Oninaki Review

August 23, 2019
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It can be a lot of fun beating up mean ghosts while possessed by helpful ghosts to eventually free wayward ghosts from their earthly attachments, as I discovered in Oninaki’s stylish action RPG world. Some of the basics of combat feel a bit too clunky and repetitive for it to ascend all the way to the heavens, but the mature storytelling, captivating art, and excellent music had me wanting to stick around like an unfulfilled spectre.

While Oninaki’s art style comes across as almost childlike, it works in service of a story that explores lots of deep, dark questions about death, uncertainty, and how we cope with those things. You play as a Watcher, a sort of morally ambiguous ghost cop responsible for making sure departed souls re-enter the cycle of reincarnation rather than hanging around as shadows of their former selves in the spirit world. Sometimes this means going as far as executing someone who can’t let go of the deceased so they can both be at peace, setting a clear tone early on that your journey is going to take you to some disturbing, thought-provoking places.

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