So cute that Tweety Pie would puke!
Surprises are great. Like finding a fiver in you pocket or discovering that you are in fact the next in line for the throne. We all like surprises, especially from cute Japanese RPGs.
And that is just what Gurumin is. A huge surprise. Beneath the sickly sweet little ginger haired heroin and the cutsey wutesy little monsters lies a truly engaging adventure.
Taking the role of said red haired protagonist, Parin, you are sent to live in a mining village with your grandfather. At first this seems like a boring place to be, as there are no children. Soon, however, you find that there is a whole other village and even world out side the walls inhabited by monsters. Not the scary, jump out of your closet type monsters, but cute and friendly ones, that only kids can see. Not long after meeting them though, monster village is destroyed by the evil Phantoms. Of course the only being in the known universe that can defeat these nasty Phantoms and find the villagers is you, Parin.
Gurumin is a nice surprise from start to finish
To help her on her way she soon gains possession of a powerful and magical Drill (!?). With this she is able to dig (obviously), break down walls and pillars and more importantly dispatch wave after wave of Phantoms! This is where the games depth first begins to peak its head out from under the candy floss. The combat system is really very good. You can Jump, evade/dash and attack., but what makes it that bit more interesting is the ability to pull off various combos to inflict even greater damage. These vary from simple button taps, to button taps mixed with 360 degree rotations of the analogue stick. As the game progresses you are able to unlock new combos and upgrades for your drill. This kind of real time combat breaks up the adventuring side of the game very nicely.
Along with the ability to upgrade your drill, there is the chance to enhance Parin. Bandanas and goggles and even a monkey headdress can be bought or acquired to up Parins abilities. Although these don’t seem like much, they add to this secret and hidden depth that Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure hides!
The graphics are fun and colourful, with combat being rewarded with some great explosions and effects. The characters are all well drawn and animated, if lacking in some originality and variety! Sonically this is a game that really stands out. The soundtrack is emotive and varied, but what really shows is the voice acting. The acting is what you would expect from the likes of a Pokemon cartoon, so it never breaks the fantasy. A very rare thing in games of late!
It is not all just combat though. There are some puzzles to be solved. Although they are never real Da Vinci code mind benders, they do fit the pace of the game very well. Simple things like activating switches to open doors, or breaking weak parts of the wall to gain access to the next dungeon area. Again, it all adds to the enjoyment.
So Gurumin is a nice surprise from start to finish, with fun RPG elements and a solid combat system, this is a great game to play. Don’t let the cute look fool you, to pass it up just because of that would be a shame!