There are a lot of ways to make a great game. Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society gets there with narrative, Hades is just a blast to play, with some being the whole package. With Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni they tried to make a charming action adventure title. With lovely artwork, calming music, and intense gameplay it has the potential to be something, but does it live up to it?
Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni starts with a brief introduction to the world. As you progress, more characters will be revealed as Kuuta’s world expands. Unfortunately, the narrative never really steps into the forefront. Often times it’s used as an excuse to introduce new mechanics, or trials that you need to complete.
Almost immediately Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni makes things feel tedious. Kuuta needs to run around a small segment of this island sectioned off by invisible walls to find three stones. Upon finding them enemies will appear throughout the section that initiate trials that Kuuta needs to overcome.
Initial missions are tutorials of the rather basic mechanics. Kuuta can run, dodge, swing a club, and destroy enemy spirits. Shortly after Kuuta will find Kazemaru, a spirit that can immediately incapacitate weak foes by drawing out their spirit to destroy. Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni makes this destruction rather simple by allowing Kuuta to quickly move between all foes to finish them off, a feature we also saw in Wanted: Dead and loved.
Yes, Yes I Can.
Shortly after fights will become slightly more complicated, with foes able to withstand Kazemaru’s powers. This would be fine if combat had some level of depth. Between a shockingly poor AI and simplistic controls, these enemies shouldn’t offer much challenge.
Even bosses suffer from this as Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni doesn’t seem sure of what to do with them. The first boss, Komainu, is a beautiful creatures with strong flames, yet the mechanics are a joke. When it’s roaming around it will just take Kuuta’s attacks without fail. After a period of time it will enrage, though quickly sending Kazemaru over there can stun it, preventing the boss from ever actually attacking. Choices like this make the earlier parts a slog, even if it gets better overtime.
This Goofy Guy is About to Die
Mission variety has the same core issue. Defeating enemies isn’t a challenge, be it strong or weak, they will die with little effort. The only thing that will realistically trip you up are escort/protection missions, and even that is more due to poor enemy spawns than challenging mechanics.
Oddly enough missions lack any incentive to bother with them multiple times. Not only is there a lack of leaderboard, you don’t even get graded based off performance. All of this makes everything forgettable, underwhelming, and limits any further replay value. Especially since any clear is good enough for the platinum.
Even when Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni tries to change things up, it does so in a frustrating way. Going back to the boss, Komainu, you need to increase your hearts to challenge them. This is done by running around waiting for a flame to appear above Kazemaru. When this occurs you’ll be able to find a spirit that can be used to increase your health.
After collecting spirits there is a chance to spawn a boss that can not be defeated. This is poorly explained, but you basically need to get the spirits to the vender to make it go away. It’s not hard, just extremely tedious, much like finding the spirits. Failing to escape him will also revert progress, making it important to do.
Among the oddest choices is giving the overworld a vocal track. Since it can be played on a seemingly endless loop, you’ll hear the same song play ad nauseam. In fact, it reminds me a lot of The Surge, which suffered from the same issue. I actually liked the song a lot, not as much as Catherine‘s long vocal track, though it will wear thin overtime.
How Does This Cause Lag on PlayStation 5?
Perhaps the most unusual thing about Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni are the performance issues. Smaller developers typically have these issues, but it’s surprising that the overworld can lag from just grass blowing in the wind. These problems should simply not be present on a game like this while playing on PlayStation 5.
Despite all the bad there are some redeeming elements. Unlockable costumes are becoming increasingly uncommon, so that is great to see in Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni. The artwork is also really nice and soothing. Even the enemies have a fairly charming look to them. It would be nice to see more variety, but what they did they did well.
Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni Review Verdict
Simply put, I am not exactly sure who Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni is meant for. Once you get past the charm it’s a very simple game that feels like a slog to play. Everything manages to feel pointless, and like a time sink, that it’s possible to get turned off in moments. Faster, or at least more engaging combat would go far, yet in its current package it’s just a weak offering.
[Editor’s Note: Oni: Road to be the Mightiest Oni was reviewed on PlayStation 5, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]