This month’s PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection added six new games. One of which, I’ve never had the pleasure of playing, Muramasa Rebirth, for the PlayStation Vita. It’s your standard port, so don’t expect any touch screen feature. Having said that, the game looks and plays beautifully, and the hand drawn 2D artwork is rendered perfectly on Vita’s OLED screen. Addictive platforming and short burst sword play make it hard to set this one down.
Muramasa Rebirth opens with you choosing to play as one of
two characters, Momohime or Kisuke. Having only played this for the first time
today, I can only speak about the character I choose, Momohime, the young
princess. Right as the game starts, her body gets possessed by the spirit of
Jinkuro Izuna. He explains that he was trying to perform a body transfer
technique, and Momohime got in the way during the process. This is how his
spirit ends up in her body. He will actively talk to her spirit (now kicked out
of her body) but he’s just using her it appears, to further his own foul
The story is pretty out there, but that’s the fun of playing
Japanese games….anything can happen! I’ve only been playing for a few hours, so
I don’t have much in the way of story elements to share.
It did have a nice tutorial at the onset, which explains everything to you. Pretty standard stuff really. Square attacks, with multiple presses chaining combos. X is your jump. Triangle switches between your swords. Yeah, you’re regularly acquiring/forging new swords in this game. You can have up to three equipped at one time. These swords are displayed at the top of the screen and you can switch between them at will. After a short period of time, they will begin to flash, letting you know that your “switching special” is ready. When you switch to a new sword after this has happened, it will do a full screen slash, attacking all enemies on screen. Unleashing this attack whenever available is a wise strategy. It’s also a nice method of getting you to change up your main weapon often.
I should mention that each sword has their own unique special attack, performed with the circle button. Doing so will drain a meter under your sword, which can be replenished by killing foes and collecting spirits while platforming through levels.
Combat feels tight and fast in Muramasa Rebirth. Battles occur as you run through the stage, signified by an “!”. Opponents drop in, you fight ‘em off, and then a battle report shows how well you did. First strikes, combos, flawless battles, and more all add up to your score for the battle. You’re awarded experience and money, then you’re on your way again, platforming through the gorgeous scenery. Combat usually plays out something like this: A couple slashes straight on, then an upward slash to rocket foes into the air, juggle them there for a while, downward strike into the ground, hold square to charge attack, Triangle to switch swords (initiating the switching special “all screen attack”), circle button to use the specific sword special attack….vary and repeat as you like.
Most battles are over anywhere from 10-20secs. Sometimes you’ll have tougher enemies that require you to break their guard, or flying opponents that require jump attacks, and these battles can be anywhere from 20-45secs. Assaults like these occur frequently enough to keep you engaged, but not so much that it wears thin. A great balance was achieved with how long fights last and when they pop up. I feel that if Muramasa Rebirth had been handled differently, it could get real old real fast. The way it is now, you explore a bit, fight a bit. Explore a bit, fight a bit. Bosses are another story; they have unique attacks, several refilling life bars, and can be extremely rewarding, difficult, and engaging to battle.
Forging new swords appears to be a very big part of this game. Obviously, each new sword is stronger and has a new useful special attack. There’s even a sword forging skill tree. How cool is that! So, you can progress down whichever path of sword you like, to get the ultimate version of your favorite. Some swords are quite powerful, but break easy. Oh yea, your swords can break if they’re used too much, or if you deplete your special meter completely. This is another reason why you’ll want to continually switch up which sword you’re using.
In the pause menu you can check out the map, forge new
swords, equip gear, and yes, even cook. I picked up a few ingredients already,
and a few recipe books. This allowed me to cook items that replenish life and
sword meters, all while slicing up foes ninja style. The cooking process isn’t
a main element in the game. You just select the dish you want to cook, then it
shows the completed dish, and you consume it. Forging, collecting, and swapping
swords in and out is the big focus.
I’ve only had a few hours with Muramasa Rebirth, and already I’m wishing I would have played this one sooner. During the first 20 minutes of the game I wasn’t really hooked. After the hour mark though, I realized just how addicting it is. I simply couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait to play more!
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