The ability to activate the Celestial Brush skill, to affect changes in the game world, by simply drawing on the screen feels more natural and intuitive than using the controller sticks in the PS2 version of Ōkami. The stylus brushstrokes are pressure-sensitive, so the strokes result in the look and feel of classic Japanese watercolor art.
The game’s graphics are reminiscent of Ōkami‘s lush watercolor and wood-block painting styles, and is particularly well-suited to the DS’s capabilities. The animated scenes when you restore a section of nature to vitality are particularly well-done.
The game’s story is worthy of the Ōkami series, and you grow to care for the characters. The gameplay itself is a platformer with good action components, but it doesn’t cover any new ground from its predecessor. I found myself wishing that I could combine brushstrokes to new effects, or that there were more variety in the game’s mechanics (especially combat, which got tedious after a while).
Sure, there are puzzles to solve, characters to talk to and assist, new partners to team up with and an evil to defeat. But this is all ground already covered in Ōkami and many other games. I feel that the development team produced a very solid and polished game, but I wish they had taken a few more risks.
Speaking of new partners: One nice thing, at least in my opinion, is that Issun (the Poncle from Ōkami) only briefly appears in Ōkamiden. He was the character I disliked the most in the first game, so I am pleased to not have to deal with his natterings in this one.
While I find myself — naturally — comparing it to Ōkami, I am enjoying Ōkamiden (I’m about 75 percent through it so far), and I can definitely recommend it to fans of the first game.