Capsule Review: Murasaki Baby

A one or two hour puzzle platformer starring a slightly monstrous little girl who wakes up in a gently nightmarish world and tries to find her mommy. The game’s atmosphere excels with visuals (reminiscent of A Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Gorey), music, and sound that are somehow both adorable and off-putting, warm and yet disturbing - appropriate for a world filled with a child’s fantasies and fears. The little girl herself is best of all, with reactions that are full of personality and life. It’s hard not to be charmed by her happy giggle as you use the Vita’s touchscreen to literally take her by the hand and guide her through levels, and if you pull too fast she’ll stumble and fall.

The game is almost exclusively played with the touchscreen and rear touch panel, and while this is used to some good effect (with the best being the aforementioned hand-holding) it becomes frustrating when the mechanics are more demanding than the hardware really allows for. There are late-game sections that require you to manage multiple simultaneous systems that can all kill you if mishandled, and your control of them is accomplished by swiping and tapping and holding on imperfect touch surfaces that misinterpret your input a little too often. Checkpoints are frequent, but frustration at the interface still takes you out of the illusion - by the end of the game, I cared a lot less about the little girl due to how many times she’d died and reset, reminding me along the way that I was holding a Vita and not her hand. Fortunately the short runtime means the game can’t really outstay its welcome and the ending has a kind of wonderful twist. I was left wanting to know more about this weird little game and where it had come from.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.