723rd played so far

Genre: Action/Role-Playing
Platform: Wii
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: Marvellous Games/Ignition Entertainment/Rising Star Games

For some games, the title is enough to get you excited. Muramasa: The Demon Blade? Yeah, there should be something awesome in there, right? An action RPG that plays a bit like a platformer feels like it should be my thing all the way through.

Our Thoughts

Let’s start with the obvious that I tend to overlook in these reviews: This game is absolutely gorgeous. It uses stunning hand drawn background – with elements that often get repeated and recombined, but they look great – and characters that are amazingly animated. It makes reaching and visiting new areas a treat, a nice additional surprise as you travel.

The game plays on a 2D area, with some platforming elements – you do a fair amount of jumping and reach some secrets with careful platforming. It’s as similar to a beat em up, really, something like Ghosts ‘n Goblins at its most basic. It, of course, goes far beyond that, but it’s a simple basic formula.

The game of course features a bunch of exploration – the world is huge and there are a couple of different ways in which it’s restricted. Most notably, areas are locked by different coloured barriers that require specific swords to open, which then gives you both more plot options and extra items to get, as well as allowing access to a bunch of other challenges.

Swords? Yeah, despite the title implying the existence of a single blade, your progression in the game comes through gaining resources to buy more swords. This partially comes in through a new game plus system to really get everything, but at its core you can equip better swords as your stats go up, which have stronger special attacks and better stats. Other blades get giving to you, mostly those giving you access to different areas. You can equip three swords at once and switch between them, although all of them appear in a large unlock tree. It’s a nice system to build progression around, that feels natural, restricts progress properly and fits narratively. The game has some more minor related systems, but the game is really at its best when you can focus on swordplay.

Final Thoughts

Muramasa did not disappoint. Whlie the game is heavily focused on its action, there’s so much more in its progression that keeps me far more interested – your characters can grow more powerful and there’s a lot of scope for exploration – the game’s world is big and varied enough to really reward it, while its map still gives you good directions throughout. It adds to a fun game and I need to figure out how replayable it becomes to unlock everything.