You’ll enjoy yourself much more with friends, too, as Toukiden has a heavy emphasis on repetitive questing and monster-killing, all in pursuit of gaining stats and gear. This gear then helps you take on the true draw of these types of games: towering, deeply satisfying bosses. Stumble upon a larger-than-life Oni and you'll be in the match for the long haul, with these larger trophy monsters taking up to 45 minutes to kill, depending on how prepared you and your party are. Chaining attacks, outfitting you and your companions with optimal equipment, and tailoring your play style to each individual monster is the key to victory. Personal choice and aesthetics aside, there are styles of play that end up feeling more appropriate to different types of players. I found that using a long sword made Toukiden feel much less like a sprawling open world Monster Hunter-type adventure and more like a brawler.
The Mitama system is also a boon that players will find themselves gravitating toward. Each face button triggers a special ability when held down, with eight different types of Mitama available for the weapons found in Toukiden. For example, when paired with a speed Mitama, the Long Bow launches a quick and deadly assault on enemies in the distance--it's simple to understand, but the possibilities are nearly endless. The experimentation here is compelling, and you'll undoubtedly spend more time with Toukiden than you otherwise may have, just playing around with these weapon combinations. Sure, you could stand around and hack away at what’s supposed to be a 45-minute boss encounter, but you’ll want to become intimately familiar with your Mitama to create swift and efficient Oni-slaying weapons tailored to your favorite style of play.
As accessible and engaging as Toukiden is, there are a few issues with the game's presentation. It doesn't exactly push the Vita to its graphical limits, with some blurry textures and muddy character models that call back to the age of PlayStation 2 RPG epics. Additionally, there is no English dub track. The Japanese voice cast, however, is excellent, and a lack of English audio isn't a glaring oversight--just a puzzling one, given the full treatment with games such as Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc or even Persona 4 Golden.
Plainly stated, Toukiden is a Monster Hunter-style game that's not only more accessible than Capcom's juggernaut franchise, but suitable for solo play as well. It's pretty cut-and-dry whether or not you should play it. If you're looking for a Monster Hunter substitute that works well with or without real-life friends, you're going to want to look into it. With such a glaring spot vacant in most Vita owners' libraries, you'd do well to fill yours with Omega Force's valiant effort. It’s messy, but it’s one hell of a ride.