When I installed this title, I was pretty excited to start this game. It has been awhile since I’ve played side scroller and they’re always so much fun! One look at the art of this game, and I was definitely sold. After being a Steam Early Access title for awhile, Onikira: Demon Killer was finally fully released on Steam from Digital Furnace Games and I was ready for some beat’em-up action.
The very first thing that catches the eye, is the beautiful artwork of this game. Onikira gets a lot of attention for its ink painting backgrounds and comic-style action animation. Upon first launch, you are greeted with just that, and it definitely does not disappoint. Vibrant colors paint the distance among the dark background while our hero, Jiro, is the red flash gliding across the screen.
This story centers around the protagonist, Jiro, who is a samurai protecting the world of the living against the evil forces of the Japanese underworld. The game opens with Jiro’s backstory, setting the tone for the battles to come. As you advance, the plot thickens but not too much – there’s equal attention paid to the story and the style, which is perfect for this game. The intro will give you the backbone to the story, but the part of Jiro’s plight you play unfolds mainly in the shadows, flames, and vast environments. The setting itself and wonderful soundtrack are used as their own narrative devices, which were nice, subtle ways to advance the story and Jiro’s journey.
This beat’em-up features a nice array of normal attacks and specialties – which give you the incentive to blow through levels and get new abilities. It boasts the “Expressive Combat System” where a player can create and manipulate the abilities and skills they have to create fighting styles that work for them. I would have liked this feature to be more built out – as it was a cool feature. But, you wouldn’t have noticed it was available unless you paid close enough attention. The levels are fun, but a little long, and this release still had some bugs around saving your progress. The battle portions are outstanding, but there would be a lag every now and then, along with some slowing when there were a lot of characters/items on the screen. Because of this, my experience was a little choppy, even frustrating at times, but it was fun enough to keep me going.
The game is meant for and best used with an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller. It should be noted that I created custom settings to play this on a keyboard – which was totally doable and a lot of fun. However, there were more problems with saving those settings so I would have to constantly re-enter them. And while the slashing and in-air combat was fast and fun, this got repetitive pretty quickly and I found that my fingers were getting tired pressing the same buttons over and over again.
Onikira is the perfect type of game to pass the time and get some hearty, instant fun. The plot isn’t so immersive that you are hooked to your screen, but the beautiful action sequences leave you satisfied enough to play through a level here and there. With that said, the repetitiveness can get boring and the buggy issues can get old real fast. While a fun game with great potential, it’s hard to look past the technical issues and repetitive gameplay.
Buggy but beautiful
+ Beautiful artwork and soundtrack
+ Expressive combat system
– Technical issues and bugs
– Repetitive Gameplay