Murasaki Baby (PS Vita)

Quick Summary:  A little girl wakes up in her room as a door opens as she sleeps. Stepping out of bed she walks through it calling out “Mommy?” In an adorable yet distorted voice. Accompanied by her pink balloon, which causes distress and tears if taken away or let go by surprise, she travels a creepy and dangerous landscape. With each opening door, she calls out to her mother, excitedly walking through in the hopes of finding her. Along the way she meets other people like herself, aggresive animals, and strange beings, all of which she (and you-pulling her along by the hand) must pass in order to get to the next door while dealing with the little girls fears and excitement.

I was a little unsure of this game at first glance, it looked interesting because of the art style, but the basic concept seemed like would would be lacking. Once jumping in though I found the game to be pretty enjoyable. Nothing I would power through, but do a couple levels here and there at a time. The nameless protagonist is a strange mix of adorable and freaky. With the behavior of a toddler it makes you feel endearing towards her, especially since you’re physically using your touch to lead her along the journey.

The main characters personality is so much like a little girl that after a while it was easy to look past the fact that her mouth was located in her forehead. The few words she speaks with a static sounding voice, “Mommy?”, “Hmm?”, “Wee!” are actually pretty dang cute. It also really shows how vulnerable she is while also being totally oblivious to this fact. She’s just on a walk to find her mom.

This game is all touch based. You use your finger on the screen to lead her, or the balloon, this way and that as she gazes ahead and at her surroundings. Depending on what is in front of her (a large gap or scary animal) she’ll pull away from your touch and cower. A range of emotions are shown quite simply through the protagonist. Black tears flow and she falls down if her balloon escapes. Scared of something she’ll gasp and whine while shaking. Also touched based is the back-touch. By popping different colored balloons through level progression you get the option to shift what is in the background. Each one is a different scene with a different color. Each one has a single ability, for example the Orange background has a windmill that when touched blows a strong breeze. You must switch between these to solve puzzles and get rid of obstacles along the way. In an interesting note, the little girl’s personality changes in relation to the background and the singular action. Again, in example with a Red background she looks scared and will cry so you have to catch her balloon. I really enjoyed this connection of the foreground and background, the character and her surroundings.

My one really big issue with the touch heaviness of this game is when there is a situation that causes her to be scared or nervous it can be really difficult to find and grab her hand. There were multiple times where I needed to lead her from one section to another, but due to her being nervous and usually the color of the background I had a hard time getting her hand. It goes from her mouth to her side in addition to be a bit difficult to see. This didn’t ruin the game and I was eventually able to grab it by chance after many passes over the character, but it did take me out of the atmosphere of the game as an annoyance.

The art style is something I really enjoy about this game. As I stated before it’s a bit of the cute with the strange. The style, monsters, and a few characters you meet along the way remind me of one of my favorite shows Invader Zim. In addition it hearkens to an old comic series Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. It’s simple with mostly monotone colors, so when you do get colors they’re of importance and significance due to standing out (like the main character herself with pink bow and balloon).

Like Monster Bag, this is a simple puzzle game that has a simple story that slowly unfolds its weird self to you as you go through puzzles. If you like these types of simple, dark, cute games, then this is one I’d suggest. It was on this months Free PSN game for /the Vita. Can’t beat free for trying out a game! It can get a little repetitive and boring if you play for more than a few levels at a time and none of the puzzles really present a challenge. Besides that though, not an overall bad game.

Overall score: 8/10.

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