Game: Onion Assault
Genre: Action, Arcade, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows))
Developer|Publisher: Horberg Productions
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone 10+
Price: US $7.99 | UK £7.19 | EU € 7,99
Release Date: January 26th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to Keymailer.
Just Add Onions
Onion Assault is a 2D platformer which takes inspiration from Super Mario Brothers 2. A retro gem that is still one of my favourite Mario games in the series. The developer is known for games like Gunman Clive which take inspiration from retro classics but are presented with a unique graphical style, in a short but nicely priced experience. The developers’ talents are certainly showcased here. If you’re looking for a short and onion-infused platformer with a hearty challenge then this is well worth checking out.
Our tale begins with an army marching across the landscape towards our hero’s house expecting to take over or possibly just pass through to get a sausage roll at the local vendor. Although it turns out they messed with the wrong dude and his mother. Interrupting what appears to be a relaxing snooze in the hammock the game’s protagonist is rudely awakened.
So he does what any logical video game character would do. Grabs the nearest weapon, which so happens to be an onion with a smiley face and chases the large army back up the castle they came from across several levels. The lead protagonist is so mad he even leaves his shirt behind for the duration of the game. It’s all rather silly but funny which hooked me pretty quickly to the game’s premise. The story is kept very short, throwing you straight into the gameplay.
Pick up and Throw
Gameplay is pick up and play (or pick up and throw) for most gaming audiences. Like any 2D platformer, you can run and jump with a sprint button to gain a bit more momentum. The levels are littered with grassy tufts which can be pulled out with the press of a button. Usually what you pull out is a cute little onion with a smiley face. You can then carry this above your head and fling it at enemies to defeat them. But it’s not just onions you can pick up. You can pick up the enemies themselves, projectiles and even massive tanks.
There are often moments in the game where I thought ‘can I lift that,’ and in most cases, I found I could. A nice touch to this design is if you do carry something heavy your character will slow and struggle with the weight. My only niggle with the controls is the jumping sometimes felt clunky. When jumping up with a sprint my character sometimes only performed a half-hearted jump which led to some frustration with the platforming.
Bright and Colourful
Onion Assault presents a vibrant colourful art style that’s warm and welcoming to all audiences. The developer once again provides a distinctly unique style that strays away from the norm making you quickly forget about the games it takes inspiration from. While the game is quite short with 16 levels, there is a nice variety of environments to explore. Such as grasslands to levels covered in snow and even levels made up of chocolate. Performance is great across the board in TV and handheld.
Levels are varied with new mechanics regularly introduced. On one level you might be throwing onions into a cannon to fire them at rocks, the next you’re creating snowballs to create a mound high enough to access a higher platform. There is a variety of enemies to contend with, with a pretty tough boss battle to take on after four levels.
Everything feels short and to the point with the game taking around 3 to 4 hours to complete. It does leave you wanting more but at least the small size may encourage future playthroughs. Other reasons to replay levels would be to collect the three hidden coins in each level, which will require some extra platforming skills to acquire. You can play as two characters but I didn’t really notice any difference in the playstyles between the two.
Conclusion – No Tears Shed
Onion Assault is a satisfying 2D platformer that keeps things short and to the point. This design will suit those looking for that shorter experience or something that does away with all the fluff of experience systems and collectables. This is a game that values the player’s time. For me, it was the retro feel that hit home. A self-contained experience with no glitches, that you can enjoy in a few sittings and even possibly return to in the future.
As a fan of the developers’ work, I was not left disappointed. The running and jumping didn’t always click and it’s a shame a few more levels were not squeezed in. I was still hooked till the very end. What I admire most is how this developer continues to attempt new creative projects while avoiding the familiar formulas. With all that in mind, I certainly recommend Onion Assault.
Final Verdict: I Like it