In Only One, you’re trapped in an arena with no means of escape, and the only thing you have going for you is that someone left a sword for you. On the other hand, you’ll be using that sword a lot as endless enemies pop up with the sole mission of slaying you and ending your game. How long can you last as the only one? This game will let you answer that question in the simplest way possible, by putting you in that exact scenario.
Only One is a very minimalist game with graphics that will remind you of the old Atari games where characters are simply symbolized by blocks that vaguely resemble anything human, or anything, in fact. Controls are also very basic as all players have to do, and can do, is move around and attack enemies with a sword attack. Further along the line, however, players will be able to gain access to powerful passive and active abilities that they can swap and upgrade, putting them at level ground with the ever growing number of powerful enemies and bosses that would appear.
Abilities would tend to be the main focus of the game, as not only will this provide you with more powerful attacks, but abilities will also help in giving you additional boosts to health, defense, attack, and other perks. Unlocking and upgrading abilities will cost in-game currency, however, and this comes in the form of power, which is acquired by leveling up at certain points in the game and by collecting fallen loot from enemies.
It is through this second option that players would have to acquire the majority of the required currency for upgrading abilities already purchased. Power earned for each level milestone will be enough for purchasing the next available ability, but that’s as far as it goes. If you would like to upgrade your abilities or purchase past ones that you may have missed, then you should actively collect drops from enemies as well as the occasional heart and armor. Although an ability will eventually be able which would allow loot to be automatically attracted towards you, at the initial stages of the game you’ll really have to take the initiative to grab these items before they disappear if you want to upgrade your character and stay alive for longer.
Only One can also be considered as a thinking game where in players can utilize the vast expanse of the arena in their favor. Players about to get swarmed can move around so that they would not get surrounded, and they can use abilities to keep enemies at bay or at least provide you some breathing room to divide and conquer. The edges will also be able to help you stay alive as you can simply attack and knock enemies over the edge, but this will come at the cost of you being unable to collect any loot that the enemies may have dropped. You, too, would be in danger of falling each time you step close to these areas, so it’s more of a risk/reward situation.
Players who die will find themselves returned to the last level milestone, so that at least takes away some of the frustration of having to start from scratch. What can be irritating, however, is the fact that the game can oftentimes interrupt what would otherwise be an exciting battle by popping up messages reminding players to rate the game or to buy additional currency via in-app purchases. These instances will really take away the players’ experience and immersion of the game, the latter of which is already a task all of its own due to lackluster visuals.
Despite these shortcomings, Only One is still a pretty addictive game. It is capable of challenging players so that they can know just how far they can go before dying, and the brief respite before enemies start appearing again will not only serve as a period of rest, but also as a moment of triumph as you stand alone atop your very own pedestal. It’s also a pretty basic hack and slash game that even kids can easily get into. What’s even better is that those with sensitivities with regards to violence can enjoy action without the excess blood and gore that usually comes along with it.
Only One is a title that is highly recommended for players with time to spare and with pretty much nothing else to do or play. It will take up hours of your time and it’s absolutely free. Be prepared for a very simple approach in the genre, however, and be patient as you dismiss popups and other nuances. Still, it’s a pretty enjoyable game that can certainly be one of those go to games for when you need to pass the time.
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 7/10
Only One is available for both Apple and Android devices via the iTunes Store and Google Play, respectively. It was developed by Ernest Szoka and was last updated February 2014.