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Platinum goes mobile for new character action game, World of Demons

World of Demons is coming to Android and iOS

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

PlatinumGames is taking its brand of intense action games to touchscreen devices with a new title, World of Demons, developed in cooperation with mobile company DeNA. The goal, according to the game’s creators, is to bring the hack-and-slash style of games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry to touchscreens.

World of Demons is the result of three years of work and prototyping from PlatinumGames, DeNA producer and product manager Andrew Szymanski told Polygon during a demo of the game last month. The character action game looks just as responsive as Platinum’s other character action games, though it uses a simplified control scheme suitable for touch-based devices. The developers promise “no compromises, and no dumbing down due to the platform.”

In World of Demons, players will assume the role of samurai as they battle oni and yokai — supernatural monsters and spirits drawn from Japanese folklore. Three playable samurai will be available at the game’s launch along with more than 80 yokai that players can battle and then collect as minions that can be summoned in-game.

Combat in World of Demons is streamlined to work with touch-based controls. Players need only move toward an enemy to attack it; the samurai will automatically attack with a series of combos. But players can also dodge enemy attacks with a swipe of the screen, and parry attacks. Interrupting attack animations at just the right time is key to success in combat.

Sayo and Onimaru, two of the playable characters in World of Demons

Each character comes with its own finishing move based on the weapon they have equipped. At the right time, players will need to paint a symbol onscreen — a la Okami — to execute that killing blow.

Adding to the complexity of combat are the yokai minions that players can bring to battle. Samurai can equip up to three at a time, and each yokai has its own special ability and elemental attribute. For example, one yokai might do an ice-based area of effect attack, while a wind-based yokai can fire a projectile at foes. Yokai also provide stat boosts and can be combined with each other to strengthen them.

Acquiring yokai for your army of monsters and spirits is a matter of both luck and skill. The more difficult a mission is, the better chance you’ll have to receive a new yokai minion (or a big boss monster yokai) upon completing it.

Ushioni, a yokai from World of Demons

World of Demons is free-to-play, so naturally there is an in-game currency that players can earn or buy with real-world money to acquire more yokai. A shrine maiden will offer a random drop and a maneki-neko (aka beckoning cat) will give players buffs that net them more currency or better luck with drops.

Platinum is delivering a variety of game modes with its first mobile effort, including daily challenges against AI-controlled monsters and a mission-based story mode, as well as asynchronous player-versus-player. Players can also summon friends to aid them in battle if they’re connected via Facebook.

Not only is World of Demons Platinum’s first mobile game — the studio is also working on Lost Order with Cygames — it’s also the developer’s first live service game. Szymanski said additional samurai and yokai will be added over time.

World of Demons looks spectacular. Platinum based the game’s visuals on traditional Japanese ink painting and woodblock prints; it’s more muted than Okami, from PlatinumGames progenitor Clover Studios. The game’s yokai range from cute to terrifying, from low-level kappas to larger bosses like the Ushi-oni “ox demon,” but all are beautifully rendered.

World of Demons appears to be a smart combination of PlatinumGames-style action, Pokémon-style monster collecting and deep upgrade and customization options, all dangerously paired with mobile gacha elements. I can’t wait.

DeNA and PlatinumGames plan to release World of Demons this summer. The game will come to iOS first, with an Android version arriving a bit later. Interested players can preregister for the game at World of Demons’ website.

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