Kunitsu-Gami Is A Strategy/Action Hybrid I Didn’t Know I Needed

Opening the gates on a new genre mashup.

screenshot from Kunitu-Gami Path of the Goddess

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess might not be a game you’re looking forward to or even aware of, but there’s an easy way to change that. The upcoming Capcom game was revealed in 2023 before getting bigger showcases at this year’s Xbox Partner Preview and Summer Game Fest. Now, just weeks before its July 19 release, you have the chance to check out Kunitsu-Gami for yourself. And I can’t recommend enough that you do.

Capcom describes Kunitsu-Gami as a “strategy/action game,” which in practice means that it’s a mix of hack-and-slash combat, tower defense, and — most surprisingly — Pikmin. The game’s story is simple, but inventive. You play as swordsman Soh, tasked with guiding shrine maiden Yoshiro to cleanse a holy mountain from an infestation of evil spirits called Seethe. At least in the demo, this is all conveyed in short, wordless cutscenes full of emphatic movements and bright pops of color.

Just an average night in Kunitsu-Gami.


Gameplay in Kunitsu-Gami borrows from real-time strategy and third-person action, taking place in two distinct phases. By day, you move through infested villages, cleansing corruption from structures and villagers alike. Purifying buildings grants you crystals, which you can then use to assign combat roles to rescued villagers and upgrade them. At night, the atmosphere shifts dramatically as Seethe begin pouring through a torii gate present in every village, which also drop crystals when they’re defeated. Your goal is to stop them before they can reach Yoshiro.

To do that, Soh and the villagers need to work in tandem to turn back the tide of spirits. Soh attacks with simple but fun combos, highlighted by effects that look like paint spilling from his sword, or slashes in the air tearing into a more colorful dimension. You can also command the villagers you’ve recruited, telling them where to stand and issuing commands to have them target certain foes or fall back to protect Yoshiro. In the demo, villagers can be turned into melee axe-wielders, archers, healers, and magic-users that slow enemies.

Levels get more dangerous with each step you take toward beating them.


Between waves of Seethe, you use the same currency that’s spent to recruit villagers to move Yoshiro toward the torii gate. In the stages so far, it only takes about two nights’ worth of crystals to get her all the way there, but presumably later levels will require a longer journey. Having to hit the torii gate to end each stage presents one of Kunitsu-Gami’s coolest twists.

Since Yoshiro needs to reach the torii gate to end each level and the gate starts spewing forth Seethe every night — well, you see where I’m going with this. Each time you move Yoshiro closer to the gate, you make the following night harder, since spirits don’t have to travel as far to reach her. Deciding how much to move forward each night and how to split your crystals between movement and villager upgrades is a constant fight between speed and safety that adds weight to every decision.

Kunitsu-Gami’s combat is fairly simplistic, but aesthetically stunning.


Sometimes, instead of fighting waves of Seethe, you’ll fight one particularly beefy foe, which is where the Pikmin influence really shines. In these stages, you still need to protect Yoshiro from damage, but rather than positioning villagers to clear out Seethe as they move through the village, you’ll order them to gang up on the boss or fall back to protect her. It’s basically Pikmin, except with soldiers and monsters instead of adorable little plant creatures.

If you want to take a stab at Kunitsu-Gami yourself, the new demo is available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. Capcom is also running a collaboration with Kunitsu-Gami and Okami, and playing the demo actually contributes to it. If players collectively gather 1 billion crystals in the demo before July 17, a special Okami costume and weapon for Soh will be released for free for all players, and if players can find 15 hidden Lucky Mallets, a costume for Yoshiro and a special Okami soundtrack will also be released for free.

So that’s nice, but the Kunitsu-Gami demo is worth playing even without rewards. While only a few stages are available, you’re free to replay them to your heart’s content. I was already looking forward to Kunitsu-Gami, and having a shot at the demo has only made me more excited for its inventive strategy/action mashup to launch later this month.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess launches on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on July 19.

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