Oninaki Review –

Tokyo RPG Factory, the studio that brought modern classics like Ya Setsuna and The Lost Sphear, is offering Nintendo Switch owners a brand new adventure with Oninaki, an action-packed adventure with a rich, dark story that will keep players hooked until the end. The player takes control of Kagachi, who performs his sacred duty of bringing back lost souls to the afterlife of his kingdom.

Kagachi lives in a vibrant and beautifully animated world governed by the laws of reincarnation. As a guardian, he must ensure that the souls of the dead can pass on to the next life without becoming attached to the world of the living, and therefore he has turned off his emotions to fulfill his duties.

Because Onenaki deals extensively with the themes of death and reincarnation, the citizens of the world have an interesting perspective on death, as they are instructed by their leader, ruler, and guardians not to mourn the fallen, or they will be denied access to their next life. This view of death is quite different from that of most Western cultures and, while somewhat depressing, also offers some hope for the idea of life after death.

Fans of Ya – Setsun and Lost Sphear will find a similar story experience at Onenaki. Tokyo RPG Factory has already proven with its previous installments that it can tell a fascinating and emotionally intense story, and this game is no different, though there are some hand holding and rhythm issues here. There are also many Japanese manga and anime, with subtle references to past JRPGs. While Oninaki is heavily inspired by classics like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, it is a new experience in its own right.

Oninaki avoids the traditional turn-based combat system found in popular 16-bit games like Chrono Trigger for a more accessible approach to melee and slash combat, but it doesn’t quite match up to the other classics of the genre. Kagachi has the power to control the demons or lost souls of proud warriors who cannot or will not pass on to the Otherworld. These demons act as classes or professions when equipped, giving Kagachi a wide range of tools and skills at his disposal, much like the knives in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or the pedestals in the popular anime and manga series JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure.

There are a lot of demons that the player has to face in the main missions of the story, and some of them he has to search for himself. Kagachi can only equip four demons at a time, allowing players to mix their favorites with the best team. Each of them has a specific weapon, such as. For example, a sword or scythe with its own skills unlocked in the skill tree. The actual combat is great at the beginning of the game, but it slowly turns into a repeated press of the Y button followed by a random ability button. Most of the game’s main enemies won’t give you any trouble, but boss fights can be a real challenge, and it’s not the player who is responsible for them.

Since the game has become more action-oriented, you would think that the developers would try to make the submissions more accurate and responsive, but unfortunately, I have to say that there were many times when the battles in the game were just slow. Sometimes I felt like my movements were flawed, making it difficult to dodge my opponent’s attack. It’s not too boring with normal enemies, but with bosses that can kill you with a few hits, it gets pretty boring, not to mention the regrowth spots in boss fights are terrible. More than once I have reappeared before the boss after my death, only to be cut down twice and die again.

Onenaki also likes to throw waves and waves of enemies at the player, which isn’t particularly difficult, but it feels like the game is taking longer than it should. After hitting a large group of monsters, expect another large group of spawners to appear immediately after and then again. It gets boring much faster than a game like Secret of Mana or The Legend of Zelda, which is a shame because the developers had a really great basic idea here, but the storylines weren’t enough to keep things fresh and interesting.

Of the three games Tokyo RPG Factory has released so far, Oninaki stands out as the most beautiful. The landscapes and characters in the shadows of the cells appear to be painted in watercolor, creating a bright and visually appealing environment. Because Kagachi is able to travel between the realms of the living and the dead, each world is autonomous, even if they share the same landscape. The world of the living is much more detailed and beautiful than that of the dead, but it also has its own visual charm, thanks to a minimal color palette.

While the world is beautiful to look at, there isn’t much to do. The capital city of Kagachi is full of shops and vibrant homes, but the player can only interact with a handful of NPCs and there is only one shop to visit. I wish I could have explored the world more on my own, but it seemed a bit lifeless (maybe that was the point, since the game is about death?).

The background music is a bit dull compared to my Setsuna movies, sometimes not at all. There are also a lot of Japanese voices, which brings a lot of emotion to the story, although the writing has its ups and downs.

Oninaki is a solemn tale of death and rebirth that would be one of the greatest if it weren’t plagued by repeated battles and slow orders. Only the art direction requires attention. I’m Setsuna and Lost Sphear fans looking for a similar experience probably won’t find it here, but what they do find is still worthwhile.

Oninaki overview
  • Charts – 9/10
  • Sound – 9/10
  • Gameplay – 6/10
  • Late Call – 7/10


Final thoughts : WARNINGS

Fans of previous Tokyo RPG Factory games will probably rush into this one, but their game will probably not be what they expected. Too much unnecessary effort prevents Onenaki from achieving the greatness it could have, despite its remarkable artistic direction and moving history.

Tony has been playing since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn to read. His greatest achievement is not just playing the entire Kingdom Hearts series, but understanding it.


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