It's great to see long-lost classics given new life for today's gamers. Gurumin may be over a decade old but it holds up surprisingly well so sharpen your drill; it's time for a monster bash!
Before I begin this review, I'd like to say that I've been a big fan of Gurumin ever since I played it on PSP almost ten years ago. I remember I got it for my wife but she didn't like it for whatever reason so I decided to try it out and was instantly hooked. This new version is basically the same game except it's for 3DS and therefore supports the console's 3D capabilities. So, is it worth playing again? Of course! Even though there's nothing significantly different, taking part in the fantastical world of Gurumin should be mandatory for any gamer with a soft spot for imaginative worlds with childlike innocence.
For the unfamiliar, you play as a little girl with the default name of Parin. Her parents are adventurers and apparently don't care much about her as they dump her off in her grandfather's care and go on their travels. Parin is the only kid in this new town so it's going to be difficult to make friends. However, she soon discovers the secret world of monsters that only kids can see. Their village has been torn apart by the evil phantoms so Parin decides to help them rebuild their habitat and put an end to the phantoms' dastardly deeds.
The world of Gurumin is awe-inspiringly imaginative with a vibrant cast of monsters and characters that help bring it to life. Each monster has its own quirk such as Poco who loves to get his groove on, Pierre and his expensive taste in furniture, and Chucky who frequently mishears Parin. Almost every cut scene had me laugh out loud which is rare for me to do while playing a game. Maybe I just have an odd sense of humour but I seriously find Gurumin to be one of the funniest games ever created. On top of that, the animation is superb. Watching Parin move will make anyone smile. For example, she decides to dance with Poco whenever you let her stand still around him. Speaking of dancing, the music is awesome and it'll get stuck in your head for days. Everything about Gurumin is bursting with joy.
I've talked a lot about Gurumin's memorable world, but what about the gameplay? Thankfully, it's a ton of fun. You play by exploring impressively large stages in order to uncover items that make the monsters happy. After all, Poco wouldn't be able to dance without his boombox. Throughout each stage, you'll battle enemies with your drill (as well as plenty of special moves), work through simple platforming situations, and solve many satisfying puzzles. The most rewarding part, however, is the exploration. Finding all of a stage's goodies and beating all of its enemies will grant you a top grade complete with a medal that you can trade with your grandpa for some cool items. Oh, and you'll face a handful of tough boss battles in order to rescue even more monsters!
As I've already mentioned, you can do a lot while challenging stages. Therefore, replaying them in order to uncover more stuff and earn better grades is a great deal of fun. Although I generally don't care about doing such things in the games that I play, