By Ashley Ring / October 27th, 2016
|Title||Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure|
|Release Date||October 13, 2016|
|Age Rating||Everyone 10+|
Over the past few years, Falcom games have been becoming more and more a part of my gaming life. From the fantastic action of the Ys series, as well as the excellent turn based battles of Legend Of Heroes series, Falcom has become a developer whose games I’m always excited to check out. Gurumin is a game of theirs that I’ve always wanted to play, but never got around to. Thankfully, Gurumin has just been rereleased on the 3DS, and I’ve finally checked it out! After playing it, is this a game that I’m happy that I finally got to experience, or is it something that I would have been better off never getting around to?
Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure is the story of a young girl named Parin who has to live with her grandfather while her parents are away on a trip. Parin’s life is quickly changed in this new town as she meets two monsters named Pino and Poku, who take her to another world that is inhabited by cute monsters. Shortly after Parin arrives in the monster world, things go wrong as the monster town is destroyed by Phantoms, the main enemies of the game. It’s up to Parin to save the monsters from the Phantoms and help rebuild their town!
The story is probably one of the biggest highlights of Gurumin for me. It’s a simple story that doesn’t have much depth, but the entire thing is just so pleasant. Everything about the way it’s presented and executed is so cute and innocent. Every time a cutscene would play I was always delighted, as the scenes are really fun to watch. The story really feels like I was watching a classic cartoon that I would have loved as a kid. Everything is so silly and light hearted. The excellent English dub only helps push this feeling home even more. It’s really hard to not smile during this game’s cutscenes. The characters are also a nice highlight. All of the characters have their own distinct and cute personality.
Parin is a silly girl who has a sarcastic attitude a lot of the time. One moment that stuck out to me the most was when you have to play a quick mini game against a mole character before he will agree to help you get past a giant rock. Upon beating this mole at his own game Parin simply points out that, if she can beat him, why does she even need his help in the first place? She’s a very silly and likeable character. My favorite character is probably tied between Pino and Poco. Pino is an cute little monster girl who is a bit clumsy and tends to stumble a lot and have no sense of direction despite being steered in the right direction by Parin. Poco is a character I think a lot of players will enjoy, as he’s just such a fun character who loves to dance and have fun.
One of the first things I couldn’t help but notice after I was given control of the game is that this game really felt like something that I would have played back in the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64 days. I don’t mean that in a bad way, either. The entire game design feels really reminiscent of that. From the simple, but fun gameplay, the graphics, the light-hearted story, the way the simple and fun level design flows, to the way the interface looks, it all felt really reminiscent of those days. Unfortunately, some of the level design does get lazy towards the middle end of the game. Many of the later levels are exact copy and pastes of earlier ones, but you tread through them from the end point to the beginning. New to the 3DS version of Gurumin is the ability to quickly swap between all of Parin’s accessories and elemental drill parts by just tapping a square on the touch screen. This makes switching between things a lot faster, as you no longer need to open the menu and try to find the item you want to equip. As you wouold expect, the 3DS version also supports stereoscopic 3D, which looks great, although I had it disabled most of the time due to personal preference.
While Gurumin may share some high points of some classic games, it also shares one of the biggest low points of many games from that time as well — the camera. The game camera, while competent most of the time, can be a huge issue in some areas. In tight corridors the camera tends to get right on top of Parin, which can make it frustrating to navigate, as well just feel awkward when you’re trying to explore. Sometimes the platforming can also suffer because of the camera being too close, as it can make it difficult to align your jumps properly. You do have some control over the camera. Pressing L or R will rotate the camera around. Additionally, if you have a New Nintendo 3DS, you can use the added analog nub for camera control. Since the camera can only be moved left or right, I found L and R to be the better option over the additional analog nub. Though the camera is not a huge issue most of the time, it still can be an annoyance.
Your goal throughout your journey will be to rescue each citizen of the monster town, as well as help them find all their missing possessions, such as Poco’s boom box. Doing this is simple enough; just enter the world map, select a stage and run through it until you reach the treasure at the end. Of course, nothing is ever that straightforward and simple. Along the way you’ll face plenty of enemies and you’ll need to take them out. Thankfully, with Parin’s trusty drill, those enemies are no problem, as it has a number of attacks and upgrades to get this dirty work done! Each time you rescue a monster or find some of their lost possessions, a new area on the map will open up for you to explore.
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