Daemonic Hack ‘n’ Slash!

When Oninaki was revealed in February’s Nintendo Direct, it immediately caught my eye with its beautiful cel-shaded graphics and the fact it was from Tokyo RPG Factory, a company born from Square Enix to create classic JRPGs. I loved the first title they developed called I am Setsuna, as it took me back to the days of playing Chrono Trigger on my DS but unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten around to playing their second title, Lost Sphear.

The demo for Oninaki starts from the beginning of the game where the main protagonist, Kagachi tells us he lost his parents one rainy night twenty years ago and how the villagers told him not to grieve as they would get lost and never be reincarnated. This is the premise in the world of Oninaki and the story revolves around death and reincarnation as people known as the Watchers shepherd the souls of the dead so they can be reincarnated if they happen to lose their way.

Kagachi grows up to be one of these Watchers, allowing him to guide lost souls and partner up with daemons in combat to tackle evil creatures and monsters. Each of the daemons has a different skill set similar to the job system in classic Final Fantasy titles. For example, you obtain a new daemon after the first boss encounter who has abilities akin to a dragoon, allowing you to use a jump attack known as ‘meteor’ and allows you to attack using a lance.

The combat for Oninaki is pretty simple, delivering your typical hack ‘n’ slash of mashing the square button to unleash a chain of attacks. But, as mentioned above, each of the daemons has abilities that you unlock on their individual skill trees and these skills can be assigned to circle, triangle, R1 and R2 buttons on PlayStation. If you like hack ‘n’ slash games like myself then you’ll probably enjoy the combat but I can imagine some people will find it mindless. Each their own, I suppose.

As a Watcher, you can jump between the living world and the world of the dead much like the light and dark world found in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. You will need to do this to progress certain areas as you can find portals in the spirit world to transport you over chasms or through barred gates.

The demo ends on a pretty intense cliffhanger which fuels my desire to pick this up on release as the world has drawn me in as well as this cliffhanger plus the game takes me back to Capcom’s PlayStation 2 title, Chaos Legion as that had a similar gameplay mechanic of hack ‘n’ slash whilst commanding legions to help in combat and Oninaki is looking like it will fill the void whenever I think about Chaos Legion.

You can try out the demo of Oninaki for yourself on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC as there is about two hours of story mode content available as well as a battle mode that has you fight hordes. Oninaki is available digitally on the platforms stated above on August 22nd and a physical edition is available exclusively on the Square Enix store.