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February 2007



- Vibrant graphics

- Lots of trinkets to acquire



- A bit too straightforward and simplistic for genre veterans



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Review: X-Men II: Rise of Apocalypse (PSP)



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Score: 7.5 / 10


Gurumin is the latest PSP release by Falcom, a Japanese company usually noted for brilliantly combining fast paced action with RPG elements. One of their most recent games was the hideously underrated Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, a fantastic game that was ultimately ignored for being a bit too old school. Gurumin is quite a bit different from Ys, which may make it more appealing.


gurumin          gurumin


The story of Gurumin focuses on a young girl named Parin, who's left alone in a small city without any other kids to play with. As it turns out, she's the only one who can see the mischievious band of monsters that inhabit the town. Fortunately, they're all pretty nice, and they become friends pretty quickly. But it's not long into our story where an evil price and his gang invade, kidnapping all of




- Role-Playing Game Reviews

the residents and leaving the monster town in ruins. It's up to Parin to take up arms and save her new friends.


Now, Gurumin is almost absurdly cute. All of the characters look pretty simple, consisting mostly of minimally textured polygons, which gives the visuals a vibrant, animation-like quality.


However, Gurumin's high-spirited demeanor 


wears down once you get to the first stage. Nearly every level is a fairly routine castle, or cave, or forest. Most of filled with simple enemies and the occasional Zelda-lite puzzles. Unlike Ys, Gurumin is fully in 3D, but it seems that Falcom hasn't quite gotten the hang of implementing this properly. Parin's attacks are slow, and the controls feel way too loose. There's rarely any real challenge to most of the fights beyond whacking the attack button or using charged attacks. There are a handful of special moves you can buy, but they're all approximately the same. When the drill is at full power, it shoots projectiles, but it's nearly impossible to hit anything with them. The only really interesting aspect of the combat system is the homing attack, where you can jump and automatically fly towards the closest enemy. The boss battles are generally far more interesting, but those fall victim to sluggish camera which needs to be adjusted constantly.


The RPG aspects are fairly uninvolved too. The only equipment are accessories, which can render you invuleranble to certain elements, detect treasure, or increase your offense or defense. However, you can only equip one at a time. Each of these can be upgraded by collecting "junk" which is dropped by certain enemies. There's no experience or level building, so the only thing you fight for is junk and cash. There are various other power-up items you can purchase, but it all seems a bit simplistic.


Like many platformers, Gurumin encourages you to search every corner of each stage, to smash every pot and destroy every bad guy, in order to obtain the best ranking. If you do well, you'll be awarded medals, which can then be exchanged for more exclusive items and different costumes. Gurumin is a pretty short game, and these trinkets help encourage replayability, especially at the higher difficulty levels.


- Kurt Kalata

(April 15, 2007)


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