficult with a lot of action happening, but if your a veteran of old Nintendo games, you should be used to it. If not, then make an angry video about it.

There isn't that much replayability for the game, there are a few hidden items, one per level, and there are achievements for beating a level without dying. The game saves your high score for each level, but really, once you've beaten the game, there's no reason to come back to it.

Again, this is an awesome game well worth $10, it is so awesome that I'd buy any other game this studio comes out with. They hit the nail on the head. If you aren't into old school Nintendo games, avoid it.
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33 of 38 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 15, 2014
HOKUTO NO ONIKEN. ONIKEN NO KENSHIRO. Whatever, THIS is the true 8-bit stuff. No pretentious, faux retro pixel stuff, this could've been a proper NES game back then, period. Only mechanical carnage, dismembering in technicolor. THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT, EVERYONE GO GET THIS. 100/100
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37 of 49 people (76%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2014
I have mixed feelings about retro style games that are mere copycats from the golden age of video games. I get the nostalgia aspect, but the odd reality is that I cherish the memory of playing those old school games more than I actually enjoy playing them today. When I do play them, it's an immediate reminder of where games are today and how far along games have come and why products have advanced the way they have. While old school games were considered technically superior in their time, they are considered technically inferior today. In fact, most games of yesteryear made the most of the technology available to them. So designing a technically inferior product today, on purpose, is not that impressive to me.

Many great old school games are classified as abandonware and the ROMs and emulation software can be easily found to play them for whatever gaming system you cherished the most. Find them, play them, and try to enjoy them the same way you did 30 years ago. I've tried, but it's not the same. Reflecting on the memories of playing them gives me more pleasure.

Oniken is a good copycat from an era gone by, nothing more, nothing less.
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21 of 23 people (91%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
Obviously the retro-style 2D platforming repopularization results in some awful quality games that aren't worth a penny. Luckily, Oniken is no such thing. Oniken is a beautiful gem of a game that I am so happy I encountered. Yes, it is frustrating; yes it is difficult. But that is precisely why you will love it. Too many of the games in this style have the visuals but lack the heart of old school NES-era games. This game gets it. And so should you.
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33 of 45 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
13.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 14, 2015
Excellent NESdie game, very authentic to the roots of 8-bit era with modern gameplay !

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41 of 59 people (69%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 5, 2014
I follow the development of the game since the beginning and I'm glad to see Oniken on Steam. Great platform game, tough as hell to beat and gives the player tons of fun. Highly recommended! =D
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18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 23, 2014
Very fun action-platformer with a great soundtrack and high difficulty, that unlike most attempts at retro games really could pass for the real deal.
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