Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Mabougirl Miracle Kurun (PC)

If you're smart enough to spot bi-ingual puns, you may have already guessed this game's main hook, which is one I'm suprised to have never encountered before: it's a combination of the old Irritating Stick/Kuru Kuru Kururin thing where you have to navigate a rotating stick through a maze without touching the sides and a danmaku-style shooting game. The pun of course being that the "cle" from "miracle" becomes "kuru" when transliterated into Japanese, and "kuru kuru" is a Japanese onomatopoeia for rotation.

Anyway, you play as a stick that you can move around, and also rotate either way at will, and you have to get through the stages without touching anything (obviously, unlike most modern shooting games, your hitbox is the same size as your ship, since that's the entire point of the game). All the while, bullets will be streaming from the wide sides of your stick, so you've got to juggle the rotation you do to avoid collisions and the rotation you do to try and kill enemies. Killing enemies also fills a meter, and at the press of a button, you can switch from your regular bullets to a powerful laser, that shoots out from the ends of your stick, and is not only more powerful than your normal shots, but also has a score multiplier attached to it that decreases as the meter depletes.

As you play through the stages, you collect gems to buy upgrades, like  increases to max HP, greater ranges of speed settings for both movement and rotation, and even alternative ships. Disappointingly, though, the alternate ships only have different weaponry to the default ship. I would have thought the game could present a whole new set of challenes if there were ships that were different shapes: shorter but fatter for example, or maybe even curved. For those worried about the purity of the arcade-style experience being affected by the upgrades, you can turn them off once unlocked. Furthermore, the game doesn't really have arcade-style progression. Instead, each stage is played individually with a new set of lives and a score that doesn't carry over into other stages. As an extra challenge, though, some upgrades can only be bought by spending a certain kind of gem that can only be obtained one at a time, and only by completing a stage without taking any damage at all.

Mabougirl Miracle Kurun is far from being my favourite game from the current Japanese indie scene, but it's even further from being the worst I've played, too. It's alright, I guess. It'd probably worth a buy if it ever gets released in some convenient form, but it's not worth using a proxy site to order a physical copy from Japan. Like I did. Doh.

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