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Video Game / OneShot

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This place was never worth saving.
...Do you still want to try?
Then, remember this:
Your actions here will affect Niko.
Your "mission" is to help Niko leave.
And most importantly...
(a pop-up appears on your computer) You only have one shot, [YOUR_NAME].

OneShot is an RPG Maker 2014 Puzzle/Adventure game where you, the player, must guide a lost child through a strange world, utilizing items, characters, and the environment to progress. The game was created by Eliza Velasquez and NightMargin (Casey Gu) and was entered in the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest. An Updated Re-release made using RPG Maker XP was released on Steam on December 8, 2016, followed by a large content update on March 26th, 2017.

On OneShot's 5th anniversary, a new Updated Re-release titled OneShot: World Machine Edition was announced by NightMargin for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, which was released in September 22, 2022.

The game can be found here. The Updated Re-release can be found on Steam and, with the official website for it here.

Both of the major game developers have Tumblr accounts, with Night's here and Eliza's found here.


The full OST for the game (including some bonus tracks that didn't make it into the game) can be found at Night's Bandcamp here.

The game is not related to One Chance, but the concept is very similar. Nor is it related to the film of the same name, which concepts are not similar at all.


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  • Always Save the Girl: You can choose to do a platonic version by having Niko smash the lightbulb. You save Niko, but damn the world.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Niko is never referred to by any gendered words or pronouns, and their outfit leaves it ambiguous anyway. Word of God has said that "Niko is whatever you want Niko to be." and "Yes, Niko is a boy or a girl."
  • Apocalypse How: Societal Disruption, heading towards Societal Collapse and most likely Total Extinction, all thanks to there being no sun. In the original game, the moment the game is closed improperly, the world immediately ends along with the game. Whether or not Niko has been able to get out first.
  • Arc Symbol: The sun/lightbulb Niko carries around is a venerated symbol that appears as a pattern on the clothing of the denizens of the Glen, the altar in the late Prophet's house, and near several objects or puzzles Niko has to interact with.
  • Arc Words:
    • "I have not been tamed."
    • "I can't go against my programming."
    • "You only have one shot."
  • Big Bad: At first, it doesn’t seem like the narrative even has a villain, but it gradually becomes clear that The Entity is the antagonist. While it occasionally provides hints and information necessary for the player to progress, it is generally The Entity that is opposed to the Player and Niko's mission of returning the sun, and near the end of the game prevents the player from progressing by locking Niko in a sort of Lotus-Eater Machine, and later attempts to trick them into shattering the sun in order to return home. Further cementing it as the antagonist is the fact that the Entity is responsible for the corrupted code that is causing the simulated world to deteriorate.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Both of the game's endings. If you choose to place the light in the spire, the sun is restored to the land and you get to see the world's inhabitants bask in the sunlight, but the land will, according to some people, (including one with a vested interest in the world dying) continue to die anyway and Niko will be trapped there, alone, until it does. Alternately, if you shatter the light bulb instead, Niko is allowed to return home and be with their mother again, but in the original, the inhabitants of the world will never again see the sun before the land dies, and in the Updated Re-release, the world immediately ends.
  • Book Ends: A musical variant. The song "My Burden is Light" plays exactly twice: At the title screen when you first start up the game and at the Tower's spire where you have to decide the final fate of both Niko and the world.
  • Born in the Theatre: Several parts of the game, including the Go Home ending, rely on you playing the game in windowed mode. This is to allow you to look for information that The Author gives you on your computer, including the journal that tells of a way to play the game after the 'sun' has been replaced or broken.
  • Cat Girl: Niko has very cat-like features, no matter how much they try to deny it. The giant ears may be a part of the hat and the whisker-like projections are actually hair strands, but as Silver points out the big glowing eyes are very much like those of a cat.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The journal written in an unknown language that you pick up at the beginning of the game. It's not an unknown language when you're given partially restored pages.
  • The Chosen One: Niko is referred to constantly as the "savior of the world" or just "the savior", sometimes even "the Messiah".
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Sure the sun died and the rest of the world will eventually suffer the same fate, but people and robots still have to go about their lives. All they can do is live out each day with the hope that a messiah will come and restore the sun to their world.
  • Crapsack World: Not only is there no sun, but strange, dangerous glitchy squares have started appearing, and apparently have appeared before the sun went out.
  • Death Seeker: The Entity is one, according to the translated journal, and attempts to achieve this by tricking the savior into smashing the lightbulb, ensuring the absolute end of the world.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If you solve a puzzle without the Entity's help and go on the nearest computer, it will be confused about how you can have solved the puzzle without it's help.
    • You can take up to ten photos of Niko at the photo studio in Refuge. Any of them will work for the library card... except the one where Niko blinked.
  • Driven to Suicide: Heavily implied by one of the notes Niko finds while navigating the cliffs in the Barrens. Though the implication is clear in both games, it is much more bleak and overt in the 2014 version.
  • Eldritch Location: Near the end of the game, the Tower is this, with its looping rooms and a less-broken version of the house you started the game in.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: What the player and Niko are trying to prevent in the first place by returning the sun. Turns out that it will allegedly happen no matter whether Niko returns the sun or not.
  • Enter Solution Here: The puzzles that involve retrieving information from the player's computer.
  • Fetch Quest: Comprises most of the game's puzzles. Getting from one region of the world to another usually requires a fetch quest of some sort.
  • Flat "What":
    Shepherd: My rams clock at 1333 megaherds.
    Niko: ...What?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the Glen, when Niko comes across the dying plant girl, she asks Niko if she can hold onto the light bulb, wanting to bask in the sunlight before she dies. When Niko asks if the light will bring her back to health, she tells them that it will not save her. This is foreshadowing for the fate of the land if you place the lightbulb back in the spire—although it will bring comfort to the inhabitants, the world will still continue to die.
    • There are a couple of details in the soundtrack that literally foreshadow things that would be not be revealed until the Solstice update: the cover art features Niko and the true form of the Entity, whose real identity is also featured in the name of the track "Niko and the World Machine".
