Murasaki Baby

Score

Pros

  • Tim Burton-inspired art style
  • Strong narrative
  • Innovative gameplay
  • Atmospheric soundtrack

Cons

  • Too short
  • A little too expensive for the length

Exclusive to PS Vita

It’s been a while since the PS Vita

had a brand new and exclusive title launch, but this month sees

Murasaki Baby finally arrived for Sony’s handheld. Originally announced

at GamesCom a couple of years ago, Murasaki Baby has been incoming for a

very long time. But it’s definitely been worth the wait.

Murasaki

Baby is a strange game that sees you guide a lost little girl and her

vibrant purple heart balloon through a world make up of the stuff of

nightmares. She’s lost her mummy and it’s down to you to help Baby find

her.

We’ve been waiting for a great PS Vita exclusive since Tearaway

and Murasaki Baby is certainly in the runnings for one of the best Vita

games out there. Like Tearaway, it utilises the majority of the PS

Vita’s unique feature set, namely its touchscreen, rear touch panel and

its in-built gyroscope/accelerometer combo.

The

aim of the game is to take Baby by the hand and safely guide her

through each level, giving the nod to influence Ico. You’ll need to keep

Baby and her balloon intact through all the various hazard presented by

the nightmarish landscapes.

Murasaki Baby is split into

chapters. Within each chapter that you need to guide Baby through you’ll

encounter a new character who needs your help with a specific problem.

You’ll need to utilise the available backgrounds and a bit of problem

solving to aid them and get Baby to the next area.

We won’t spoil the story for you, as this is one of the game’s most compelling aspects.

The

characters are fully fleshed, even though they barely speak, and part

of Murasaki Baby’s charm is trying to work out their ailments and

predicaments. This especially applies to Baby herself. She’s scared and

alone, but weirdly curious about the slightly terrifying world around

her.

As you hold her hand and meet these different characters,

you’ll be required to interact with the occupants and scenery in order

to guide her to the next doorway. These doorways are the key to

progressing in Murasaki Baby, as they unlock the next part of the

chapter or the next one entirely as Baby rushes through them calling for

her mother.

Murasaki Baby

You

hold Baby’s hand literally by holding your finger down on the

touchscreen. Pull her hand in the direction you want to take her and she

will follow on behind. If you pull too hard, she’ll trip and fall, so

you need to have a little patience.

If she likes the location

she’s currently in, she’ll walk quite willingly. But if she’s scared,

she’ll walk much more reluctantly. This is all controlled by the

background currently on display.

As you progress through the

game, you’ll be offered multiple background to switch to with a swipe of

the rear touch pad. Each of these affect Baby differently and allow you

to interact with the world in a different way. One of the first is a

red background with boxes in it. If you tap the rear touch pad, Jack in

the Boxes will spring out and scare Baby and the monsters trying to get

at her. Later there’s a blue background that gives you the power of

electricity. By directing the current via the rear touch pad, you can

charge up moving platforms to get Baby to the next area. There’s even a

special purple background that lets you flip the entire world upside

down by literally flipping your PS Vita 180 degrees.

Murasaki Baby

You’ll

need to work with these background to solve the puzzles presented to

you in Murasaki Baby. Often, they require switching quickly from

background to background, so you’ll need to be quick in manoeuvring your

fingers around the PS Vita.

At some points you’ll even need to

get multiple fingers in on the action on the touchscreen, keeping one

firmly on Baby’s hand and the other on the balloon as you divert it away

from electric beams, thorns and flying safety pins.

In that

way, Murasaki Baby utilises all aspects of the PS Vita’s features.

You’ll be scrolling through backgrounds with the rear touchpad and

looking after Baby with the touchscreen. You won’t be touching the

buttons or analogue sticks for the majority of the game, highlighting

the flexibility of the PS Vita’s hardware.

Murasaki Baby

Murasaki

Baby excels with it’s strong storyline and innovative gameplay, both of

which make it a stand-out title for the PS Vita. There’s even a great, eerie soundtrack with unique sound effects to take you deep into the Murasaki world. Developer Ovosonico

might not have the developer credentials of Media Molecule, but the

studio is proving that there can be unique and compelling titles for the

PS Vita.

There’s a catch though. Murasaki Baby is a fairly

reasonable £7.99 purchase, but for that price you’re only getting around

two hours of play time. The storyline and gameplay are well worth the

investment, but we felt a like it ended far too quickly when the credits

started rolling. It’s a great game, but we want more of it.

There’s

no incentive to go back to your favourite bits either. Once you’ve sat

through the (lengthy) credits sequence, there’s no option to revisit

specific chapters. Instead you are only given the option to play through

the whole game again, losing your original save entirely.

Verdict
Murasaki

Baby is a fantastic game that really demonstrates the PS Vita’s

features, nearly as well as Tearaway does. There’s a rich storyline,

clever gameplay features and the artwork is quirky and appealing.

However, it’s sub 2 hour length does Murasaki Baby a disservice. By the

time you reach the end, you’re just getting into how the world can be

manipulated. 

Murasaki is worth the experience if you’re willing to fork out £8 for a couple of hours gameplay.

Read more: Best PS Vita games

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