Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is a breath of fresh air | Hands-on preview

by on July 1, 2024

I love going into games without any pre-conceived notions, and so visiting Capcom to play Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess was a bit of a treat. I had seen the announcement, but since then it hasn’t been on my radar, and like many reveals over the years they get forgotten about due to the sheer amount we get. Few publishers have the ability to release hit after hit, with Capcom being responsible for some of the coolest franchises like Street Fighter, Monster Hunter, and Resident Evil, and now, they just might have another one to add to the list.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess blends so many genres and ideas together. It’s a tower-defence action-adventure game, requiring plenty of strategies both in battle and out. You play as Soh, protector of the Maiden Yoshiro. During the day, you must purge the defilement that has covered villagers and animals of Mt. Kafuku, and plan your defences before the night comes. Yoshiro performs a beautiful kagura dance which you can set the path at which she travels towards the Torii gate at the end of each area. Once you have determined this distance, she will perform this dance with elegance, but you need to be careful not to go to far without the right protection.

These Torii gates are a pathway for the evil Seethe to journey through at night. Countless monsters will enter this gate with the sole focus on killing Yoshiro and claiming this world for their own. If they get to close to her, they will kill her and it’s lights out for you. Thankfully, the daytime presents opportunities for you to bolster defences and hire villagers to help you in the fight when the darkness comes. I saw three different job roles for your villagers, and each one played differently during these combat phases.

You aren’t controlling their actions, but you can place them where you want, recall them all at once to defend Yoshiro at the same time, or send them all in to attack in tandem. Woodcutters are strong in close-quarters combat, Archers can attack from afar, and Ascetics slow down enemies, allowing you to attack without resistance for a short period of time. Playing around with these roles and the villager’s positioning during combat was exciting and intense, changing strategies on the fly depending on the amount of Seethe coming through the gates and the environment in which I was fighting in.

I placed archers on raised platforms and to the side of the path, while woodcutters acted as my first line of defence. At times I recalled one of the woodcutters to block a secondary pathway to the maiden as well as placing them at her feet for added protection. Not only can you play around with these roles, they can also be levelled up in-between missions to be more effective, as well as healing them on the fly during combat. During these waves of attack, more and more enemies will flood the battlefield and without a clever strategy you can find yourself becoming overwhelmed.

These fights are what makes Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess so enjoyable, as you will engage in combat as Soh and help protect Yoshiro with fluid combat. Using your blade, Soh has a range of attacks that can sweep through singular enemies, attack larger areas, and launch enemies into the air. You can also unlock abilities that can both unleash powerful attacks or buff your villagers depending on what you unlock and find. I adored the combat and its simplicity. It was easy to get to grips with, but it was also satisfying to unleash simple combos and strikes while blocking and gracefully dodging incoming enemies.

Once you’ve defeated one wave, you rinse and repeat. Allow Yoshiro to dance further towards the gate, use villagers to build barricades, an re-position villagers for the next night. Whatever you do passes time, and you don’t have an infinite amount to make your decisions until nightfall, meaning you have to be careful not to do too much in case you’re caught off guard by the next influx of evil creatures. You can take your time and participate in multiple waves if you play things carefully, or you can risk dancing too quickly in the hopes the maiden will purify the Torii gate in time. The choices fall at your feet, and that risk and reward makes it so exciting.

Despite the threat being so vicious and abundant, Kunitsu-Gami is such a beautiful game, rich with vibrancy and colour. The dance is stunning, as is the beauty found across the various environments on the mountain. Even the enemy designs are amazing, especially some of the bosses. It is these boss fights that push Soh and company to the limits. The first wasn’t particularly challenging, but the second one I fought utilised devastating aerial attacks, and it took me two attempts to take it down. Yet despite this, the design blew me away. Environments are diverse and enrapturing; Japanese culture and the country’s nature give you goosebumps as you purge, fight, and explore.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is a breath of fresh air. It’s a unique game filled with opportunity after opportunity to get creative strategically, allowing you to mix up your approach all the time. I can’t wait to see how many more roles there are for your villagers, but the ones I saw were already enough to make each fight exciting. It looks gorgeous in every way, and the combat is a lot of fun thanks to its simplicity and graceful execution. I’m so glad I don’t have to wait to much longer until it releases, because at this stage I genuinely believe it could be one of the best games of 2024.


Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is coming to PC, PS4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X on June 19th.