AMEDAMA is an interesting surprise from IzanagiGames and Acquire in the form of an pseudo-2D “soul-shifting” action game. I didn’t think too much of the soul-shifting mechanic following the initial reveal, but I was seriously pleased by its implementation in the newly released AMEDAMA demo, which was playable at Tokyo Game Show 2023. The demo is now available to all Steam users for free, and it completely sold me on what could be one of the most promising games from IzanagiGames and Acquire yet.
The story of AMEDAMA kicks off with Yushin, a young swordsman, taking care of his sister Yui at their umbrella shop in Edo period Japan. Their peace is short-lived as a group of bandits attempt to kidnap Yui. The brother and sister duo attempt to outrun them, but Yushin is forced into combat. Yushin is proficient with his blade, but he still gets outnumbered by the bandits. Yushin is killed as he watches Yui get kidnapped, but his death does not bring the finality that he expected.
AMEDAMA Demo – Control the Soul
After dying, Yushin is surprised to be in control of his ethereal self—his very soul. This is when the soul-shifting mechanic of AMEDAMA is introduced. Yushin is able to take control of people and animals that have fainted or died while pursuing Yui and the kidnappers. Yushin’s very first soul-shift involves a frog since it was nearby, but he will be able to take over the bodies of samurai and bandits after heading back into town. Moreover, Yushin may level up and carry over his fighting prowess and money while soul-shifting, so the game does have RPG elements to that extent.
Combat in AMEDAMA is relatively straightforward, but I had a great time cutting down enemies since Yushin is very nimble and has a great counter mechanic. By holding down the counter button, Yushin is able to prepare a strike that deals tremendous damage. This counter will drain Yushin’s stamina, so players must be careful to not expend the entire meter in battle. In addition, fighting styles and stats vary depending on the body that Yushin inhabits, and defeating enemies will drain the soul count that’s present with the body. Once the soul count nears zero, Yushin will need to inhabit another body to continue his journey.
The Seven Day Cycle
AMEDAMA’s premise is simple as Yushin attempts to reconnect with his sister and defeat the kidnappers, but the story took some interesting twists in the demo. For a major of the AMEDAMA demo, players control Yushin during the first seven day cycle. His soul must repeat the same seven day period before his reincarnation, so he needs to find Yui before time runs out. Yushin is frantic in his search for Yui, so he ultimately comes to a dead end after finding out that the kidnapping is just a piece of a larger plot that’s in motion. Once the seven day arrived, Yushin loses control of the possessed body and gathers his thoughts before returning to the first day—the day of his death.
Once the cycle begins anew, Yushin will approach the week differently by pursuing other clues. Since the cycle is repeated, the people Yushin has killed will be brought back to life, and players may immediately control them after encountering them again. AMEDAMA begins to place emphasis on who Yushin should soul-shift into since it may determine access to different areas and the ability to speak with other NPCs. For example, a certain character becomes accessible after the first week resets, allowing Yushin to gain additional insight on what’s happening with the Kirikumo clan. I found this to be very interesting in the demo, and I’m exciting to see how soul-shifting really comes into the play in the full game.
AMEDAMA is Very Promising
The AMEDAMA demo is an encouraging first look, and I’m excited to play even more in the future. This bite-sized experience only took an hour to complete, so I greatly appreciate how much it offers in so little time. The only downsides of the demo are the lack of voice acting and a full-screen mode on PC, but the former is completely subjective. Full-screen will most likely be available in the full release of AMEDAMA, and save data from the demo thankfully transfers over. Overall, IzanagiGames and Acquire’s AMEDAMA is a really impressive and promising game, and you definitely want to give this demo a shot.
AMEDAMA is coming soon to PC via Steam, so stay tuned at Final Weapon for more news and updates.