Oni: Road to the Mightiest Oni is an indie title that seems like an interesting game at first sight. On display is some beautiful art, decent graphics and gameplay that piqued my interest. It has an artsy vibe and some interesting ideas. Reading the reviews on the steam page suggests the game has some performance and frame rate issues. Since my main way of playing non-cloud games is Shadow PC for the time being, I figured, I have a powerful cloud machine on hand here. Surely I won’t have to worry about that? Also, I’m not someone who shies away from low frame rates. And when playing, I’ve not had many issues with performance! Read on for our Oni: Road to the Mightiest Oni review.
A collection of decent ideas
However, upon starting the game for the first time, it quickly became apparent that this game is a collection of decent ideas that don’t quite fit together. The implementation of them also leaves a lot to be desired. I couldn’t actually bring myself to finish the game, but by powering through I’ve eventually managed to get enough time under my wings to write this review.
But in a classic case of Good News Bad News, let’s begin with the positives!Firstly, the game has some amazing UI art elements. They really play well into the theme of the game and some of them are just plain gorgeous. Secondly, the graphics and art style looks quite decent. And third, the combat is initially quite intuitive.
The end of the good news
That’s unfortunately the end of the good news. Because while the art looks amazing, they are such high quality it makes the rest of the game feel more lackluster than before. It is also quite varied in quality. Some elements are decent at best, making the difference between the amazing and decent very apparent. And while the graphics are fine, it gets old fast. There is very little variation and parts of the slowly growing open world area is just empty.
I mentioned combat feeling intuitive. You have a standard attack, you can hold it for a powerful Area of Effect and you can dodge. Upon defeating an enemy, you can suck up the soul by hitting the B key on my Xbox controller layout. If you have defeated multiple enemies, you can spam B to teleport between the fallen foes and get a combo. If you don’t do this within a short time, they come back again. Meaning you’ll have to defeat enemies at once, in waves, if you want to get high scores. That’s however the only reason to score those combos. Because combat in Oni: Road to the Mightiest Oni is limited to “Combat Levels” which play like a small Arena out in the open world with magical invisible walls keeping you in. There’s no benefit other than trying to get a high number.
This means you run between these levels doing basically nothing at first. After a while you get access to a merchant who accepts mushrooms as the currency. These mushrooms can be found on the map. It’s a tedious and boring task to run around looking for them and finally get enough mushrooms to upgrade your gear. A bit further in, you unlock an ability to find hidden spirits. Catch them and bring them back to an NPC. For each 4 spirits, your max health increases with 1. This is made a little bit more interesting by a big angry spirit chasing you every now and then while collecting. Since all you can do against him is a slow dodge maneuver (not the same as in combat), it’s not that much better than the otherwise tedious tasks.
Furthermore the controls for guiding your sidekick to catch these spirits and perform advanced actions in combat is just clunky and counter intuitive. The end result is a gameplay loop of going level to level until the encounters become annoying or too hard, then doing boring and repetitive tasks in the semi-open world to increase your stats and then repeat. The game never starts to be fun. It starts out slow and weak and gains traction only in the places where it doesn’t help with the fun.
Little to no story
This could all have been acceptable if there was an interesting and engaging story to be explored alongside it. But that is just as incoherent as the gameplay. There’s a story, but it failed to interest me from the first cutscene and never managed to capture my attention after that. It’s an abstract one at that too, with traces hidden around the map that never make much sense.
Audio wise, the sound effects are passable but the soundtrack just doesn’t fit. It’s a slow, mediocre, singer songwriter song with lyrics that is about 5 minutes long and repeats. It feels glaringly out of place in a game that isn’t even coherent.
The end result is a game that, while it runs great on my Shadow PC with a Power upgrade, struggles with performance issues on a lot of hardware. It isn’t fun or coherent in its theme. Anything that looks good at first glance, has nothing to keep you in for more than a few minutes.
It feels like a passion project where direction, thematic overview, project overview and testing of aspects just wasn’t there. The whole experience of fun just wasn’t there. I don’t believe any game developer wants to make a bad game. But that’s what Oni: Road to the Mightiest Oni ended up being. It’s unfortunate. Instead of nitpicking things to improve for this review, I had to be nitpicking for positives. That is telling. That was it for our Oni: Road to the Mightiest Oni Review.
- Runs OK on Shadow PC with their Power Upgrade
- UI looks REALLY good at times
- Bad controls for the unique gameplay elements
- What’s with the music?
We hope you found our Oni: Road to the Mightiest Oni Review informative. The review was made by DadPlaysGames. You can check out his channel by going here.