NetEase launched a limited beta in the U.S. and Canada for Onmyoj, a mobile role-playing game for iOS and Android that has already been a hit in Asia, including NetEase’s home of China. In 2016, Apple honored it as one of the best iPhone games of the year. Facebook also called it one of the best mobile games in 2016.
Onmyoji already has 200 million downloads. Expanding to new territories can increase the mobile game’s popularity. The limited beta will give NetEase a way to test the English version game ahead of an official release.
NetEase is one of the two largest game publishers in China, along with Tencent. The success of Onmyoji in 2016 helped push NetEase to the No. 1 position late in the year. NetEase also operates many Blizzard games in China, including World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.
Onmyoji uses an anime-inspired art style and features turn-based battles in player-vs.-player and player-vs.-environment content.
“Set in the mythical Heinan period where humans and spirits inhabit the same realm, the story follows the Onmyoji, a group of gifted individuals who are able to manipulate natural order and control spirits (or shikigami),” NetEase explained in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “These Onmyoji can read the stars, draw amulets, and have the power to connect the two worlds, and even tame the spirits. They are willing to lay everything on the line to maintain peace and order between the two worlds.”