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Only One: Be the last man standing on your iPad

David Price | April 16, 2014
Only One is a retro-looking fantasy brawler that takes place entirely on a vertiginous cliff top. Little pixellated enemies--swordsmen, archers, and annoying wizards who shoot fireballs--spawn periodically, and it's up to you to chase them around and either slice them to death or knock them off. A green virtual joystick appears wherever you plonk your left thumb, and an attack button sits on the right. The combat's surprisingly well-realized, too, with satisfying sound effects and a smidgen of tactical depth.

Mind you, some of the less savory aspects of modern freemium gaming do make an unwelcome appearance. Only One fairly often requests a rating, and offers 500 power in return — a grubby (if understandable) approach, and one that sullies the game's own values. At least it doesn't specify a good rating.

Only One is shameless about laying on the guilt trip when you try to close the menu where you buy power. "Buying power helps improve the game and supports the developer!" it says. Then you have to click the green tick to exit, even though you'd previously used the red cross — a tiny bit desperate, even if we really do understand how difficult a market the App Store is for small developers.

Let's look past these small reservations and enjoy this for what it is: a nice, straightforward and quite funny fighting game that's free without constantly begging for money. If we can't get rid of freemium, it would be nice if we could at least have freemium games that are like this one.

Bottom line

Only One is great fun, silly and characterful, and while we wish they'd simply charged $1.99 and tilt the power collection side more in favor of the player, it manages to avoid most of the worst aspects of freemium. It made this reviewer's thumb sore, which is usually a good sign.

 

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