The Average Gamer

Onikira: Demon Killer Preview (PC)

Onikira - Enemies Flying
Last month I spent St Patrick’s Day playing through games made by Irish developers. One of the stand-outs was Onikira – Demon Killer, a side-scrolling melee game influenced by Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, Guacamelee and more. I spoke with Andrea Magnorsky, co-founder and programmer at Digital Furnace about the game, which was previously known as Honourbound.

“When we first started out making Onikira, there was an effort to tie a lot of the game’s design and backstory into actual historical events of Japan,” said Magnorsky. “As time wore on, and as the game’s mechanics grew more bombastic and over the top, the realistic aspects of the world we were trying to build were becoming too difficult to reconcile with real-world explanations. Dragons pretty quickly became a catch-all justification for the other-worldly aspects of our game.

“Following this shift in tone – or more likely prompting it – the game’s original character animator, Tom Mathews, began developing some really brilliant character concepts that perfectly reflected the kind of game that we wanted to build. Everything followed these designs in terms of the game’s art style.”

Onikira - First BossThe game itself is brutally unforgiving in its Early Access state, but yet fair and enjoyable. The current build features four different weapons: the basic Katana that you start with; Kama Blades – a fast pair of blades that keep you highly manoeuvrable for fast attacks; the Naginata – a long pole weapon that sweeps enemies high into the air; and the Tetsubo – a slow, heavy club that slams down onto your victims.

The key to success is juggling your enemies in the air, hot-swapping between weapon types and timing your dodges carefully. You’re invincible while you dodge, which is pretty much the only way to survive boss battles and the plethora of enemies that will spawn in a very small battle area. For a relative melee novice like myself, the game does a great job of teaching you the basics before throwing you into battle to get good quickly or die.

Since my main hands-on preview, Digital Furnace have pushed out an update with a new enemy, new level and improvements to other aspects. The Naginata now features a ranged fireball attack and a few deadly environmental changes will keep you on your toes. The game is still pretty rough around the edges but the variety of attacks and enemies is promising.

Onikira: Demon Killer is available now on Steam Early Access.