Developer: Digital Furnace Games
Publisher: Merge Games, Headup Games
Release Date: 11/14/14 (Early Access)
I kind of feel like an old man yelling at clouds for saying so, but I don’t understand Early Access games on Steam. I think it’s great if it’s useful for developers to help build their audience, however, I don’t see the appeal in playing an incomplete version of a game. I mention this because Onikira is an Early Access game that is far from complete, which I wasn’t aware of until I booted it up and the very first screen said it was the Alpha version.
Essentially, the game is a side scrolling action game; the best way I can describe the mechanics of the game is to say it feels like a 2D version of DmC, the recent western Devil May Cry game. Move from area to area, walls are put up to stop you, you fight enemies with light and strong attacks, and eventually get weapons that you can switch between by holding down one of the trigger buttons on an Xbox controller or holding both triggers down at once. As you fight enemies, a combo meter in the upper right hand corner will fill up with grade rankings. Graphically, the game already looks good, with an eastern inspired design with heavy ink outlines. There are some great looking animated backgrounds that scroll by.
While the game looks good and the solid combat mechanics show that the game looks like it will be a promising one once it is finished, the current build doesn’t do much to inspire confidence. It’s not optimized and crashed on me several times, sometimes ran smooth and other times with framerate stuttering. The level design could use some work, and there’s no gaining health that I could find aside from dying and restarting at a check point. No save system is present as far as I could tell, meaning I always had to start from the beginning. The level in the Alpha feels very much like a placeholder; you just run into additional weapons instead of there being any thoughtful context or ways of earning them. The battles don’t seemed designed to effectively require swapping weapons at this point, and just using the standard sword is perfectly fine. There’s no inherent gameplay loop present. The font needs to be fixed, as it currently overlaps. There’s multiple resolution settings, and yet the game wouldn’t allow me to switch to another. Sometimes starting the game sets the rumble in the controller off and it never stops.
At this point Onikira is a very rough game that shows a lot of promise, but that promise is a ways off from being fulfilled. Early Access will allow you to get a glimpse of the intent of what the game might someday become, but know before you spend your money that this is not at all close to a final product.