Being a big fan of Anime and Japanese art I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Muramasa: The Demon Blade. The game was released in Japan on April 2009 and was finally released in the UK in late 2009. Muramasa on the Nintendo Wii is an action role playing game developed by Vanillaware. The game-play allows the use of the Wii remote, the classic controller and the Gamecube controller. There are two difficulty levels that you can switch to at any time and the choice of two characters with their own story.
The game is set in ancient Japan during the mystical Genroku era and is ruled by a skilled shogun called Tsuanuoshi Tokogawa. The shogun’s thirst for power leads to a conflict over the cursed demon blades that bring tragedy and madness across the land.
The game follows two characters, Monohime and Kisuke. Monohime is a princess who is possessed by a demon called Jinkuro. Jinkuro is using Monohime’s body to search for a blade called Kuromitsu. Kitsuke is a young ninja who has lost his memory, but has discovered that he is a fugitive. The land you travel as these characters are the same, but the swords you collect and the boss fights are completely different throughout the journey of the game.
The game-play is broken down into two sections. The first being the exploration section and the second being the combat section. In the exploration section you take your chosen character through an open world of byroads, towns, cities and enemy lairs. You find useful information by talking with people from the towns and also purchasing items/accessories…etc. from the shops.
The combat sections appears at random while exploring and at the boss battles. The combat system is played on only two buttons. The main button being the regular attacks and the second button being a special attack that differs depending on the sword your character is wielding. Tapping the main button initiates a combo and repels any projectiles being fired at you if you time it right. Holding the button down allows you to block attacks and do dash attacks across the screen in any direction you want.
The combat is easy to grasp and combing special attacks while flying across the screen causing a huge amount of combos can be satisfying. If you block too much during a battle your sword will weaken and eventually break in which you can switch to another sword.
Muramasa has over a hundred swords each with their own special attacks. This is where the depth of the game and the pacing lies. At any time you can forge a new weapon which will be available as you progress through the game and upgrade your character. You fight your way through bosses to unlock additional swords that allow you to break barriers, which will eventually lead you to the end of the game.
Visually, Muramasa is a master piece. Throughout the whole game I was in complete awe of the beauty of the hand drawn art and subtle animation. The game takes eight hours to complete, but has taken me fourteen hours simply because I spent most of the time running through the world watching the animations and admiring the art. This is arguably one of the most attractive games across all three consoles. It’s almost a shame that they never ported this game to one of the HD consoles.
In conclusion Muramusa: The Demon Blade is a stylish game geared towards a very specific crowd of gamers that I just happened to fall into. So I’ll give this game a five out of five.