Review – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles (Switch)

First things first. The demons in Demon Slayer are vampires, not demons. Muzan Kibutsuji is anime Dracula, not anime Satan, and you can’t change my mind. Living for human blood, special blood powers, and transference of power through the blood of a sire? Vampire, and that’s that. Now, for the game with the longest name in history, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles. It’s an arena fighter based on the biggest breakout anime of the last few years. Massively popular anime, a legitimate blockbuster movie, this game needed to be more than a generic anime game, and CyberConnect2 delivered. The arena fighter combat is as slick and smooth as the show’s animation, but it’s the addition of a proper single-player Adventure Mode that makes this game unique.

The ultimate attacks are always exciting and striking, never losing the luster of pulling one off.

The thing about most anime games is that they’re made for established audiences. Which makes sense, bird in the hand and all that, but it often leads to underwhelming gaming experiences for everyone else. Even more ambitious games like Fairy Tail are still much better if you’re already a fan. It’s rare to find an anime game based on an established franchise that takes newcomers into consideration. And that’s something that sets Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles apart. As a matter of fact, I’d say it’s a perfectly acceptable place to start your Demon Slayer journey. It’s quite honestly the only anime game I’ve ever played that I would say that about.

The reason for this is Adventure Mode. It’s no standard story mode, which is usually just a chain of arena fights bridged with scenes from the anime. It’s a proper full blown campaign with open areas, beautiful in-engine cutscenes (with re-recorded voice-acting), and proper, honest to god boss fights. Fights against unique Adventure Mode-exclusive enemies, even. Now, it’s not perfect, to be clear, and is quite simple in a few ways. Areas are fairly linear, with secrets and collectibles being really easy to find. It’s also on the shorter side and has little original content, choosing to stay true to the anime. Overall though, it’s satisfying, fun, and does a great job immersing you in the world of Demon Slayer

Each chapter has cinematics, main missions, and even special challenge battles that all unlock items for versus mode.

The narrative starts where the anime starts and concludes with the hugely popular Mugen Train arc. You get to explore the mountain where Tanjiro’s Final Selection was held. Fight alongside the Hashira against Lower Five Rui and his adopted family. And you get to stand tall as Rengoku against the unstoppable Akaza. Everything is here, and it’s just as epic as it needed to be. Something to keep in mind as well is that if you want to really get involved in Versus (either online or locally), you really do have to finish Adventure Mode. It’s the only way to unlock characters, which is pretty important for any fighter. Not a huge issue for me, but I imagine it could be for some people.

Especially since, as is the case for any arena fighter, Versus is a very important part of the game. Even with the rather beefy Adventure Mode (at least considering the competition), for some it’s where the game’s at. Thankfully for them, it’s really fun. The combat system is just so fluid and responsive, with an impressive level of depth. It’s great during Adventure Mode, but really comes into its own in Versus. Whether against bots or players, it’s just so fun to play. It’s no fighter for sure, but it’s not a spammy mess either. Every fighter has an impressive and unique moveset, with everyone I tried fun to play. I actually dipped my toes quite aggressively into the online scene, and actually enjoyed myself. I won some, I lost some, and most importantly I had fun. A rarity for me with an online fighting game. 

The roster may not be the biggest for a game like this, but everyone plays so uniquely it’s worth it.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is that rare anime game that has something for everyone. Established fans of the franchise get to play through a fantastic adaptation of the anime. Newcomers get a fantastic introduction to the anime franchise that took the world by storm. And people who don’t care about that at all and just want a fun flashy arena fighter to play around with get that in spades. It’s the kind of game with a bunch of positives and not really any strong negatives. It plays great, has a decent amount of content, and looks absolutely stunning. And with DLC on the horizon, this is a game that’s only going to grow. 

Graphics: 9.0

It looks really really good, seemingly losing no graphical fidelity during its transition to the Switch.

Gameplay: 8.0

Combat is simple and smooth, with a surprising amount of depth for a simple arena fighter.

Sound: 7.5

The sound effects are extraordinary and really bring the battles to life, whereas the music is fine but lacks LiSA’s iconic songs. 

Fun Factor: 8.0

The Adventure Mode is simple but well made, and I had lots of fun in VS against both bots and other players online.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles was provided by the publisher.