Why Okage: Shadow King Was the Weirdest & Best Game of My Childhood
Okage: Shadow King is a weird and relatively obscure game from the beginning of the PS2 era. With its recent re-release on the PS4 back in March, I imagine its name is a bit more heard of now, and hopefully just as beloved by old and new fans (it has a 4.8/5 on the PlayStation store, so I imagine this is true). I played this wonderfully bizarre RPG back when I was in 5th grade, and immediately fell in love.
From its weird art-style to its imaginative story, here’s why Okage: Shadow King is one of my favorite games from my childhood.
The thing most people notice first about Okage is its unique style. It’s kind of creepy, and it’s kind of cute. Okage’s art-style is a strange one. It looks like it borrows some cues from anime, but with a more twisted aesthetic. This style meshes well with its out-there story and characters, and it really makes the characters stand out against the bright, colorful backgrounds of most of the game.
One of the best ways to immediately sell a player on the world of a game is with the soundtrack. Sure, the real world doesn’t always have tone-appropriate music playing in the background, but that’s the magic of video games.
Okage’s soundtrack is a diverse mix of strange music that emphasizes the emotions of any scene in the game. The music when the characters first set out on their quest is bright and triumphant. The music at the last dungeon is ominous; there is a constant ticking sound to make players feel nervous and let them know their time is almost up. I still listen to this soundtrack all of the time.
Without giving too much away, the story of Okage follows a normal, young boy named Ari, who is overshadowed and kind of gloomy. Due to a crazy string of events, his shadow is possessed by the Great Evil King Stan (Lord Stanley Hihat Trinidad XIV), who plans to take over the world with Ari’s body.
However, Stan quickly realizes his powers were stolen when he was trapped and forces Ari to abandon his home in order to find and defeat all of the Fake Evil Kings to restore his power. The story progresses from there and has always resonated with me because of its weirdly displayed themes of friendship and finding your place in the world.
There are tons of other reason I love this game, but it really is an experience you’d have to have for yourself. You can check out Okage: Shadow King on PSN or, if you want, look it up on Amazon or Ebay for the original game.