Capcom's weirdest game in years won me over in 10 minutes, and it's suddenly the thing I'm most excited to see from the publisher in 2024

Kunitsu Gami
(Image credit: Capcom)

After 25 years of gaming and 11 years of game journalism, it's rare for me to sit down with a game and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. It's a treat, in an odd way. Even with unfamiliar genres or out-there mashups, I can usually bumble my way through with muscle memory or context clues. But, perhaps due to the California sun baking my brain at the Summer Game Fest venue, Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess utterly stumped me for about 10 minutes when I got some hands-on time with it. "Am I doing everything wrong?" I worried. "Do I not like this game?" I wondered. 

Not so, it turns out. It just took a minute for the game's controls, and its combination of action and tower defense, to properly click in my head. Once everything did, I quickly fell in love. I thought back to my time with the underrated Sanctum games, an FPS tower defense hybrid, and my brain got on the right track. In an instant, Kunitsu-Gami went from confusing to making-me-smile exciting. I'm serious: this was one of the coolest things at SGF, and it's one of Capcom's most promising 2024 releases. 


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Kagura action

Kunitsu-Gami Path of the Goddess

(Image credit: Capcom)

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is perfectly pitched as a "unique Japanese-inspired, single-player Kagura action strategy game," Kagura being a form of ceremonial dance. You play as the swordswoman Soh and guide shrine maiden Yoshiro through Mt. Kafuku to reclaim the 12 titular goddess masks, and to purify the corruption that's afflicting the mountain and spitting out modernized yokai-inspired monsters called the Seethe. You fight on the frontlines, using Soh's sword combos and special attacks to cleave through crowds of monsters upchucked by tainted Torii gates. At the same time, you command legions of villagers, giving them roles and telling them where to stand to aid in the fight, clearing a path for Yoshiro and protecting her as she dances toward the next checkpoint. 

There's a tiny bit of Pikmin to Kunitsu-Gami, but it's obviously much more action-focused. Tempo-wise, it really does remind me of Sanctum in the way it mixes unit placement with your own contributions to combat. Things start simple: one gate spawning enemies, you leading a handful of villagers. They have basic roles like the melee-focused woodcutter, a priest-like figure that can slow nearby enemies, and a self-explanatory archer. Put the woodcutters near the gate, put a priest between them, and put the archers in the rear away from the lane. Job done.

At first, Soh herself can handle pretty much everything the game throws at you with some well-placed combos. Your light attacks and spirit slashes can chain into aerial, single-target, or AoE combos that target specific enemy types, delivering purification with wonderful flourish. I'm told the goal from the developers is for players to naturally balance combat and strategy pretty evenly, but there's room for you to favor either. 

Kunitsu-Gami Path of the Goddess

(Image credit: Capcom)

Things quickly escalate. As seconds tick down during the day, you rush to free any trapped villagers and scavenge resources, because you'll need them to assign roles or build structures at night. (There's a handy fast forward function if you find yourself prepared early.) Equip Soh with special charms that adjust her play style and give her a unique ultimate-type ability as an "oh crap" button for when enemies break through. Upgrade the roles you've unlocked to enhance your villagers, making them more durable and adding game-changing effects to their abilities. Manage rations to heal any damaged units, including yourself. Oops, time for a boss wave that puts a totally different spin on combat. Did I mention the challenges for each level, perfectly tuned to pry perfection out of you and adding huge replay value to levels? 

Like a good improv comic, Kunitsu-Gami keeps up the "Yes, and" progression. Within just a few missions, the game starts to reveal its hand: an engrossing mix of management and resources and attacks. You can reset or change your upgrades on a whim, so the space for experimentation is enormous. Soh feels great to play once you learn which combos to use in a given situation, and in my case, to give any incoming attacks a wide berth when you're looking to dodge. Meanwhile, new roles, the towers of this tower defense game, wage an arms race with the ever-changing Seethe. 

Kunitsu-Gami Path of the Goddess

(Image credit: Capcom)

The lovely wrapper on this thing, a vibrant dreamscape not just drenched in Japanese art and culture but also displaying a clear love and respect for it, is maybe the most compelling part. The devs constructed actual miniatures to use as a base for levels, and that degree of detail comes through beautifully. The interplay of light and dark is dazzling. Petals and fireworks erupt as you cleanse the defilement. Every last outfit – again, made using photogrammetry and some real clothing – is intricately layered. Splashes of color follow your sword as if a watercolor artist is tracing your movements. Contrastingly, the Seethe are horrible little things, and sometimes horrible giant things, sometimes humanoid and sometimes patently monstrous, and it's hard to say which is worse. 

A rare type of game 

Kunitsu-Gami Path of the Goddess

(Image credit: Capcom)

It's fascinating stuff, the kind of weird we sadly don't often see from studios of Capcom's size. This is sandwiched between giants like Dragon's Dogma 2 and 2025's Monster Hunter Wilds, which makes it all the more special. 

I asked director Shuichi Kawata, who pushed to avoid oversimplifying the game during early development, how he'd describe Kunitsu-Gami to somebody who knew nothing about it. "It's a very good question," he begins (via interpreter). "We're constantly trying to find the best way to explain what this game is about to everyone. Since this is a very difficult game to express verbally, we focused on delivering a new gaming experience for people who actually get their hands on it. It's difficult to express that experience through existing words, so we think it's important for many users to get their hands on it and see how they feel, how they interpret this game." 

My interpretation is this: Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is the type of game I want more big publishers to greenlight, and it plays almost as good as it looks, which is high praise with art direction this strong. The action is rock-solid and the strategic side is immediately – well, 10 minutes after immediately – engrossing. I cannot wait to see what more difficult stages look like, and as someone who grew up playing countless tower defense Flash games in school computer labs, to obsess over getting a perfect score in every level. We don't have to wait long, luckily.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is set to release on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X (in Game Pass), and PC on July 19. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.