  • Gender-Blender Name: The head of the library located in the Refuge is a lady named George. Nobody in this world seems to find her name or the fact that she has a die for a head strange.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Averted. While Niko's eyes are indeed very large and very glowy, Niko is as sweet as they come. This is even lampshaded by an NPC at one point.
  • He Knows Too Much: The implied fate of anyone who finds out about the Entity's true nature.
  • Iconic Item: Niko is almost never seen without the lightbulb, an important item that defines its carrier as the savior of world since it's supposed to be the world's new sun.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Lampshaded with a piece of rubble blocking the path to Calamus and Alula's home. They just kick it out of the way when it's time to go there. Niko remembers this trick in the Solstice ending.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Near the end of the game, you and Niko find out that the only way that Niko can return home to their world is by smashing the lightbulb that's supposed to save this world, thus dooming it forever. And even worse, they leave it up to you to decide whether or not you allow a lost little kid to get back to their family and thus leave an entire world to rot in darkness for the rest of its life or trap said kid in a world that is allegedly doomed anyway to push the doom part a bit back. Have fun.
  • Messianic Archetype: Niko is explicitly referred to as the savior and the Messiah by the residents of the dying world. It was foretold that a savior from another world would wake up in a strange room, find the new sun, and bring light back into the world, and Niko fits the bill perfectly. Saving the world requires Niko to remain trapped there forever, so whether or not Niko actually fulfills the "bring the light back into the world" part of the prophecy depends on which ending you choose.
  • Multiple Endings: Two endings, both of which diverge from a single decision you must make at the end of the game.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Both the game (through a persona called "the Entity") and Niko address you directly (calling you by name, even though you never told them what it is). At certain points the game modifies your computer to either add or remove game-related files, and at one point it even changes your desktop wallpaper.
    • With the free version, just closing the window was implied to be an ending, in that you effectively ended the world before Niko could get the lightbulb to the right place. With the remake, the game autosaves when you close the game, but not without Niko feeling like they almost died.
    • The ending where you shatter the lightbulb takes this even further: the game window itself shakes, Niko literally walks out of the game window down your desktop to return home, and if you open the game after finishing, the game just tells you that the savior is gone and closes itself.
    • If you find the hidden journal pages, you can delete your save file, which apparently resets the game, and allows you a SECOND shot. However, Niko abruptly remembers your name, The Entity outright calls you out on that you're not meant to play it again, and several incidents suggest it isn't quite the same as you remember...
  • Non-Action Protagonist: Niko, though the savior of the world, clearly isn't a fighter. There aren't any traditional battles, anyway.
  • Overly-Long Gag: Niko only needs one photo to attach to the library card, but there's nothing stopping you from taking another. And another. Each photo has a unique description and response from Niko, until the camera finally runs out of film after the tenth.
  • Plant Person: Maize.
  • Pungeon Master: The ram herder. This is most apparent when visiting the secret ram club.
  • Random Number God:
    • The face and personality of George, the head librarian, is determined randomly, as referenced by one of the books in the library.
    • Any number code, like the remote control 'code' and the safe combination is randomized. They are even different on an additional playthrough.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Averted entirely. This game has no combat, only item puzzles and Fetch Quests.
  • Running Gag: Niko would like to remind you that they are not a cat. Cats walk on four legs.
  • Sadistic Choice: Save Niko and abandon the world or save the world and trap Niko forever. Oh, and the world will die anyway! According to The Entity, anyway.
  • Save Point: Beds save Niko's progress. Niko discusses their dreams with the player when starting up the game again.
  • Screw Destiny: Niko is the prophesied savior of the world. If you choose the Return Home option at the top of the tower, Niko will trust your judgement, shatter the lightbulb, and leave the game, dooming the world in the process.
  • Sekaikei Genre: See Bittersweet ending.
  • Shout-Out: to The Little Prince
    • "I have not been tamed" alludes to the story of how the Prince tamed his fox.
    • The very stressed out Lamplighter.
    • The merchant who sells a pill that eliminates the need to drink water.
    • Wheat fields remind the Narrator of The Little Prince and Niko of their mama.
    • The nameless Author, Cedric the pilot, and Rue the fox reference the nameless Narrator (who is a pilot) and the Prince's tamed fox.
    • One of the wallpapers for the console version (the second one on this page) is an obvious shout-out, showing Niko on an asteroid with a fantastic space sky behind.
  • Side Quest: Before completing the game, you can replant a seed from Maize. If given miracle water and sunlight via Niko saving the world, the seed grows, netting the player an extra picture during the credits.
  • Try Everything: In-universe, Niko can convince the Lamplighter at the top of the Refuge elevator to try brute-forcing the five-digit security combination. After many hours of real time, it works.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: This happens once Niko fixes the elevator and rides down with the Lamplighter. You have the decision to either tell Niko to strike up a conversation with him, or continue the awkward silence.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Entity. Believing what it says makes the difference in whether one ending is a Bittersweet Ending or a Downer Ending.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Tower is the final area Niko needs to navigate before reaching the summit where the sun is supposed to be placed. The inside is a looping maze warped by the Entity that, depending on which version of the game you are playing, requires different objects that will guide Niko towards the correct path.
  • Wham Episode: The Refuge area contains the biggest revelations of the game.
  • Wham Line: Courtesy of the Entity: "You only have one shot, (Player Name)."
  • Wham Shot: If you try to play the game again after putting the lightbulb in the spire, you just see the bedroom Niko first woke up in, but Niko's not in it and nothing ever happens again.
  • When Trees Attack: Downplayed and subverted. During the main story, in the Glen, vines block your path and force you to sidetrack, but this is just so you'll meet Maize and she can relay some information to you. Subverted when you approach her for the first time, not knowing she's a Plant Person; she's lying weak on the floor surrounded by darkness and lots of spiky vines, as if they attacked her and could attack you, but they're her vines; she just sends them out when under stress and they do nothing to affect you. Subverted again in the Solstice ending; she actively uses her previously-path-blocking vines this time to bridge otherwise uncrossable gaps.
  • Where It All Began: At the end of the game, you end up back in the same house you started in. The original reinforces this by having you sleep in the same bed you woke up in at the beginning, while the rerelease has you go into the same door you exited the house from.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The game starts off like this, with the Kid Hero Niko waking up in a locked up, dark and unfamiliar room. In fact, it was even mentioned in the prophecy of the world Niko and you are supposed to save.

