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Rating: 4.4/5 (137 votes)
Comments (67) | Views (5,739)
PsychotronicOnekeyIsn't it a tragedy when real life intrudes on your casual gaming time? I mean, here you are, trying to figure out how you can use a hair-clip and a bag full of birdseed to escape from a very important locked room; and meanwhile your phone is ringing, your significant other is pestering you to snuggle, and your unfed cat has resorted to eating mattress stuffing to stay alive. It's annoying, right? Don't you wish you could play casual games with one hand, and deal with all those bothersome responsibilities with the other?

Well, Nitrome is here for you.

Onekey is a character-based platform game played with only "one key", and thus the mystery of the title is solved. The [Space Bar] is your one and only method of control, and if your space bar is anything like mine, it's quite a bit larger than the other keys, and you can probably find it by feel if your attention happens to be on something else, like cookies. Or fireworks. Convenient!

The game, set in a colorful Mayan fantasy land, concerns a rite of passage. Your hero is a little Domo-Kun-shaped fellow with a warpaint mask and a tribal bone decoration in his face. Where he got the bone is a mystery, because on his own, he has all the survival skills of a roll of tape. He probably ambushed a bucket of fried chicken and kept the bones as battle trophies, and now all his friends are snickering at him behind his back and calling him "Hunts-With-Spork". Your job is to shepherd him through 20 levels worth of pitfalls, traps, and stonework guardians, using only the power of your Mighty Space Bar.

OnekeyThe catch is that you can't affect the main character directly. Instead, you control various objects in the environment while he blunders around falling off of things. If you want him to jump, for example, you have to wait for him to cross over a launching device and then hit space to catapult him into the air. Hammering on the space bar repeatedly raises gates, and keeping it pressed down moves certain platforms. You're like the spirit of the ancient ruins who, despite the fact that you're bristling with death-traps, would like to avoid maiming the local tribesmen. The tricky part is that you can't pick and choose what you manipulate. The Mighty Space Bar operates everything at once, including all the enemies, and stuff like arrow traps and crushing ceilings. You have to constantly judge the threats against each other, and think quickly, because your helpless charge—as though driven by pure stupidity—will be on a relentless quest to impale himself on sharp wooden stakes.

Analysis: This is a good one. The streamlined interface seems to have inspired the Nitrome team to create a wide variety of obstacles that interact in engaging ways. This is what you might call "fully exploring the concept." You'll encounter just about every possible combination of bad guy, trap, and moving platform during your 20-level adventure, without a lot of wasted design space. Since you only have to worry about one control option, the emphasis is always on timing and forethought. New objects requiring new strategies appear at a constant rate, and overall, I think Onekey is a little less punishingly difficult than the average Nitrome offering.

If you're hungry for a greater challenge, however, you can try to collect all 5 gems in each area, so little Hunts-With-Spork can afford to buy another bucket of KFC. No, seriously, the collectibles are pretty useless as usual, but they somehow feel more significant here than in other Nitrome games, because you have to take very specific actions to reach them. They aren't just sitting around in every spare corner. In fact, this seems like a step forward for Nitrome's level design. It's relatively easy to make it through the levels intact, but taking the best path just about triples the difficulty. To my way of thinking, that's more or less how it should be.

OnekeyOh, and Onekey is very, very pretty, if maybe a little desaturated. The Mayan theme suits Nitrome's tendency toward squarish, bulky visuals, right down to the angular background vegetation. The main character feels solid and three-dimensional, and the adorable bouncing feather on his head gives you something hypnotic to focus on while you poise yourself for the next bout of precision space bar mashing. The music doesn't exactly fit the theme, but it does match the bouncing of the feather pretty well, and I personally never felt like turning it off.

The one real argument I have is with the pacing. When you're in the midst of the fray, trying to manage spinning fans, rotating blocks, and leaping fish sculptures all at the same time, you'll be grateful that your hero walks like he's taking a leisurely stroll through the local vegetable mart. But when he wanders off to the edge of a long, uneventful platform and back, you might wish he had a "run" or even a "jog" setting. He's stuck on "mosey", and the downtime this causes can bring you perilously close to remembering that you have bills to pay and a cat to feed.

