By – Thomas Faust

onikira review

Onikira, a 2D hack and slash game by Irish developers, Digital Furnace, has you slicing and dicing your way through ancient, demon-infested Japan. Heavily inspired by similar action games such as Devil May Cry, Onimusha, and Shank, it doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table. However, development so far has been more than promising, and the gameplay basics are in place and rather solid. Onikira is quite obviously made by a small team and also still in Early Access, so the game has more than its fair share of issues right now. So far it is rather satisfying, though, and that’s a good foundation to build upon.

You’re playing as Jiro, a samurai armed with a sharp blade and a foul mood. Demons have overrun your generic Japanese city, so it’s obviously time to hack them into little pieces! Your mobility is your greatest asset, and dashing to and fro while attacking demon spawn is what you’ll be doing most of the time. More weapons and the ability to absorb your enemies’ souls further complement your arsenal and lead to intense skirmishes. However, it’s not all just whack-a-demon, as there are a couple of neat ideas interspersed with the carnage.

Fighting on a crumbling bridge, escaping from a burning building, and using both the environment and your enemies’ weapons against your foes are just some of the little highlights to be found in Onikira. Pattern-based boss fights round off the large levels, and while they could be a little more impressive, they show that the developers certainly know their genre conventions. Obviously, production values are not that high, and the game feels a little rough around the edges, but Onikira is not an AAA title, and you should be well aware of what you’re buying into.

onikira review

Sadly, there are some technical issues marring the overall experience. For starters, the game wouldn’t even boot on my laptop due to a conflict with its two GPUs. If your system has an integrated Intel graphics chip, there’s generally not much you can do, but it should have worked on the other GPU, a Radeon HD 8670M. I encountered no such problems on my desktop PC, but after a while a memory leak led to heavy stuttering and made the game unplayable.

I reckon that these issues will get taken care of along the way, but the game is obviously not quite there yet and those problems might impact your enjoyment at the moment. Sadly, the rate of updates seems to be somewhat slow, and ever since the game entered Early Access there hasn’t been that much development. However, making games takes a while and Digital Furnace are pretty responsive and active in the Steam forums, so there shouldn’t be any cause for concern. Another issue worth mentioning is that Onikira is one of those games that basically require a gamepad. Keyboard controls feel a lot less responsive, which can all too quickly lead to frustration.

Is It Worth Your Money?

Ultimately, for the $10 price tag you already get a good slice of what is shaping up to be a solid action game. Technical issues and the slow rate of game updates prevent me from fully recommending the purchase right now. 25% of the planned content is already implemented, and the game is still labeled as alpha version, so you should expect development to take a while. However, if Digital Furnace keep at it, Onikira might become a good action game worthy of its lineage.

Onikira: Demon Killer Technical Summary

onikira review

  • Time Played – 3 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – Memory leaks, crashes on laptops with integrated Intel GPUs
  • Control Scheme – Gamepad, Keyboard
  • DRM – Steamworks
  • System Specs – 3.5Ghz AMD FX-6300, Radeon R9 270X, 8GB RAM
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
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