When a developer attempts to take on a new genre, to go out with old and in with the new, it’s a daring move to make. On one hand, stepping into something new could end up going well as fans appreciate the new direction that the developer decided to take. But, on the other hand, the end result might leave fans disappointed and maybe even be worried about future games.
This all comes into play with Tokyo RPG Factory’s upcoming action-RPG, Oninaki. Tokyo RPG Factory’s previous two titles, Lost Sphear and I Am Setsuna, were and are still well-known for taking players back to the days of classic turn-based JRPGs, like Chrono Trigger. With Oninaki, though, the developer has not only decided to step away from the tried-and-true turn-based battle system, but they actually ended up crafting a vastly different JRPG that many fans of the genre will undoubtedly enjoy as it truly enthralls players into its two worlds.
Oninaki follows Kagachi, a young Watcher who, as a Watcher, has a sacred duty to usher wandering souls, known as the Lost, into the next world, the Beyond. With the Lost, there’s no way for them to be reborn as humans, yet there are times when they seek salvation in death and are left astray which is where Watchers come in to help out. The true goal for Kagachi, and fellow Watchers, is to serve as keepers of two worlds, the Living World and the Beyond. Without spoiling anything story-wise, you’ll meet multiple characters, both alive and dead, over the course of a dark yet rewarding adventure that explores the meaning of life and death.
Given that Oninaki marks a new direction for Tokyo RPG Factory, it’s a game that is ultimately a unique rebirth for the developer. With this in mind, the developer has expertly ingrained the overall theme of reincarnation into all aspects of Oninaki, from its action-centric battle system to its interesting cast of characters, that’ll make it such a captivating journey to be a part of. When I was playing, there was never a time that I wanted to stop exploring, to switch between both of its worlds, to fight deadly enemies in the way, and to meet every character along the way. Like how the Watchers handle the Lost in the game, Oninaki captured my heart and soul.
The fast-paced, real-time Daemon battle system is a perfect example of how the game never diverts from its core ideology. As Kagachi, players have the power to bond and harness the power of Daemons, special types of souls that could not be reincarnated, damned or banished — who also have no memory of their past. Daemons are vital to use as different Daemons serve as various weapon types that carry distinct abilities and skills that can be used in the heat of battle. Rather than having to stick to one Daemon, players have the power to switch between Daemons in real-time during battle, which lets you adjust your playstyle at any time. The battle system is enjoyable and encourages players to think outside the box, but the main catch with it is how it seamlessly ties together with what Oninaki captures: the cycle of reincarnation — making it all the more riveting than I thought it would be.
This leads to me share that, even for my brief time with the game, playing Oninaki was the most pleasant and unexpected surprise I’ve had this year. What will make Oninaki so special for all players is that it’ll immediately and continuously capture your attention at all times due to all of its bits and pieces that come together to form two utterly mesmerizing worlds to be in.
I was immensely impressed with how the game drew me in, and its all thanks to its deep world-building. This isn’t going to be a typical JRPG, it’ll be known as Tokyo RPG Factory’s magnum opus. For all fans of JRPGs, you should definitely want to explore Oninaki when it releases on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC-via Steam on August 22.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.