But I have to hand it to Nitrome for their likable character design. When a game's protagonist is this dumb, there's a very real danger that you'll lose sympathy for him. As in, "Please don't walk off that cliff again, you fat-headed plank, or I'll burn your family." But I don't feel like Hunts-With-Spork really deserves my ire. He's too oblong to hate. His resume lists his special skills as "making an oo-face" and "tottering". He's like a jaunty, devil-may-care, feather-sportin' sofa cushion. All he wants out of life is to roast a pig with his mates and perhaps not be squashed by a giant stone block. And you can make his dreams come true, all for the price of a broken space bar. You lucky benevolent deity, you.

Play Onekey

Thanks to the millions of you, too many to name, that sent this one in. =)


That was almost too easy. I finished almost instantly. Great game, level 20 slightly frayed my brain.


So that's who domo is...always wondered about that.

Anyway, my first thought was 'Cute!'. Then after a while I thought 'Man, this guy is stupid and needs to walk faster.'
A speed up/slow down button would be really great!! Otherwise it's a cool game.


Ehh, not a bad concept but only having one key got old after a while.


I have a few things to say.

I know of one other game you can play with one key. It is leo steel. You don't even need to select stuff with the mouse in leo steel. Leo steel is also a lot more linear.

This is nitromes third lemming game. It has three major things different then the others though.
1. you don't use the mouse.
2. you have hit points.
3. you have only one hit.

Also there is a bug that makes it so that if a
crocdile guardian is on a cannon when you press space the cannon pops up and you can no longer use the cannons. For this and other reason level 6 is unbeatable!


I really liked the artwork (as with all Nitrome games) and basic idea. Only things found to complain about are:
* why only 1 key and not any key
* way to speed up the walking


A great game, Nitrome seems to have realised that pumping out a game every week is all well and good, but people would much prefer a wholly enjoyable game every once in a while as opposed to tons of mediocre games in quick succession.

So far I'm up to what I think is level 12 or 13 (the game is paused as I write this) and although I have spotted a few glitches along the way, they don't seem to have hampered the game play at all.

In fact, I encountered one bug that seems to do more good than harm (instead of being crushed by one of the side-to-side platforms, I was merely placed on top of it).

But a fantastic game, good music and even better visuals.

@ganondorfchampion: If you continue to have problems with level 6, post another comment detailing which part you are stuck at and I'm sure myself or someone else can help you :)

TribalDude August 28, 2008 4:14 PM

Heh heh. I played this a long time before it got reviewed, and I think I'm on level 16 or something (at least 16).

Compliment to Level 16:

The "vine jump through falling gate" thing was really great. Sort of gave it an Indiana Jones feeling.

This is one of Nitrome's better games (not to say that Final Ninja and the other recent games weren't great), and I can't think of any complaints other than the slowness of the guy. I remember one level where you could do what? 1/4? 1/2? of the level without pressing the spacebar ONCE. Pretty amusing, that.

All in all, a magnificent game, and good luck with getting the gems!
~End of transmission~


That's my only complaint as well, that the main character (unnamed) sometimes walks too slowly. However, if he was faster, I'm sure we would all be shouting 'Slow down!'.

The game had really good visuals, and I noticed a Square Meal troll face on a stone, and a Hot Air balloon face. All it needs is a cheese moon (Small Fry got there first, though).

I think the music fits.

I also like the end screen: Gems for everyone! They're expanding on the confetti seen on Dangle and Hot Air 2.

How about an Easy, Medium, Difficult option? The enemies move faster, the main character moves faster, the purple blocks move faster...


Nitrome once again exceeds what humans thought was possible and makes an even SLOWER paced game.


Great, Nitrome is the best, but in my opinion, he could walk faster. Also, Nitrome once again does what we thought was impossible...a new original idea!



I agree with some others here in that there needs to be a "speed up" key. I can really appreciate the appeal of a 'one key' game, but I think a lot of Nitromes' games suffer from the lack of access to speed. Other than that, most of their games are excellent in design and gameplay.


so... uh... did anyone find this game really difficult? No? Just me? Ok. Just wondering.


Woa... I'm having trouble with level 8... I can't get past when you're between two purple blocks... >.< Help me, please!


Haha - Oh wait...

If you keep the space down, the blocks stay down

Didnt know that, whoopsie. I should read the notes.


oka, now that i've done a few levels passed the 'help' signs, I think I can get reviewing this game. "Hunts-with-spork" as well call him for now, is indeed, very, very dumb. And slow. Which is the only real thing I'm kidda missing in this game. And I -hate- those chains with spikes that go down by each space... But it makes the game fun, and makes sure you cant just keep pressing space and hope for the best.

