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SONZAI Melds Persona and Devil May Cry

Screenshot of Sonzai

Developer 2 Odd Diodes and publisher Top Hat Studios have released a new trailer for SONZAI, a hybrid character action game and turn-based RPG with life sim mechanics influenced by Persona. It’s coming to PC, macOS, and Linux, and it’s already free to wishlist on Steam.

Peep the showcase below then read on to learn more about this stylish blend of genres. Trust me, there’s a lot to go over.

SONZAI builds on the life sim systems we’ve come to know. For one, each connection you make comes with a branching skill tree, so hanging out lets you upgrade your combat abilities in addition to the usual social stat boosts. Synergy!

Like Persona, the game also has a calendar system, which means every in-game day is a decision on how you spend time in Kumotoshi. If you don’t want to socialize, there are a whole bunch of other things to do, including fishing. Your choice of activity can help you build favor with your social links too. Alternatively, you can explore the city and the surrounding countryside. Maybe ogle the gorgeous, ink-drawn graphics while you’re at it.

Screenshot of SONZAI

Where SONZAI diverges from Persona is the Devil May Cry-esque character action. Combat in this game is all about comboing your enemies to death using techniques like air juggling and a wide array of weapons. To buff you up, there are consumables and customizable abilities at your disposal.

All of that, and I haven’t even gone over the story yet. Here’s an overview plucked from Steam.

SONZAI Overview

A story-rich, social link based RPG with combo-based character action & JRPG elements

Welcome to Kumotoshi: the only town in the world where magic exists. Thrust into new circumstances, and with an unlikely crew of companions, embark on a journey to uncover the secrets & scars of a place like no other.


Kumotoshi is a magical town; a hub for young mages. Explore the town by daylight, and become stronger by connecting with those around you. Deepen your relationships and pursue social links to unlock new abilities, upgrades, and weapons.

Engage in visceral character-action combat

At night-time, the boundaries between worlds blur. Head to the edges of the town to fight vengeful spirits, discover hidden civilizations and lost legends. With spectacular, combo-based character action, juggle enemies in the air, dash through them, and prove how stylish you can be. Wield swords, chains, muskets and more to vanquish your foes. Mix things up by experimenting with a wide selection of passive/active abilities, customizable modules, and skills.

A dynamic, living world

Wrapped in a beautiful, inky minimalist art style with precisely choreographed animation (every single frame hand-drawn), SONZAI features a thought-provoking narrative about existence, individuality, and what it means to be “special”. A vast world filled with hidden lore to discover, how you get tangled up in the lives of SONZAI’s colorful, diverse cast may just change everything.


  • Explore a vast world – whether it’s a burning town right beside Kumotoshi, or a lost civilization underground – each new area has its own aesthetic and beings who reside in them.
  • Drop into the Milk Drink bar for boba and some gossip, or be a good Samaritan and volunteer some time at the orphanage. Be mindful of who you are and aren’t on good terms with: each character has their own life and story.
  • Get closer to those around you by increasing your aptitude at their favored activity. New abilities, upgrades and more unlock as your relationships progress!
  • Stylish combo-based, spectacle fighter & character action combat – wield a varied arsenal of weapons, mix things up with a combination of passive or active rune abilities and perks, and see how stylishly you can vanquish your foes.
  • Take your combat prowess to the next level by visiting Anya’s shop, and combining the drops & runes 

SONZAI is coming to PC, macOS, and Linux via Steam. If you happen to be in LA this weekend for Summer Game Fest, the game will be appearing at IGN Live’s Xbox booth.

Consult the game page for more media, and keep tuned to RPGFan for more Summer Game Fest news!

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Gio Castillo

Gio Castillo

Gio is a writer and editor with a deep fondness for role-playing and management games. He lives in the Philippines with two cats he loves dearly.

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