Publisher: PM Studio Inc
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 29/03/2022
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Ikai is set in feudal Japan, and you play as Naoko. She is a young priestess and her job is keeping the shrine safe against yokai that are trying to invade and destroy the local area. Naoko will need to use Ofuda to ward off evil.
The story in Ikai is fairly shallow. You go out to do chores; you are knocked out or collapse. When you wake up, something is not right. Upon returning to the shrine, Yokai and Oni have taken over and Naoko needs to banish them.
You control Naoko, in a first person view, a typical horror game style. You will walk or run around the shrine to find the curse objects, then use a Ofuda to purify it. There are plenty of simple puzzles to complete; except for the wall puzzle, that one made no sense at all.
As you search for the cured objects, there will be audible signals to guide you. Once found, you will get Naoko saying she needs to write a seal. To do this, Naoko will need to find specific tables to write. Holding X she can move her brush across the outline marked. It gets slightly more complicated, with slightly more complex seals and finding a light source. All the while contending with the Yokai getting closer to capture you. If you do get caught, you restart back just before the encounter, so you never really lose progress.
A Strange Place
In Ikai you will visit three areas, the shrine, underground and outside the shrine. These areas are not big or expansive, but they seem to drag. The underground section feels as if it goes on forever. I even held sprint down throughout the entire game and it still seemed to drag. It is as if the Kitsunebi played a trick on me as Ikai took just over two hours to finish.
Everything feels rushed but also drags. The pacing is awful, and due to how fast everything moves on, there is no horror. The scariest part of the entire game is the voice acting. It sounds like the voice actors are in a tin room and there is no emotion.
There were also a few instances of assets not having texture wraps. And subtitles flash on screen for a split second, making it impossible to know what’s been said as there was no voice over.
Overall, Ikai is just a poor game, nowhere near the worst game out there, but it just does not come together. Even with Yokai being a bit of a love for me, Ikai does not do them justice. It does nothing new and nothing well. It best of to ignore this one.