Developed by Acquire and XSEED Games we have got this new adventure for the PS Vita called Sumioni: Demon Arts. With an Okami dejavu and a creative use of the hardware capabilities of the portable, this game takes us back to the ancient feudal Japan, fighting armies, mythical beasts and what not. Does this title have what it takes to keep you entertained? Let’s find out!
Sumioni takes us back to ancient Japan, as we take contol of this demon ink like character named Agura in a side scrolling game for the PS Vita. After years of slumber Agura wakes up to destroy an evil force in the ancient Japan.
Controls feel good, by using the left analog you can move, x to jump and square to attack, simple as that and without a big learning curve, simple pick up and play. Sumioni makes use of the touch-screen in a very creative way, by using your finger you can draw ink lines to help you kill enemies, avoid deadly traps, reach higher areas and so on. You can also delete your lines with your finger but they disappear by themselves after a time.
Ink is not infinite, you get ink jars as you destroy objects, enemies and overall everything in the enviroment, as well ying yang symbols.
Although you can’t lose time by stopping to destroy everything in your path as some stages require you to dash through it fast.
By using ink you can draw symbols and with them summon beasts to aid you in battle and unleash powerful attacks, but that is not all, by drawing over an enemy it can set the ink on fire, damaging monsters, something i’m in love with!
Ink is not the only weapon you have at your disposal, you can use water to delete ink or to put out fire to avoid damage, just like ink you use water with your finger, pretty handy.
The game has a ranking system by using stars from one (poor) to three (excellent). Obtaining three stars will unlock new paths to advance and progress to get one of six different endings. I will elaborate more on this below.
You will find yourself fighting giants, archers, soldiers and destroying fortifications and castles, some levels can get really tough giving the player a good challenge and that is always welcomed.
The graphics for Sumioni are delightful, specially if you like traditional Japanese art like that one well known scroll of the ancient Japan known as Sumi-e. Graphics are not bland blank and white but there are gorgeous and colorful backgrounds and effects, giving the game a very unique style. What else can we say but eye candy! Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!
Just like the art the music is a mix of both, traditional and catchy modern tunes with sounds that are so typical of the Japanese culture and they complement gameplay to perfection.
If any, Sumioni opening is composed of still images, although the art is pretty good all you see for over 3 minutes is an intro composed of images and lots, lots of text… usually I don’t mind but really this does not make you feel immersed or interested in the storyline that much, it can be quite boring.
Some bosses appear to be just upgraded versions of early bosses, more variety would have been beneficial in both variety and replay value, once you learn to defeat some of the early bosses, the improved versions are not so hard.
As amusing and interesting the use of ink can be, after a time you will find yourself using the same patterns or lines to move forward which tend to be repetitive after a while.
The stars system can be a real pain as you need to score perfect to unlock a new path, if you don’t do it you will never be able to see all the endings nor enjoy the full experience and this can lead to frustration. Nobody likes to finish a game under 25 minutes just because you can’t score perfect right?
Sumioni: Demon Arts although it’s not a excellent title, it is a good choice with interesting gameplay, if you own a Vita it’s worth to give it a try. This franchise promises a lot and maybe if they can improve and nail down their mistakes on this release they could bring us an amazing sequel.
Can’t say I hate the game as i’m in love with the art and the music, ingenious and creative ways to use the Vita hardware capabilities as i said before, but it was not the epic adventure I was hoping for. Download the demo and if you like it buy it, in the end you are the best judge.
We give the game an 8 out 10