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Onigo Hunter Review

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It is that time again – the stars have aligned and the conditions are just right for a brand new KEMCO game, a new retro styled JRPG to appear on the scene. The title in question this time goes by the name of Onigo Hunter, and without wishing to give away too much of the plot, it appears that someone at KEMCO HQ has been playing Pokemon, and thought that they could give it a go. Onigo Hunter is the result, and so the scene is set for an adventure to begin. Come with me then as we take on some creatures and try to catch ‘em all!

Now, as you’d expect if you have ever played a KEMCO game before, the style of the graphics and presentation are very, very familiar. In fact, whenever I have to review one of these games, they are just called “Asdivine games”, as they are all pretty interchangeable. 

onigo hunter review 1
Onigo Hunter will test your skills

Onigo Hunter is a retro styled game, with cute pixelated graphics depicting the heroes that we gather around us on our journey. The areas we explore are varied, being based on a series of islands with different biomes, and while the creatures are all identical, the way they have been coloured in seems to indicate their strength. For instance, an owl on the first island may be green and fall over if you give it a hard look, yet on later islands they are blue and rock hard. It feels like a somewhat lazy design process, to be fair. 

Sound is all perfectly agreeable as well, with lots of stirring music to get involved in. The usual sounds of battle all take place here as well. As per usual, the story is presented in static speech bubbles, and so the world of Onigo Hunter is very much business as usual. 

How about a story then, some narrative as to why we are roaming around? Well, we are Fain, an Onigo Hunter, and as the game opens we are a bit of a noob; a very low level and limited in the places we can go to. 

At the Guild, the place that organises jobs for hunters, we come across Lumiere, the obligatory princess, and her butler, Sebastian. He isn’t a crab with a cool accent, sadly. Princess Lumiere’s father, King Haron, has disappeared while opening some ruins. She wants to hire us to go and find him. 

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, as is usual in a KEMCO game, there are many a twist in the story before we can find out what is going on. This involves a full cast of goodies, baddies and other party members to recruit, but no spoilers here. Suffice it to say that what sounds like an easy job really isn’t!

onigo hunter review 2
Standard KEMCO fare?

So, is there a variety of massive differences from the rest of the KEMCO games that we have all played? Well, no is the short answer, while the slightly longer answer is “yes, but not enormous”. 

Onigo Hunter itself is played out as a standard KEMCO JRPG, with the exception that there is no world map. Instead you pick where you want to go from a kind of overworld map view, and once you are in the location, then there is a standard kind of dungeon/map to explore. As we wander around, we are jumped by various wild creatures, and this leads into combat, which is where one of the first differences appears. 

Actual combat is the same as always – choosing to use weapon attacks, skills or items against the foes, or deciding to defend if you have nothing to add to the offense. The difference comes in the creature health bars, shown on the left of the screen. As you attack and whittle down their health, a light next to the health bar goes from green, to amber, to red, and when the light is red, the creature is primed to be captured. 

Each character has a capture skill that they can use to accomplish this, and there are also items you can throw to capture the Onigo you are fighting. If you manage it, the Onigo is stored somewhere and the fight carries on until all foes are dead or prisoners. There is more than a whiff of Pokemon about things; even the need to get the health low before capturing is a clear nod in the seminal games series direction. 

You can also set traps for the Onigo, and this is the only way to capture certain beasts of the wild, as they are unlikely to appear in a random battle. You can choose different sizes of trap, and different baits to put in them, and this will influence what kind of Onigo turns up. Of course, once it is trapped, you still have to beat it down before you can capture it. 

onigo hunter review 3
It’s not just about the combat, you’ll have to catch them too.

So, once you have captured these Onigo, what then? Well, in a move not seen in Pokemon, you can fuse the creatures together to create new items, weapons and armour for your characters. That is about the sum total of it, apart from trying your best to complete the Monster Catalogue by capturing all the Onigos in the world. Even bosses can be caught, so you’ll want to try your best to catch ‘em all!

There are a variety of things to do besides the main story missions, and quests can be picked up at the Guild at any time. These can be simple, such as killing x amount of a certain Onigo, or slightly trickier, requiring you either capture some Onigo or find certain items somewhere on an island. Completing quests will raise your hunter rank, and with higher rank comes higher rewards, so it is worth doing. Obviously, catching stronger monsters lets you make better gear and so on, so it all feeds back on itself. 

All in all, Onigo Hunter is a KEMCO game and if you’ve played any of those previously, you’ll know what to expect here. There is the good stuff, like the capture and crafting system, and the tedious stuff, like the seemingly endless toing and froing to complete the main quest. Onigo Hunter does just enough to earn a recommendation, mostly as the Monster Catalogue idea is pretty compelling, and catching all of the Onigo will take some time.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Interesting capture and crafting system
  • Characters aren’t entirely detestable
  • Lots of things to catch
Cons:
  • A host of backtracking
  • Can get tedious in the middle section
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - KEMCO
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 26 May 2023 | £12.49
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Interesting capture and crafting system<li> <li>Characters aren’t entirely detestable</li> <li>Lots of things to catch</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>A host of backtracking</li> <li>Can get tedious in the middle section</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - KEMCO</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 26 May 2023 | £12.49</li> </ul>Onigo Hunter Review
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