Good in concept, lacking in execution
The thing about most endless runners is that, by virtue of their very name, they tend to be endless. This can be a bit of a problem at times, particularly when there’s a narrative by which the inevitable mark of failure can yield some rather grim implications. Oasis: Path to Redemption is not like that, however; a fact it proudly boasts as it promises a defined ending. That said, just because it has an ending (and five worlds to traverse in order to get there) doesn’t mean that it is by any means easy.
Oasis also favors itself as an RPG (“Action RPG Runner” in full), though this isn’t really much the case; as you run along and take down one foe after another, you’ll gain experience which you can use to acquire new skills, thus allowing you to progress even further… at least, in theory. Of course, so many games allow for experience and leveling up that those traits are hardly unique to RPGs any more, but that’s getting off on another tangent.
The idea behind Oasis is sound: Like most runners, the key to victory is in memorization, and by leveling up your skill set, you’ll be able to progress even further with each new try until you ultimately reach the end (at which time you’ll unlock a Mission Mode). Unfortunately, while the idea is sound, the execution is lacking in some areas.
Foremost among these are the key mechanics, namely swiping your sword. The controls sometimes tend to be sluggish, allowing you to take damage despite being ready to attack. Enemies take multiple hits to kill, but the protagonist lacks any sort of practical combo attack, and enemies are usually knocked back before a finishing blow can be dealt, making encounters slightly frustrating. Worse is when they manage to knock you back as well, as it can be difficult to time an attack between being knocked back and running right into them again in short order.
Also working against the game’s ideas is the application of acquired skills. In the early going, you can gain the ability to block, jump, and perform a jumping slash. The block works decently enough, though when it’s most useful is when enemies give you a chance to do little else. Meanwhile, the jump can barely clear enemies, making it impractical, and the jump-slash knocks enemies back, but doesn’t feel any more powerful than a regular slash. So even as you gain new skills, they seldom feel like they’re affording you much of any advantage; to borrow a phrase, leveling up here is like running to stand still.
The game still has its charms, particularly in its visual style and surprisingly smooth music, which is kind of relaxing in a way. But while the animation flows well and the backgrounds are well-drawn, the enemies are a little lacking in variety, by which we mean that you’ll encounter several similar looking foes who move and attack in different ways, but they’re difficult to distinguish until you actually engage them, making first-encounters a bit of a guessing game.
Oasis: Path to Redemption has several good ideas and great qualities, but it’s the execution which is unfortunately a bit lacking. It can be overcome with patience, but the question then becomes how much you’re willing to invest for what you’ll receive in return. For us, it just doesn’t quite balance out as well as it should in the end.