Oninaki is an action-RPG created by Tokyo RPG Factory where you play as a Watcher, someone who brings peace to the dead and helps guide them to the next world. The game features real-time combat, and you fight alongside different spirits called Daemons. As someone who usually likes games with darker stories, I have to admit that the game was a bit depressing to me, as the first ghost we encounter is a young boy who wishes to see his parents one last time. I also felt that the cutesy aesthetic didn’t seem super fitting for the game’s somber tone.
The main character, Kagachi, didn’t exactly give me a good first impression, as he seems very cold. He also sees the Daemons that assist him as tools to use in battle rather than what they really are, the souls of people who have forgotten their former life, further cementing him as an unlikable character at first glance. This could be fine if the character grows as the story progresses, but from what I’ve read, this doesn’t seem to be the case, though I obviously can’t say for sure. Fortunately, his friend Mayura seems to be a more compassionate and likeable character than he is.
Gameplay was fun enough, though it didn’t seem super deep and seemed like it could just be a lot of hack and slash. Different Daemons can change up your playstyle a bit, however. Out of the two available during the demo, Aisha was faster and granted you the dash ability, while Zaav was stronger, slower, and gave you the ability to jump. You can also switch between the world of the living and the dead, though sometimes when you visit the latter, you won’t be able to see anything until you’ve defeated the Sight Stealer in the world of the living, which appears as an enemy with a white mist around it.
When I initially played the demo, I wasn’t sure how to progress and eventually gave up, leaving me with a rather lukewarm feeling towards the game. But once I realized that the Iron Hammer boss was not optional as I had first assumed, I was able to return and finish the rest of the Story Demo. (Completing this unlocks the Battle Demo, which I didn’t end up trying.) Fortunately, playing a bit more of the game left me feeling a tad more positive towards it. Kagachi seemed like less of an indifferent jerk and more like a serious guy who just doesn’t mince his words. At first, I had also believed the game’s theme of death was a bit depressing, but now I feel a bit differently. Sure, death is a major part of the game’s story, but there is also reincarnation, so there is the idea of second chances and that death is not really a sad ending, but a new beginning where things have the potential to be better.
I read online that the game has four endings and can take between 20-35 hours, depending on whether or not you want to get 100%. Reviews seem to be quite mixed, as some people really like the game, and others feel it is mediocre with boring, repetitive gameplay. It would also seem that Tokyo RPG Factory doesn’t exactly have the best reputation, either. Put that all together, and I feel like the price tag of $49.99 seems just a bit too steep for me no matter how intrigued the demo left me feeling.
Now it’s your turn to share, dear readers. Has anyone here played Oninaki? And if so, what did you think about it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on February 15, 2022.