While we've seen Okamiden several times already since the last Tokyo Game Show and the game is set to come out this month in Japan, Capcom prepared another short demo so that we could play once again as the adorable duo Kuni and Chibiterasu. Made specifically for the Nintendo DS, Okamiden is not meant to be a direct sequel but was described to us by producer Motohide Eshiro as an extension of Okami, which will be taking the series in a new direction.
In this demo, the feisty Kuni and quiet Chibiterasu arrive at the Agata Forest, which has somehow been partially cursed and flooded. One of the locals we talked to seemed more concerned about his missing fishing equipment, so we agreed to help him find the missing six items. Okamiden is a mix of exploration and puzzle solving with the celestial brush. It also includes combat, which usually takes the form of brief encounters with enemies seen onscreen. To navigate through this swampy area, we had to use our magical brush with the powers that we currently had. By bringing up the palette with the L or R button, you use the stylus to circle or draw over the item with which you want to interact. Drawing a circle over a fallen tree will bring it miraculously back to life, and it will yield helpful goodies, such as delicious rice balls.
The rejuvenation power proved the most useful while we explored, as we came across a guardian sapling that had unfortunately lost all of its flowers in a nearby cave. With the power of our circular stroke, the sapling regained all of its leaves and blossomed as though it were the middle of spring. Because the main area we were in was now like a lake, littered with fallen logs, we had to find a way to cross and lift the curse that was keeping us at bay. Because we had revived the sapling, the curse was gone, so we were able to hop along to the other side of the large pond. Using our brush on yet-to-bloom lily pads, we eventually made it to the other side. Another useful power was the ability to draw cherry bombs. Similar to the rejuvenation power, when you draw a circle with a wick on the side, you'll plant a helpful bomb to clear any kind of debris. Other powers on hand included the ability to strike out boulders and other obstacles, as well as the power to restore a broken bridge by drawing in what was missing. We're sure that all of these things will come in handy at some point, but for now, we were focused on checking out the rest of the area.
Before making it too far to the other side, we noticed some smoke rising. Kuni insisted that we go take a look, preventing us from moving away from the area. We came across another human and puppy pair, but the guy was fishing for catfish (wonder where he got the equipment?) Unfortunately, before we could get the whole story, the demo ended abruptly. The quick tour did give us a better idea of how the exploration would work and how our powers had to be used to get past obstacles in certain areas. There were only a couple of brief enemy encounters, but those were easily handled by mashing the Y button. It was also fun to see more of the humorous interaction between Kuni and his "mutt."
We look forward to bringing you more news on Okamiden; however, it still doesn't have a set release date in North America. It is coming out sometime in 2011, so we'll have more on the game as soon as it becomes available.