I'd like to add, that if you keep presing space when tehre's no change, the rotating floor tiles with spikes in the green circles will not show their spikes. Just keep pressing space and you can walk through them asif you didnt just pass a statue in the wall that tried to shoot arrows at you! I made use of this 'bug' or advantage in many levels.

I'd recommend this game - its fun for everyone!


We need more reviews from Psychotronic. Great writing -- makes you WANT to read the whole thing!


Here here! I second that! :D


You never know what to expect from nitrome.
At first glance the game looks like a common platformer, and it turns out to be a fate-changing game. (Fate-Changers are what I call a game where you have no control over the character, but can add assisting features or control various mechanisms to change the characters path, etc.)
Oh yea, and one more thing:

king guthixx August 29, 2008 4:02 AM

I think his name is onekey ( the main character i mean)

Patreon Crew SonicLover August 29, 2008 6:05 AM

Here's my evaluation of the game, appropriately typed with only the space bar:

" "

Who here agrees with me?


I'm stuck on level 12.

Please, i don't know what i have to do in the last part. The stone kills me!!

Help me!


Two gripes- one time the character was walking & I pushed the spring & he didn't respond until I pushed it again! Frustrating! Secondly, I got to level 2 (I might do the rest later) and was frustrated that the baddie did NOT become neutralized when my character jumped on him. The baddie would squish down into protective mode, that's understandable, but one would think it could be neutralized by jumping on it when it was walking. Sometimes there was just no way to avoid him it seemed like, and it was very frustrating to lose a life this way. I wasn't too keen on learning to make the character avoid this guy when my character is jumping/walking in super-slow mode like that, it's too frustrating.

It's really cute otherwise though, always like to see a Nitrome game. And the review was great fun reading!


Much too slow and predictable to be fun.

Patreon Crew SonicLover August 29, 2008 3:36 PM

Incidentally, I must object to what Psychotronic said about the hero having "all the survival skills of a roll of tape". Tape has excellent survival skills; why do you think it sticks so well?



I hate those laser things!

That's it, I posted my thoughts already up top.


How do you win level 6? I only got past that retarded door twice, out of the 50 times I played this stupid level.


WHAT! The two evilest guardians didn't appear and I discovered you can open a door in midair.


Help me! I can't pass level 9! i get stuck when you have to raise the stones. sos!


My first try and I've made it to level four!

Those gators can be real pests

My third Nitrone game. All I got to say is...

They Rock!!!


hey ok im past 9 now im stuck on 12. sos? walkthrough?


Was a bit too easy for me tho, had completed it before this was posted ;)

Things I liked were: The simplicity of controling with only one key, the amount of bonus crystals to collect and the way they showed up at the level overview, the oh so familiar and awesome Nitrome graphics we're all used to, and ofcourse the variety of monsters

Things I kinda hated: The repeditive clicking to raise those doors on chains, the general slowness, the limited amounts of aproaches due to having only 1 key.

And alast: Those big purple blocks stay down when you hold space! Remember this, it'll save you hours!

lilacsigil August 30, 2008 9:19 AM

This game is great, but I'm desperately stuck at the end of level 18

I can't press the space bar fast enough to get the gate open, so I turn around and walk over the crumbling blocks to fall on the spikes.

Am I missing something, or am I just too uncoordinated to play this?


level 13 is REALLY annoying me right now...


levl 8 help please?


Finally won the game.

Could a sequel have multiple dudes?


Help on level 12 please?

lilacsigil August 31, 2008 12:10 AM

Level 8:

At the first two lifting platforms, use the upper one to get the jewel, and the lower one to boost you over the column and move on. Further on, HOLD DOWN the spacebar to keep the big blocks in place. Walk over the first one, let go of the spacebar. Hit the spacebar to make you jump up and HOLD IT DOWN to make the second block stay down so you can walk over it.

lilacsigil August 31, 2008 12:18 AM

Level 12:

Jump over the creature and onto the rope. Hold the spacebar to make the platform lift so you can fall down the hole underneath it. You have to walk across and back the row of blocks with spikes, this is a matter of timing. When you get back to the cannon, fire up onto the next level then hold down the space bar so that the platform will come up and you can walk across. Use the jumping square to go OVER the keypad (unless you want the gem). Jump up to the keypad at the top (it may take a few tries, but jumping from the very edge of the far left jumping pad usually works). When you get into the last section, press the space bar a lot to raise the gate. This will also make you fly up. As soon as you get over the fans and start to descend, stop pressing space so that you don't activate the jumping pad. Once you've walked over the jumping pad, press space one more time and hold it down to keep the big block in place.

