A look at ONINAKI’s Daemon-based battle system

Want to know how ONINAKI plays? We dive into the combat and customization systems
By Duncan Heaney

We’re now only a few weeks away from the release of ONINAKI. The action RPG releases on August 22 for Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Steam.

It tells the story of Kagachi - a young Watcher with the task of guiding Lost Souls from one world to the next. A chance meeting with a girl called Linne sets him off on a journey of discovery full off interesting characters, drama and exciting combat.

And that battle system is the thing we want to highlight here, because we know some of you have been wondering - how does OKINAKI actually play?

This video runs through the basic mechanics - take a look, and then we’ll dig a bit deeper:

What are Daemons and how do they help in battle?

Kagachi can handle a sword, but everyone needs a bit of back-up in battle. For our Watcher hero, this comes in the form of Daemons.

Daemons are the powerful spirits of people who have died. They aid Watchers in shepherding the dead by dramatically increasing their combat capabilities.

In terms of gameplay, Kagachi can bind up to four Daemons at a time, and switch them freely. Each one gives him unique abilities - for example, Aisha allows him to dodge through enemies with a stylish dash, while Wil can set up a defensive wall to block attacks.

But here’s the rub: you can only use one Daemon at a time, and it won’t suit every combat scenario. You’ll have to consider your options carefully when setting up your character, and be prepared to shift between them strategically to match the changing conditions in battle.

It’s a system that offers up a lot of tactical possibilities from the get-go, but you can expand their capabilities too for even more options. As you battle, you’ll acquire soulstones - you can use these to unlock additional skills for your Daemons, making them even more effective in combat.

Which Daemons are in the game?

Look, we’re not going to tell you everything because… well, spoilers would ruin the fun. But we can give you a sneak peek at some of the interesting (and useful) personalities you can call on.

Like Gavod, for example. He comes equipped with powerful Shieldcannons, which let you unleash devastating cannon blasts on enemies at close range. Or Izana, whose skills with a scythe let her tear through mobs of enemies likes she’s harvesting wheat.

There’s more too - take a look at some of the other Daemons you can look forward to using:

You still have weapons, right?

As fun and useful as Daemons are, you can’t discount the value of a good old fashioned sword. Or axe. Or crossbow.

You’ll pick up new weapons from defeated enemies or inside chests - it’s always satisfying when you find one that makes you a more effective warrior. But finding a weapon is only the beginning - you can also improve it.

A quick trip to the Alchemist lets you transmute and upgrade your armory - you can use weapons don’t need or want to improve your preferred tools of destruction.

And yet there’s even more customizability available…

The satisfaction of socketing shadestones

As you play ONINAKI, you’ll collect shadestones. These useful items can be socketed into weapons to imbue them with additional effects.

Shadestones do all kinds of funky things, from adding simple buffs like increasing attack power (always useful!) to interesting risk/reward states, like taking a big hit to your defense to boost damage output.

You’ll only be able to add a certain of number of shadestones to each weapon, which adds another layer of strategy onto the already entertaining combat. It’s great fun to mess around with different setups - we’re looking forward to seeing what builds players come up with.

When is ONINAKI out?

ONINAKI launches for Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Steam on August 22, 2019. It’s available to preorder now digitally - with 10% off until launch.

There are also preorder bonuses for each platform: