ONINAKI / DEVELOPER: TOKYO RPG FACTORY / PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX / PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 22ND
Oninaki depicts the story of a young man named Kagachi, a young Watcher whose mission is to usher the wandering souls of the Lost, so they may be reincarnated. One day, he meets a mysterious girl named Linne. Together, they work with other Watchers to execute their mission and fight against the malicious Night Devil.
Instead of the developer’s previous two-turn-based JRPGs, Oninaki goes down the action RPG path. You've got a basic strike, a dodge, and then up to four mapped abilities that operate on a cooldown. What makes the game really different to others in the genre are its Daemons.
Borrowing ideas from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Persona, Daemons are characters that are linked to you, and that you use as weapons. Each one has its own varied set of abilities, and also dictates what sort of evade your character uses. Some powers are better against certain enemies, and different evades can help you in varying defensive situations.
The battle mechanics are both challenging and fun. The controls feel tight, and button mashing will only get you so far. It's not just about attacking, but also about knowing your enemies' attacks and positioning yourself to both evade and to make best use of the placement of your Daemons' special attacks.
The characters and story are engaging, with an interesting take on the afterlife and reincarnation. The plot will keep you intrigued throughout, as you learn more about the lives of your Daemons and the mystery behind Linne.
The areas look great, and have much more variation than the developers had in previous games. Towns are packed full of people to chat to, and the distinctive art style has a visually appealing glow to it.
Tokyo RPG Factory's passion for JRPGs has always shone through, and now that they've removed the shackles of the past and gone more in their own direction it has undoubtedly paid off. Oninaki is a fun action RPG that's easily accessible but difficult to master. It's beautifully crafted in the design of its story, its characters and its world.