    The original 2014 version 
  • Checkpoint Starvation: You don't get to leave the game safely unless you find a bed.
  • Downer Ending: Leaving the game early nets you one—now there's no chance for Niko or the world.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The original version of the game modifies your computer so you can only finish the game once, and you either need a separate computer or account to replay it, or restore your computer to before you played the game; though an edit of the registry is also an option. If you're using Wine to run it on Linux rather than the native port (e.g. so you can just reset the whole registry with ease), it seems to magically detect what you're doing and act as if it were running natively anyway, including the message boxes.
  • Press X to Die: There's an option to quit the game from within the ingame menu.
  • Save-Game Limits: You get only one shot. You need to dig through the registry to reset your ending choice, though as of version 1.003, if you kill Niko by leaving the game prematurely, you get a second chance afterward.
  • Schmuck Bait: Go on, just try leaving the game despite the fact that you get only one shot. The Entity encourages you to take the bait, too.
  • Wham Shot: Before the 1.003 versionnote , if you launched an unsaved game (if you forced it to stop before Niko reached the save point), the light bulb on the title screen would be broken and only Niko's hat would remain on the ground. After that, you had a shot of the bedroom they first woke up in with nobody in it, then a Windows error would occur:
  • Win to Exit: If you want to keep Niko alive. Averted in version 1.003, in which you get a second chance if you do kill Niko via closing.