Elizabeth August 31, 2008 5:37 AM

Can someone help with level 5?


argh, i'm stuck on the end of 4! What am i doing wrong?



You know about the cannons, right? Well, shoot yourself over the first two lots of mines.

However, I think you're stuck at the very last part. Well, you shoot yourself over as normal, but you use the TURBINES to float across the rest. To do this, press space, and keep it down. If you happen to turn around at the dragon head, do nothing. The mine at the end will propel you into the exit, for the cost of a life. OK?

Mind you, you'll have figured it out easily by the time this is posted. It happens to everybody here :).


ah, danke! did not see those there


How do I get the green gem on Level 18?

The cannon wont shoot me up high enough, and the ropeswing wont do the trick either

poptropican September 1, 2008 11:44 AM

Could somebody please help me on level 14??(the end part)


I'm stuck on Level 5! Help!

ithinkshesaid September 1, 2008 1:35 PM

Yeah, there's definitely a bug on Level 6... Cannons go away when purple baddies are on them and you hit space bar. How did everybody get past that?

~lulu_loves_domi~ September 1, 2008 5:21 PM

Anybody care to help with level three? Am I desperate or what? It's the part with the really small space right before the cannons. And there are these things that turn and they look like the wheels on a pirate boat that they steer with.

I think ive been watching too much pirates of the caribbean.

~lulu_loves_domi~ September 2, 2008 6:50 PM

Never mind guys! I beat level 3! Now would anyone care to help with level 14?

Patreon Crew SonicLover September 2, 2008 7:24 PM


If we're thinking of the same gem, try rebounding off the closed door before opening it.


I always look forward to your reviews, props to you for writing the funniest reviews!


How do you get the last gem on level 17? I think it's pink.


I beat level five but I'm stuck near the end (I think) of level 6!

It's where there's a door that you need to keep pushing the space bar to keep open and a cannon on the floor. I can't keep the door open and go in the cannon at the same time!

Help please!


Yeah, I still cant get that green gem on 18.

rebounding on the closed door doesn't seem to get you far enough to jump and get it.



I got the green gem on 18!

Heres how (if you're wondering)

It IS the rope swing thingy. You take down thewall, then get on the rope swing. I just pressed it towards the bottom of the arc of the swing but still moving to the left. I got lucky and landed on the gem! Good luck...it's not easy!



jump off the vine to the left, you should bounce off the side of the screen back toward the green gem


btw, anyone know how to get the blue gem on level 19? It's the only one I can't figure out! It's taunting me with it blue-unreachability!!


Well, I found this surprisingly hard. I haven't really had time to play it, but the time I did, I got to level 12. I cannot seem to get farther when I play. Any suggestions?


I can't get the blue gem on 16.

I also can't get the green but I'll try bouncing off the door.


I meant the green on 18.


All I have left is the blue on 16.


Nitrome's "press-one-button-only" game is, at first, cute and innocent. All thoughts of affection for our chubby protagonist, however, are quickly evaporated after the first ten minutes of play, when Onekey becomes extremely annoying.

Firstly, this Mayan creature's sluggish pace, at times, leaves your hand dormant over the space bar for a suicidally long time. The concept of Onekey may initially be intriguing but loses its shine after a couple of levels. The problem with having only one controlling button is that you have little control over each contraption separately, so winning a level often boils down to luck. A few irritating bugs can be encountered along the way, too.

Trolling through the game level by level is indeed very unsatisfying. There's one element, though, in Onekey that I find on which not enough emphasis placed: gems. Collecting all gems by the time you exit the level instigates a sense of achievement in the player. It's a pity it means nothing to your progress in the game.

Good effort, Nitrome, but hopefully next time you'll pop out something a little more worthwhile.


Please help with level 13. I cannot seem to get past it at all! The laser near the beginning, when I'm riding up on the purple thing keeps getting me, and then the one up top by the fans makes it worse!



Okay, level 18 help?! Please?


i cant get the blue gem on level 1!!


How can you get that last gem in level 15?


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