Mamorukun Curse! is a top-down, bullet hell style shooter that is strongly influenced by Japanese folklore and mythology, just oozes cuteness. The game is vibrant, exciting and difficult while still being fun. While it is definitely not for those who frustrate easily, it is definitely an enjoyable experience for gamers who love the older arcade-style action. Some moments of lag and costumes that may upset those who are easily offended hold this game back from being one of the PSN greats.
After being caught in a tragic accident, Mamoru wakes up in a strange realm, where he and three other people have no memory of who they are or what happened to them. They are met by the charming, yet overbearing and downright bossy Miss Fululu, who informs them that their memory loss is not normal and is the result of the Dark World merging with the Netherworld (she also calls them such charming names, like ‘servant’). It is up to these five unlikely heroes to traverse the Netherworld, free the areas that are caught in the curse before finally sealing off the gate that separates both realms.
The story is pretty standard-fare for an anime-inspired title such is this, but it is fun, and humorous enough to keep you entertained between level after level of bullet dodging mayhem. The characters are all very unique and exhibit their own personalities, and as such they really bring a sense of life to the game.
Mamorukun Curse! is a top-down bullet-hell style shooter with a kooky anime theme and plenty to love. From its three different game modes, to a variety of characters to play as, and a nice selection of levels, there is a lot of content here to keep you occupied for hours on end.
The game offers multiple control schemes for players, suiting all needs. I preferred the twin stick option that gave me complete control over my movement and firing without the need for any adjustments later on.
The controls are relatively simple; move with the left stick, fire with the right. Just by aiming, your character will automatically fire, not relenting until you let go of the stick. There is no limit on ammo or energy for your shots, so you are free to just go absolutely off the walls with your firing.
Mamorukun Curse! Was originally a Japanese exclusive game. Since its release in the NA PSN store, it has brought with it all of the original version’s DLC completely free. This DLC gives alternate costumes to all of the game’s characters, as well as additional levels and play modes.
Each of the game’s character’s have a different style of shooting. One character shoots in a straight line, while another fires off in a wave-like pattern. In many of the game’s modes, you are given the freedom to choose whomever you want to play as, which lets players tailor their experience to suit their playstyle.
The controls and characters all run the same through the game’s three different play modes; Netherworld Adventures, Arcade and Story. These three game modes are differentiated by some tweaks that although are only slight, manage to change the flow, pace and feel of the game immensely.
Story Mode as you would expect is the story-driven adventure. The story plays out like a live reading of a manga before each chapter. After the dialogue and still-shot animation is played through, you are dumped into a level and off you go. In this mode, you are not given the luxury of the DLC characters, and have to use the five that come stock standard.
Arcade Mode will feel pretty familiar to most players, and has you picking one character and battling through level after level until you either finish the campaign or are defeated. Your character can be hit three times before you face that game over screen, but you can pick up items and extra lives as you play.
Lastly, Netherworld Adventures feels a lot like Arcade mode, but instead of playing through one level at a time, you are given a list of different “Adventures” you can undertake. These adventures range from an individual level, to playing through every stage in one sitting. To shake things up further, you are able to pick three different characters, swapping to the next character whenever your character gets hit. Once all three characters are hit though, that is game over for you.
For the most part the game plays really smoothly, and allows you to duck, weave and dodge your way around the barrage of brightly coloured lasers coming your way. The game however, does struggle when there are too many things on the screen at once. Once there are multiple enemies on the screen shooting at you, the game suffers some really noticeable slowdown, and it chugs along until you can clear out a few.
The last thing to mention about the game is its difficulty. Like most other games in the bullet-hell genre, this one is not for the faint of heart. You will die … a lot. The game can be punishing with its “one hit and you are out” kind of mentality, but it also means that players will always be on their guard. Regardless if you are the type who can get frustrated easily, then this game probably isn’t for you.
The in-game visuals are very bright, vibrant and filled with bullets. You will find yourself focusing so much on the enemies and their billions of brightly coloured projectiles that you will often miss some of the subtler details in the world around you.
Every stage is different and has its own unique charm and character. From the snow-covered mountainous stages, through to the depths of hell, everything here looks great.
Enemy design is fantastic too, drawing heavy inspiration from Japanese folklore and symbolism. Mechanised nine-tailed demon foxes, and giant flying koi are just a small example of the plethora of monsters you will be facing off against.
The game has an unmistakable anime/manga influence and feel. The characters all look like they are handpicked from the latest “Cute, yet subtly perverse” manga from the shelves of Japan, and some of the costume choices are a little riské. They don’t show off anything, but at the same time they aren’t leaving much to the imagination. Coupled with the fact that some of the characters look a little young, and you might have people getting a little upset. I should clarify though, that aside from some of the costumes “maybe” being a little too short, there isn’t anything offensive in this game.
The cut scenes are nice. Instead of going fully animated, the developers went for a more screenshot-based style. This makes the game feel like you are playing through a manga, which I suspect was the goal they had in mind.
Mamorukun Curse! Is fully voice acted, and this helps not only give a sense of life to the game, but also to give each character a sense of individuality. Having the characters all sound unique seems like a pretty obvious feature for a game to have, but it is pertinent here as the game’s dialogue is presented in its original Japanese with English subtitles. As the manga-style cut scenes roll on, those who don’t speak Japanese are still able to differentiate between characters.
The voice acting is only a small part of the dialogue though. What you will spend most of your time listening to is the background music, and the sound effects of the various monsters and their weapons (as well as your own).
Although I am no professional when it comes to Japanese music, the game has a strong Japanese electronica feel that really works in the game’s favour. The music is also (at default settings) rather quiet and doesn’t impede on the game.
The sound effects are a mixed bag. Bullet shots from you and your enemies are fine, but the characters screams of (what I think are) glee and excitement are quickly tiresome. All characters have high-pitched voices, so their loud, repetitive exclamations are not the most fun thing in the world to listen to.
Mamorukun Curse! Is an interesting little title. It has a wealth of content and a feel that leads itself towards long-time replayability. This, coupled with its cute anime-styled characters and plot result in a game that is not only likable, but downright fun. Some chugging and lag during more heavily populated areas can be problematic, and some of the costumes, although innocent, may trigger a negative response from some fans. Regardless, Mamorukun Curse is a fun game and well worth the investment.
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