Inukari Chase of Deception on the Switch has been a pleasant surprise. As a well-balanced Japanophile (don’t call the police), my interests in Japanese culture aren’t solely one thing like gaming, samurai, or even the food. If you ever get to visit – or even live there, you forget about all those things, and it becomes… normal.

And that’s what yokai and oni feel like in Japan – normal. I haven’t bumped into a murikabe in Jusco, but the way so many traditions merge into modern life is admirable. However, as Miyazaki noted during the development of Spirited Away, he noticed how a generation was forgetting about the spirits in the woods and that there was a disconnect. Well, that’s what’s happening here.

Don’t worry, you haven’t inadvertently clicked on a uni essay about Japan, but I was setting up this separation between the Gods and people. When it comes to spirits, oni, yokai – whatever you want to refer to, you get to take your pick in Japan – there are hundreds of them. In Inukari, the focus is on a fox/dog-like spirit summoned to clean things up.

Inukari - Chase of Deception
Source: RedDeer Games

Inukari Chase of Deception kicks off when a human devotee makes a prayer at a shrine (look up the Fushimi Inari Taisha if you’re interested in this sort of stuff), requesting the help of the spirit. Upon arising, our hero tries to understand what’s been happening in their absence. Other animals have been corrupt and will attack her, but a quick sword slash will sort them out. The same can’t be said about the bosses as they’re much harder and require a few more hits.

No doubt this game has been crafted with the intent of speedrunning. Without a doubt, this game is swift, without feeling rushed. The more meticulous you are, the harder it becomes. How does that work? Well, the movement is pretty fluid, so keeping momentum will work in your favour. Just a quick note: I’m not a speedrunner, but the controls here felt very tight.

The same with wall climbing. Inukari Chase of Deception goes for the Ninja Gaiden approach, and it works so much better, in my opinion. No, I’m not a fan of the original. That said, it isn’t an easy game. Initially, it’s a bit of a cakewalk – including the first boss, who didn’t put up a challenge whatsoever. Later bosses were the typical trial and error approach, but running through a few of the same motions was frustrating. There are a fair amount of cheap shots in the game, too – surprise, they were flying enemies that knock you off a ledge… cue the rage.

Inukari Chase of Deception Switch Review - Skyline
Skyline. Source: RedDeer Games

The presentation in the game is very nice, and that goes for the level design too. There are only a few worlds in the game, but they add a nice variety and make up eight individual stages. There’s an element of Inukari that feels like it should be one or the other: brutally hard or ridiculously easy. It’s neither and is a decent balance when it comes to difficulty. Some sections can be frustrating, but no way on par with Ninja Gaiden. Tip of the day: keep running.

Considering the price, Inukari Chase of Deception on the Switch is a no-brainer and ideally suited to the platform. It’s not likely to blow you away, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be ignored and is well worth the pennies. Another decent title from our deer (ha!) friends, RedDeer Games. Check out some vids or other reviews, but give it a look if you’re going with my opinion.