Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 02/12/07 | Genre: Action/RPG
In the spirit of a great Japanese Anime, the PSP is finally the home of a great new Action RPG that is cute, cuddly, and ready to drain your PSP of its batteries time and time again. As 2007 continues, Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, proves yet again that in the handheld wars, Sony's PlayStation Portable is just beginning to come of age. In fact, with experiences like Gurumin, along with all the other great software released and coming later in 07, the DS may have a hard time keeping up with the 16X9 beauty known as PSP.
The story of Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure puts you in the shoes of a girl named Parin. Our young hero comes to live with her grandpa, who is also the town mayor, in a small town that just so happens to neighbor a village full of monsters. Shortly into the game, you will learn of the monster village and be thrown into a quest to save their world. Like any good videogame, you are the only one who can hope to achieve success so if you fail, they are doomed!
One of the bright notes in Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure is the great care taken in the localization process. Publisher Mastiff Games and Developer Falcon have taken great care to bring the wit and humor of the Japanese original to US shores. In addition to the great dialogue, the music and audio are also top of the line. Whether you are listening to the sound effects of the main character's drill weapon or listening to the addictive music, Gurumin has some features you would not expect to see in a handheld title. It is probably safe to say that Sony's vision for what handheld gaming should become is finally being fully realized by developers. This is helping put the PlayStaiton Portable in a different league when comparing what kind of features and elements a PSP game can handle, utilizing the space of UMD, versus a system like the Nintendo DS.
As our young hero journeys on her quest, new equipment will become available. Though you initially start off with a simple pair of goggles, these can be upgraded and additional equipment can be purchased. Upgrades can be done with money and Junk that you collect throughout the many different levels you encounter on your quest. In addition to these upgrades, new skills can also be purchased that will assist in vanquishing the many foes that seek to kill our little female protagonist.
Gameplay is very reminiscent of any other Zelda-type clone. Parin receives a Drill weapon early on in the game and this is used to fight off all of the "bad monsters" in the game. Players will need to attack, charge attack, or make use of any special moves learned to vanquish enemies on screen. Between fights you may also have to solve a variety of puzzles. Most of these can be figured out on your own. However, if you get stuck there is always GameFaqs.com for assistance. As you reach the end of a given area, a boss battle will be your final stop before you receive a grade for your performance in the level. For those seeking perfection, obtaining the S grade can require several plays through a given area. So don't get frustrated if it takes you more than one time through.
While the quest is sometimes slightly difficult, each level is relatively easy but is never dull to play. The biggest challenge, as I mentioned above, is obtaining the S grade in each area. When all is said and done, expect to spend roughly fifteen hours during your first round of play. After this, the game will open with a more challenging difficulty mode. However, if the game is a bit too difficult, don't worry as a "Beginner Mode" is available initially from the start of the quest.
Overall Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure is a worthy PSP title that any fan of Action/RPG titles will want to play through. While it may not be the best game I have played all year, I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend than leaning back in my favorite recliner with my PSP and a copy of Gurumin to entertain me for hours on end.