Oninaki is the third game by Tokyo RPG Factory and their first action RPG. Does it shake up the formula enough to warrant a purchase? Check out our review and find out.
Oninaki starts with a somber tone as players are introduced to the main character, Kagachi. His parents have just died, and he is told he cannot be sad for them. If he grieves for them, then their souls won’t make it to the next life and will be stuck in limbo. Fast forward 20 years and Kagachi has joined up with the Veil Watch. The Veil Watch can go into the world of lost souls and help them pass over to the other side. Your first mission is just that: find the lost soul and help it go to the next life.
When you help out the lost one, you venture to the main town of the game, Deto. You meet with the other Watchers and then are given your second mission and told about the Night Devil. A group of cultists has taken their own lives, so the Watch has to make sure they can all cross over. On top of that, they need to find out why they all killed themselves. While roaming the town, you hear more about the Night Devil, who has also been killing people. The Watch is concerned, but have their priorities. The story can be predictable at times, but it is still enjoyable nonetheless.
Combat in Oninaki is real-time and not turned based. Starting off, you have basic skills like a dash attack, a regular slice, and an evade manuever. As you progress and unlock more Daemons, it gets more in-depth, though it can still feel repetitive at times. You go to a zone, kill the enemies and sightseers, and then clear a boss. On occasion you are sent back to an area you went to before, and you clear a new zone, but again it’s the same thing. Some elite enemies randomly spawn and give you great loot if you kill them to add to the experience, though I only fought three in my playthrough. By the end, I was spamming square alongside my attack skills without much thought.
Veil Watchers are aided by Daemons, weapons that were once living people. They couldn’t be banished or reincarnated, so they are just stuck with Watchers. They act as your skills and change your primary weapon. You start off with one and quickly begin acquiring more. Each of them has their own skill tree, stats, and backstories you can find out. You can only have four equipped at a time, and you can switch between them during combat. I ended up finding four I liked and stuck with them, but I at least tried the others. You can get away with that on normal and easy, though if you try the harder difficulties, you’ll need a better strategy.
The Daemons were actually more interesting to me than the main story. Each of them has their memories blocked, and you can unlock them via their skill trees. Learning the story about these weapons is brief and to the point, which is a plus. However, if you want to get all of their stories, you will have to grind with them. That means if you don’t like one, you still have to use them to get to their stories. There are Null Stones that let you unlock skills in place of skill points, but those are rare. Thankfully there are no weapon level or skill requirements, and you can equip powerful weapons even while using a weak Daemon.
Since you are a Veil Watcher, you will have to help out lost souls you find during your adventure. These act as side quests and are generally either kill an enemy, deliver the soul somewhere, or bring them a weapon with a specific stat or power. As far as side quests go, they are bland. The reward is well worth it though, as each one gives you an additional Null Stone. These souls can be well hidden, and you often have to go back to areas if you want to find all of them. Lost souls make up the bulk of the side content, though there is also an upgrade system you can play around with.
The upgrading system is simple and takes too long to unlock. You use your old weapons on your new weapon to upgrade it and make it stronger. You can also add Shadestones to weapons with slots. These stones can add a variety of different effects such as more damage, skill damage, resistances, or quicker affinity gain. Affinity is the game’s power-up ability. The higher the affinity, the more damage you do. If you go too high though, you take more damage. You can burn the whole bar and power yourself and your Daemon up for a while, but you are then locked into the Daemon until it ends. When you use it, you can rip through enemies and feel powerful.
I will preface this part by saying there are a few very clever and creative boss fights in the game. That said, you fight the same enemies over and over again with different color schemes. Even some of the mini-bosses and bosses are reused. The game also feels very linear. There are optional paths to explore and chests to find, but outside of finding a lost soul now and then it didn’t feel worth it. I had no crashes, no glitches, and no frame drops throughout my playthrough. I don’t know my playtime because when you save it tells you what time it is rather than telling you how long you played. We’d venture to say the title will take approximately 20-25 hours to complete.
Oninaki is a fairly traditional action RPG with intriguing characters. The price is a bit steep, but if you liked the studio’s previous works, you won’t be disappointed.
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