Akaneiro: Demon Hunters
- Release Date: 2012
- Publisher: Spicy Horse
- Developer: Spicy Horse
- Genre: RPG
Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is a free to play action online RPG from Shanghai-based Spicy Horse. The game takes on the mix of Little Red Riding Hood – a European fairy tale- and The Lost Wolves of Japan -a book about Japanese history, literature and folklore.
In Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, players roles play as demon hunters in an attempt to purge a village that has long been haunted by Yokai (Ghosts or Demons). The Yokai ends up being massacred in the face of the real Demon Hunters and ultimately the blood of the dead yokai turned into “Karma Shards”.
Along the way to explore the dark fantasy demon village, players will encounter oddly-formed demons and monsters that can be seen from Alice: Madness Returns.
Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is an action RPG from Spicy Horse behind titles such as Crazy Fairies and BigHead Bash. In the game, players take the role of demon hunters who are tasted to protect a monster-haunted village from the attacks of Yokai, or the very monsters that are causing trouble.
Set in ancient Japan, the game offers an exotic atmosphere with the original hand-painted pictures and traditional Japanese music. With the soundtrack of some traditional Japanese music, players are immersed into a Japanese style dark fantasy world as if they’ve traveled back to the ancient Japan hundreds of years ago when heroes are supposed to take up bayonets and protect their fellow countrymen.
Although Akaneiro presents an unprecedented hand-painted world, it only offers normal gameplay that doesn’t quite match up with the gorgeous pictures. Players move the avatars across the village and communicate with different NPCs to accept missions, purchase skills or gear, sell items or summon Spirit Helpers. The missions only keep players visiting neighboring villages or other places, known as dungeons in most RPGs, where hordes of wolves and other Yokais appear in threes and fours and players have to kill all the monsters and the boss before they could leave the dungeons and complete the missions.
Killing Yokais and sometimes cutting the barrels and cases into pieces will bring Karma shards, or the sole currency used in Akaneiro. With enough Karma shards, players can summon theri favorite Spirit Helpers, which can be used to boost the stats, purchase new skills, buy new weapons and armors, and even resurrect and restore to full health after being killed during explorations. The dependence on the Karma shards enhances the playability – you can always play along as long as you like – but at the same time, it also necessitates grinding. To level up the avatar or obtain desired skills or items, players will always have to visit or revisit dungeons for a few times.
Controls in Akaneiro are very handy: left click to move the avatar, press corresponding numeric keys to unleash skills, and double click to equip a gear. It only takes a minute or so before an experienced role-playing gamer could master all the mouse and keyboard controls.
But there is also something frustrating in the controls. Since the pictures are in 3D but the game wouldn’t allow for perspective changes, players can only watch the interface from a predetermined angle and sometimes the monsters are not observable from the set angle. Also when you hammer a barrel or a chest to obtain whatever within it, you might find it difficult to pick up the drops since there are obstacles, for example, the chest that is now empty, or in other cases because the item just falls under something you cannot move.
It is appreciated when an utterly unique story and new world are introduced into the game, and it will be more welcomed if the developers could make more unique contents as far as gameplay is concerned.
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