Mononoke Slashdown is one of those titles that comes by once in a while that strips all of the unnecessary fluff and gets right into the action without sacrificing what it’s all for. With Yo-Kai running amok in Feudal Japan, you’ll be taking control of the Shinobi Kagemaru as he heads towards the source of the problem while saving who he can along the way.
Mononoke Slashdown is a lot like Muramasa The Demon’s Blade would be if you removed the metroidvania aspects and went straight for non stop button mashing action. Each and every stage is a literal two screen spans of distance with a main and secondary goal to achieve victory. Defeat all of your enemies, keep townspeople alive, or defeat just a certain enemy type as the rest will infinitely spawn. Taking no more than two to four minutes a piece, your fingers will be flying across your controller to stay alive.
The action is for the most part well crafted with Kagemaru able to slash with his sword, throw Kunai and learn new abilities to tackle the Yo-kai. With stages being very short and to the point, there’s no downtime once you decide to get started which is where the button mashing comes in as you’ll be moving and jumping and attacking simultaneously and honestly? If you stop? You’re pretty much toast but that’s what adds to the thrill as when it’s game time, nothing else matters.
In between stages you can double check the bonus objectives, re-do older stages for the bonus objectives that you may have missed or for extra cash in order to buy new blades, armor, kunai or scrolls and treasures. Swords are a given and increase attack power just as armor increases your defense. Kunai don’t get more powerful as they get more interesting as larger ones will cause knockback while others come with explosive capabilities. Scrolls unlock abilities that are either permanently on for special abilities, or that have to be equipped such as allowing you to do 4-5-6 hit combos instead of the default three.
Divided into chapters, each chapter will have its own visuals as well as its own theme for enemies though some are repeated throughout the chapters in various volumes. This is where things disconnected for me to a fairly heavy amount as certain enemies are just simply stated, a pain in the ass. Riflemen which you don’t see offscreen shoot and knock you back constantly while ghosts can charge you and do the same. Add the two of them together and it doesn’t take long for things to become rather unfair as the rest of your foes catch up and leave you no room for living. This happens every now and then but holy hell is it aggravating.
Keeping things moving along and in line with the short and sweet feel of it all, before getting into each stage there’s a page of text describing what is going on and what Kagemaru is up to. Helping townspeople, hunting leader Yo-Kai or just moving forward into his adventure and his sense of dread, each of these pages is a quick read and then you’re back into the action. It was a bit refreshing to have this style of gameplay be available so quickly but without having to sacrifice the “why” of it all.