Square Enix has been releasing divisive entries in their long-running franchises, with Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 splitting up the fanbase pretty heavily. Many long-time Square Enix fans voiced out, wanting Square Enix to go back to their simpler RPG roots, like the SNES Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger. In response to that, Square Enix established Tokyo RPG Factory, a subdivision designed to do just that. They have since released throwback RPGs I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear, and their latest release is the action-RPG Oninaki.
The game takes place in a sombre world, where spirits of the deceased must be guided into the afterlife by people known as Watchers. The main character of Oninaki, Kagachi, lost his parents early in his life, which lead to him becoming a Watcher for a living. His partner, Mayuka, acts as the moral compass to his life, with Kagachi having a really bleak outlook to life since losing his parents and his constant encounters with death on a day to day basis.
Mayuka tries to show Kagachi the bright side to their lives as Watchers. Along their daily missions of guiding spirits, Kagachi encounters a lost spirit named Linne, who is being hunted by a mysterious and powerful spirit known as the Night Devil.
Gameplay-wise, the game is an action RPG, with your character being able to attack and use skills in real-time. You will fight monsters and beasts called the Fallen in an isometric angle, with the game’s gorgeous anime-inspired art style seen throughout the environments and character designs. Taking a cue from the Light and Dark World mechanic in The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, your main character is able to shift between the Living World and the Beyond, using it to clear enemies between worlds and even open up paths in the overworld.
Mainly you’ll be collecting Daemons, who are spirits that you can recruit and manifest. By equipping these Daemons, you get access to new weapons and skills, which you can switch around on-the-fly to suit the battle situation. With each Daemon granting you a totally new play-style, experimenting between them and figuring out which one is perfect for you is the bulk of the fun that comes with Oninaki’s battle system.
Themes And Characters
The game poses a number of thought provoking topics to the world the game is set in, as well as to the main character Kagachi. Life and death is a prevalent theme within the game, and the issue of letting go of a deceased loved one comes about time and time again. This acceptance of death and moving on is what gives Kagachi his brooding and moody demeanor, which is a pretty common trope for many anime and manga.
The various Daemons that help Kagachi on his quest, like Aisha and Zaav are also fleshed out as you play the game, having these wayward spirits open up on their experiences of life and death.
Overall, Oninaki is an alright game. The story and themes do the heavy lifting for it, while the combat can often times feel clunky and repetitive. Give this game a try with the free demo that is available for all systems, and see if this is an action RPG for you.
An alright game. The story and themes do the heavy lifting for it, while the combat can often times feel clunky and repetitive.