By Jenae R / August 19th, 2019
Oninaki is the third game from Tokyo RPG Factory. Their first two games, I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear, looked great first appearances-wise. Although, upon playing their demos and experiencing them on a deeper level, they didn’t interest me enough to purchase them. Plus, they ended up with relatively mixed reviews. Ultimately, that in addition to the meh quality demos, was reason enough to pass them up. But a couple weeks ago, I saw Square Enix advertising Oninaki and the trailer intrigued me enough to install the demo and try out Tokyo RPG Factory’s most recent creation. I didn’t know they were already putting out another game, hence I installed and played it on both my Switch and the PS4.
The story begins when the main character, Kagachi, is a young child whose parents have just passed away from an illness. He’s told by Kushi, his friend Mayura’s father, that he shouldn’t grieve his parents’ deaths. These characters live in a place where the people believe in reincarnation. If the dead have any regrets they’ll become lost souls who can’t move on and be reincarnated. Kagachi and Mayura both grow up to become Watchers, just like Kushi. Watchers help those lost souls move on. They have the ability to travel between the living world and that of the dead.
Oninaki’s story is the first thing that absorbed me into this game. It feels much more interesting than TRF’s first two titles. I already want to experience more of this world where everyone believes so strongly in reincarnation that it affects their everyday life. I’m interested to see where the story takes the main characters as well. The other thing worth noting is the atmosphere. If you’ve read any of my other articles before now, you’ll know that I believe the atmosphere is one of the most important aspects of a game. Atmosphere includes the game’s art design, music, sound effects and the overall feel of a game. Oninaki is oozing with fantastic atmosphere. The scenery and animation are beautiful, and I love the art style. The music is fitting as well. You can listen to some of it yourself, up above.
Both I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear were turn-based RPGs. Oninaki is a major departure from TRF’s usual games, in that it’s actually an action RPG. I don’t necessarily prefer action RPGs over turn-based. They can definitely get repetitive depending on how they’re done, or feel clunky and be a pain to play. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Oninaki plays quite smoothly and isn’t clunky by any means. You control Kagachi and have the ability to switch between daemons in the heat of battle. At one point Kushi describes daemons as souls who couldn’t be reincarnated, damned or banished. Watchers make use of their powers in battle. Each one has its own skill tree and weapon type they use, giving you different play styles depending on the daemon.
This demo took me a couple hours to play through on the normal difficulty. It takes you through helping a lost soul pass on and the start of an investigation into an incident involving a cult’s mass suicide (in addition to helping another soul move on). You also get to try out two different daemons, the second one being unlocked for the purpose of beating a very early boss. While Oninaki does have smooth gameplay as far as battles go, I found out some of the controls elsewhere take a bit to figure out. Like when you first see the world map for example, which is essentially a menu to pick your location from (there isn’t an actual overworld), it’s not as simple as clicking where you want to go. You’ll only be able to scroll around and view pictures of the map’s locations. To actually select where you want to go, you have to hit left on the d-pad to pull up a list and from there you select your desired location. Little things like this took me longer than they should have to figure out. In any case, once you figure out little stuff such as this, you shouldn’t have any other issues. I also didn’t notice any significant differences between the Nintendo Switch and PS4 versions of the game. It played near perfectly both on PS4 and undocked on Switch, though I do think the load times were a bit quicker on PS4.
Overall, Oninaki appears to be a decent step up from Tokyo RPG Factory’s previous titles. The plot is more unique, the atmosphere is even more beautiful and not only do you get an awesome story to play through, but there’s also a separate battle mode to enjoy. So if you don’t find yourself burnt out easily by the action filled battle system, then that’s definitely something cool to check out. Typically in the past, demos are make or break for me. I love having them to try out various games and find out if they’re worth my time and money. As of right now, Oninaki certainly fits under the worth my time category and thus, I went ahead and pre-ordered it a few days after playing the demo.
nintendo switchOninakiPS4Square EnixTokyo RPG Factory