This fast-paced and entertaining defensive shooter was originally released as a mobile app and only recently released on the PC and PS4 in its definitive version. Few changes were made, most of which are, to my mind, improvements, but overall it is almost a direct port and has no real gameplay changes. The art is charming. Not sure how else to say it. I found myself enjoying the aesthetics of the game almost as much as I enjoyed the gameplay. The story is fairly negligible, but fitting for the game and the quick, but amusing, play style; and other than a quick intro mentioning other veggie-named kingdoms, I couldn’t quite see a connection to onions. However, give it a few minutes of play time and you’ll forget that there is any lapse in significance as you’ll be too busy dodging and aiming to care for much more than survival. This is our Onion Knights review.
Gameplay consists of a single gunner (you) in a kind of turret that ascends and descends by your control to alter the path of your artillery, which is set to a constant flow, or to allow dodging of incoming projectiles. The cannon itself and the storage are both upgradable 50 times through the items tab in the pre-stage setup to help meet the rising challenges of each stage. You have three knights that must help you weather the storm of the incoming hordes, each with skills that can be used during each stage. The Knights’ skills can be expanded on through the pre-stage setup.
The stages are quick and can get pretty furious with oncoming foes. Dodging incoming projectiles can get tricky, especially while trying to collect the angel-led bags of gold that occasionally make their way across the screen, not to mention the occasional fireballs that get tossed in your direction. Every few battles the player is confronted by one of the heroes, along with the usual villainous armies and they will use their specific skills against you. Stages can also be done multiple times to help earn materials, gold, and experience and can even be done in hard mode… when you are ready. Successfully completing a stage presents you with a score screen that is accompanied by a cute animation of the knights celebrating. Of course, losing a stage presents a much more amusing animation than winning does, perhaps to dampen any disappointment from the loss (yes, I purposely lost just to get a screen pic).
The pre-stage setup has three tabs: items, skills, heroes. The items tab allows you to buy and equip single use items that will assist you in the stage in various ways; effects range anywhere from healing your gunner, sending pigs charging towards the oncoming enemy, or causing the enemy hero to run away. As mentioned above, here you may also upgrade your cannon and storage.
There are also 20-some different heroes that you can collect to be used to assist you in any stage, each with their own unique skill. To begin with the player is allowed a single hero to be assigned in the pre-stage, but leveling up to 10 will open a second hero slot and you can purchase a third after that. Upgrading heroes appears to consist of cannibalizing other heroes and the use of materials earned by completing missions. This can be done both from the pub and in the pre-stage, heroes tab.
The pub is essentially the main interface for the game. From the pub the player can access various different options including the hero upgrade page, monitor achievements, and the hero collection, which a series of statues (one for each hero) that reflects the level of the hero. You can also access the shop which allows you to purchase hero cards or even gold in exchange for green gems (which can be earned by accomplishing achievements), or the settings where you can turn down the volume and pick your preferred language. Lastly, is the Extreme option that puts you in a survival stage in which you fend off wave after wave of assailants and achieve rewards for reaching a certain level of waves. The pub interface is also delightful with a few interactive points that give amusing little animations; try clicking on any of the knights, the goat, or the old man reading a paper.
The mobile version, of course, is much more commercialized, and as such has the option of having friends you can send gifts to, and leaderboards to gauge where you stand against fellow players. There are also a list of “Events” that include temporary sales, contests of accomplishment, and daily dungeons. The player is also limited in the amount of stages they are able to attempt by a finite energy reserve that the steam version does not have. As you might expect, more energy can be purchased with gems which can also be purchased with real money.
Despite the expected pay-2-win, micro transaction aspects, I have to say I felt more comfortable with control on the mobile version. The steam version has an inalterable control scheme that utilizes the mouse, arrow keys, and the asd keys. While you can forgo using the ASD keys and simply use the mouse, I think many players might have appreciated the keys all be together for quicker reaction times. Visibly, however, the art and graphics on the PC version are great and seem not to suffer at all from higher resolution.
Whichever way you prefer to play the game, you are bound to have a ton of fun as you work to avenge the kingdoms of other various food-stuffs and work to acquire and upgrade the many different heroes.
The Onion Knights Review Score – 7.5/10
- Charming and amusing animation.
- Quick, action-filled, and challenging.
- Simplistic game mechanics.
- Inconvenient control scheme.
- Very little story.