The story of Momotaro is a well-known one in Japanese folklore. It’s the story of the boy born from a peach who travelled to the demon land of Onigashima to battle the evil that lies there. Nevertheless, historical past tends to be written by the victors, so we don’t actually get to listen to how the oni felt about this boy and his animal mates arriving and slaughtering all of them. Indie journey title ONI: Highway to Be the Mightiest Oni units out to handle this imbalance within the accepted narrative.
You play as Kuuta, an oni who travelled from his residence of Onigashima to the island of Kisejima. This island is a coaching floor for oni, the place they’ll acquire energy and energy if they’ll move a collection of trials. The challenges should not simple and plenty of oni have fallen of their efforts, however Kuuta is decided to attempt.
The sport begins as quickly as Kuuta arrives on Kisejima. You might be free to wander the island at your leisure, though wandering too far makes it clear that sure areas are blocked off by magic limitations that have to be damaged down. That is achieved by finishing fight challenges that progressively unlock throughout the island. In these challenges, the attitude shifts, Kuuta throws off his backpack, and also you beat down a collection of enemies together with your membership.
Fight is normal fare, with a single combo assault accessible to you. Nevertheless, the sport provides the vanity that enemies can solely be actually defeated by destroying their souls. Souls will seem when an enemy is knocked out. In case you fail to destroy them in time, they return to their physique, undoing all of your laborious work. In case you handle to knock out a number of enemies without delay, Kuuta has entry to a series capacity the place he can zip round bashing souls in a ruthless combo.
Including to the fight mechanics is Kuuta’s ghost buddy Kazemaru, who you may management independently by holding down a shoulder button and shifting the precise stick. Kazemaru has the ability to attract souls out of enemies, and later positive factors the flexibility to teleport Kuuta round and heal him.
Using two characters in fight sounds difficult, and but it really works surprisingly effectively. Kuuta’s easy fight mechanics coupled with all of Kazemaru’s strikes being tied to shoulder buttons imply it’s simple to wrap your head round. When you’ve gotten the cling of it, you may rapidly end up in an unlimited discipline of souls ready to be bonked. Activating the chain combo on large numbers of souls without delay is extremely satisfying, at all times ending in a dramatic slow-motion zoom.
When not in fight, Kisejima is free so that you can discover, the place you may take within the sport’s ambiance at your leisure. Visually, ONI: Highway to Be the Mightiest Oni is straightforward, but efficient. Character designs are expressive and charming, all coupled with some glorious animation. Kuuta working across the island on his little legs as he lugs all his possessions on his again is cute. In cutscenes, he’ll usually categorical himself with exaggerated actions and expressions that make him extraordinarily likable. The surroundings is attention-grabbing too, with rolling hills and forests mixed with magical floating rocks and different unusual parts that add a variety of visible aptitude.
It’s such a disgrace that there’s so little to do within the exploration components of the sport. You possibly can choose up collectibles, together with mushrooms that act as foreign money, or diary entries from earlier guests to the island. You can even acquire spirits, which may improve your well being if you may get them again to a save level with out being taken out by aggressive oni. Nevertheless, that’s typically all there’s to seek out, and the sport rapidly falls into repetition as you end up choosing these items up again and again with no actual variation.
The fight being separated into its personal pocket dimension provides to this sense too, as you may’t simply stumble right into a fight encounter whereas exploring. You must intentionally enter it. Development depends on finishing these encounters, which additionally are inclined to recycle a variety of the identical battle kinds. The sport does current a welcome break with a singular boss battle or two, however that is an occasional deal with slightly than the norm.
There are additionally occasions when fight encounters can really feel dragged out with moments the place you merely have to attend for an enemy to do one thing so that you can reply to. One boss, as an illustration, turned invincible and ran round in circles loads, whereas all I might do was watch and await it to finally reveal its weak spot.
The repetitive feeling isn’t helped by the soundtrack. There’s nothing particularly flawed with the tracks themselves, it’s simply that they not often belong to this sport or they’re utilized in a context the place they rapidly put on out their welcome. It typically sounds just like the Tetris Impact soundtrack acquired misplaced and wandered in by mistake. Now, I like the Tetris Impact soundtrack, however it fits trippy puzzle landscapes significantly better than it matches a collection of fight encounters, and that’s apparent right here.
It’s an actual disgrace that ONI: Highway to Be the Mightiest Oni is riddled with these issues, as there’s clearly a variety of love and care that’s been put into this sport. The storyline is usually glorious, as Kuuta meets a human girl named Kanna wandering the island, not sure how she acquired there. They befriend one another regardless of the variations between people and oni. These scenes are at all times delivered fantastically, with attention-grabbing visible results utilizing massive textual content representing Kuuta’s ideas.
The sport is certainly aiming to place an attention-grabbing new spin on an previous acquainted story, and it largely succeeds. It has loads to say in regards to the nature of wrestle and hatred, sprinkled in as you discover Kisejima. A few of the notes left by earlier fallen oni embody easy on a regular basis issues like buying lists, and small touches like this spotlight the ache that this supposed legendary hero has triggered. All that is then contrasted with Kanna, who’s variety and pleasant, and the alternative of how Kuuta has come to view people.
ONI: Highway to Be the Mightiest Oni is a messy, but clearly heartfelt, expertise. There’s a lot that’s worthwhile right here, between the beautiful visuals, attention-grabbing mechanics, and excellent storytelling, you simply should wade by way of a variety of samey content material to get to all of it. May be finest skilled in brief bursts.
ONI: Highway to Be the Mightiest Oni is offered for Nintendo Swap, PC and PlayStation 4 and 5.