    The 2016 rerelease 
  • An Aesop: With the Solstice update: just because something like a robot, a world, or a character isn't real, doesn't mean the bond one forms with it isn't worth appreciating. As Rue puts it with regard to robots, it is a "complete suspension of disbelief" where, even knowing it isn't a real person, one forms a bond with it as if it is.
  • Arc Symbol: Black Clover. The mark of The Author
  • Arc Words: Combined with Wham Line. "I can't go against my programming."
    • "I have not been tamed"
  • A World Half Full: The changes made in the Updated Re-release plant it in this territory. The sun is gone, but you do get to see people and robots try to live their lives as best they can, and of course, they also have Niko to rely on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Near the end of the game, _______.exe also helps you with playing the game again.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The belief that a robot can go beyond their programming and act as a person is what allows them to do so. "Taming" is the act of forming a bond with a robot and cultivating that Willing Suspension of Disbelief. This works for the game itself, too, not just the robots in its world.
  • Darker and Edgier: Played With in the Solstice Route. Several characters appear to die, you see the world slowly deteriorating and Niko, a child, has a near Heroic BSoD. Unlike in the original playthrough, where you and Niko show care for the people in the world, this time the people are the ones helping you out, and often suffer for doing so. However, it all culminates in a Golden Ending where the world is saved and Niko can go home.
  • Dark Reprise: You'll frequently hear the "Puzzle Solved" theme as you, well, solve puzzles and get Niko closer to returning home. Towards the end though, you hear a more melancholy take on the theme just after you learn that Niko won't be able to return home without dooming the world they're currently trapped in, and vice versa. You'll have to break the news to Niko and choose the right thing to do.
  • Developer's Foresight: Cedric will accept a charged battery from Barrens if Niko happens to have it.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The entire game is the result of one of these.
    • A secret area accessed through an alternate password in the clock room leads to a (very bizarre) room based on the Java game Hello Penguin.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Author.
  • Fantastic Foxes: Rue is a fox who is briefly glimpsed in the first playthrough, and can be briefly talked to in NG+ on the non-Solstice route. If the player has taken the necessary steps to set up the Solstice ending, Rue plays a much larger role, revealing to Niko and to the player some of the details about the world which were left out by the original Prophetbot and Cedric.
  • Golden Ending: With the Solstice update, it's possible to Take a Third Option in NG+, wherein Niko comes face to face with the World Machine, and helps it come to terms with its flawed programming, coming to the realization that the World Machine has already been Tamed through the time Niko and the player spent in the world, enabling the World Machine to restore the Author's intended ending and allowing Niko to go home while restoring the simulated world's sun and resurrecting the people who were erased by the entity.
  • Guide Dang It!: After seemingly beating the game for the first time, you cannot start the game again, unless you check the _______.exe file again and, per instructions, remove a file in that folder. This is especially significant after the Solstice update where this is necessary to reach the Golden Ending.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Calamus is confused when Niko remembers his name.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's a flying machine, not a plane.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: The amulet that Silver gives you and the feather Calamus and Alula give you, they both have yellow phosphor in them, which turns out to be important later on when trying to gain access to the tower.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: The Lamplighter, during the Solstice ending when the elevator abruptly irreversibly breaks down in a different way from all other endings.
    Lamplighter: "HOLY F" (pause in dialogue box) "UDGE"
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Spoken almost verbatim by Niko upon exiting the secret penguin room.
  • Mistaken for Suicidal: The player might think such of Rue in Solstice. Everything is hopeless, she talks about how this is the tallest building in the world, and she even asks Niko to hoist her onto the banister. Turns out she just likes the view.
  • Regained Memories Sequence: When Niko is instructed by Proto to imagine what the top of the Tower looks like, a brief flashback plays out showing Niko going through the latter half of the Tower as they regain most of their memories of past playthroughs.
  • Reset Button: After getting the Golden Ending, you have the option to Replay the entire game again from a recording of the past events. The real Niko is still safe and sound, you just get to relive the game again as many times as you like.
  • The Ghost: The Author's influence is evident throughout the world, and many characters mention him in conversation, yet he is never seen directly. He directly communicates with the player via the Journal in-game, and through the fourth-wall Document.
  • Overly-Long Gag: Any time the librarian robot tries to call down the head librarian George. The robot will always wait for it to fail, and since George is always too busy to pick up, it'll always fail.
  • Save-Game Limits: Averted compared to the original, as now closing the game also saves your progress. You even get a chance to play afterwards by removing a file from the folder you find _______.exe in, which turns out to be critical to achieving the Golden Ending after the Solstice update.
  • Single-Attempt Game: The original free version only gives the player one chance at beating it, as closing the game will kill Niko and prevent the player from ever playing it again. This limitation was removed in the commercial Steam version (though the player gets an achievement if they still adhere to it).
  • Updated Re-release: The new version ports the game to the RPG Maker XP engine and also adds things like a graphical overhaul, new areas and characters, and the Refuge and the Tower have been massively expanded, as well as adding an ability for New Game Plus.
  • Wham Line: Combined with Arc Words. "I can't go against my programming."
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: In-Universe, Rue describes the bond one can form with a robot as this, letting the robot Grow Beyond Their Programming.