Onigiri was released in Japan last year, and now it’s finally available in North America. Though you could technically access the game from any Xbox One in the world by changing the system settings, it wasn’t very useful unless you can speak Japanese. After playing the Japanese version for a bit, I couldn’t wait for the game to launch in North America. The Xbox One version launched on October 2, and the PlayStation 4 version will go live on October 6. Now, let me tell you why you should be excited for Onigiri.
In Onigiri, you’ll be playing as an Oni – a type of yōkai from Japanese legend. Oni are generally seen as demons, devils, or other unpleasant creatures. Luckily, the Oni that you’ll be playing as (and the NPC Oni) in Onigiri aren’t very scary. When the game starts up, you’ll have an opportunity to create your character – you can pick a body type, a facial preset, a set of clothing, a hair style, a set of horns (I guess I should have mentioned that Oni have horns), and a voice. You’ll also get to choose a stat loadout – Power, Vitality, Wisdom, Mind, and Dexterity are the five stats that are most important. Each loadout has a different focus. Some focus on magic attacks, and others on quick melee attacks. Though you’ll definitely want to think about what kind of play style you’re going to want to use before you choose, feel free to pick whichever one you want, because you will be able to boost your stats in-game when you level up.
I prioritized Dexterity when I started, because I really wanted to play most of the game with dual swords (because they’re awesome). I plan on making a mage character, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet – mostly because Onigiri gives you a lot of freedom when upgrading your character. My Dexterity-heavy character is best at dual swords, but she can pack a punch with a battleaxe or fire off a healing spell with a staff if she needs to. Switching weapons is quick and easy, and the same goes for special, strong attacks that can be upgraded and changed. As you make friends with NPC, you’ll be able to upgrade, smith, craft, and repair your weapons. There’s also a social system that makes talking with your friends worthwhile – giving presents and having conversations can lead to quests, so it doesn’t feel like a pointless waste of time to spend time with your NPC friends. You also have a lot of ways to connect with other players, too! You can check out a list of the players on your server and send buddy requests, or you can start a matchmaking process that’ll set you up with a party to grind, quest, or just have fun clearing dungeons. The dungeons, by the way, are a lot of fun. Whether you’re playing on normal, hard, or hell mode, destroying yōkai, finding loot, leveling up, and creating exciting new stories with your friends never gets old. The art style is really cool, and each yōkai has its own personality that makes discovering new enemies really fun.
Since the game launched, I’ve been playing it quite a bit. If I’m not working, studying, or writing for the site, you can guarantee that I’m playing Onigiri. Though there’s an in-game shop that accepts real money, this free-to-play game never makes players feel forced to cough up real money. Items and upgrades are easily found in the game. Like I said, I’ve been playing Onigiri constantly, and I haven’t gotten bored or frustrated yet. There are some network connectivity stutters, but that’s to be expected in the early days of an MMORPG. This is one of the coolest games around, and if you’re a fan of the genre at all, it’s worth the free download. So boot up your console and download Onigiri – you’ll pop up in Onigashima, and I’ll see you there.