When I see games I like I try to find out as much about the people that made the game as possible. Before I decided to take writing about games seriously, I’ve needed to know where things come from. As part of that, I reached out to the people that make and publish Gurumin, because I saw the Steam release and wanted to play it. They responded saying they liked helping people write interesting things.
I wrote back and said, ok, I want to write about games, so I’m focusing on things I wouldn’t normally focus on. I’m playing your game because I think it’s something I missed, that may have changed my attitude about Japanese games (the original release was years ago). They just don’t sit with me, they’ve never done it for me. Don’t get me wrong, my first baptism was Super Metroid, and then The Ocarina of Time, and there was Mega Man. That was it though, and it was only the first few Mega M[e]n that really did it for me, after 4 it just didn’t hold my attention the same.
“Bearing the above in mind, and thank you for your time, what’s the one thing you would tell me about this game, before I let myself be immersed in it?”
I wasn’t sure I would get a response to such a loaded question, its a lot to answer, but I did get a response…”Gosh.. first off, Japanese Games cover such a wide area it’s hard to generalize. Also, frequently they are distorted by bad translation – that’ something we work really, really hard to avoid. As for Gurumin, I’d guess the big thing I’d say is go deep, because there is much more there than meets the eye. It’s a pretty hard core Action RPG/Adventure that just happens to be wrapped in a cutesy package. Good luck!”
He even left his name, which, as a pretty random conversation with the company on Twitter, I thought was cool.
Not far into the game, by which I mean after the introductory stuff that doesn’t give you much control, there is depth. The longer I spend with it the less the cutesy package matters. At first I expected something like any 3-D Zelda, and at first Gurumin met that expectation. Further into the game, into the first “level,” it feels as much like a current Mario 3-D title. Each area has a definite beginning and end, with definite borders. It feels enough like a 3-D platformer that I kept thinking of games that were not open world, which I was for whatever reason expected.
A maybe lesser known comparison that crept up while I was playing was Monster Party. Both Gurumin and Monster Party are just weird, I thought of how a kid would remember this game if they encountered it at the age I encountered Monster Party and I think they would remember it similarly. Reflecting on games that had an influence on me there was always art I couldn’t remember where it came from, a feel, or texture. I was watching something on YouTube and finally found that it was Monster Party, so much about that game stayed with me.
I’m committing to seeing Gurumin through. For so many reasons I want to finish it, and I definitely have criticisms, but there is definitely more to come.