Earlier this month, RPGamer had the chance to attend a small Capcom pre-E3 event where I played an English demo of Okamiden. Although I only had about 15 minutes with the game, I was still impressed with what I saw.
The demo started out with me playing as Amatarasu's child, Chibiterasu, with a young boy holding a wooden sword riding on my back. I was immediately impressed by how well the woodblock-print style translates onto the DS. The game's heavily stylized graphics hide the DS's usually blocky 3D graphics and make it one of the best looking DS games around.
The game itself felt just like its PS2 counterpart. Although I have to say that the drawing mechanic felt much nicer. The paint brush felt a lot more natural and fun on the DS compared to Okami on the PlayStation 2 and Wii. That, of course, is due to the stylus. At any time, you can push either one of the shoulder buttons to bring down the painting canvas. By drawing various shapes on the touch screen, you can affect the world in different ways. For example, I had to draw circles around dead trees to revitalize them.
One annoyance I did find with the game is that I had to constantly hold the stylus in my hand, even when I was using the face buttons for normal movement and platforming. The reason for this is that I was constantly pulling down the canvas in order to change the world around me to proceed forward or to attack an enemy. It was a minor annoyance but worth mentioning all the same.
Like I mentioned above, you use the D-pad and face buttons to control Chibiterasu and the companion on your back. Just like in the original Okami on the PS2, you can run, jump, and attack your way through dungeons in true Zelda fashion. It felt instantly satisfying. I even got to try out some team mechanics with the boy on my back, using him to hold down levers so I could access new areas. It was very standard but fun and cute all the same.
I guess that sums up exactly how I feel about Okamiden. It's basically a smaller, cuter version of the pretty woodblock-print Zelda clone that we all know an love. That is certainly a good thing in my book.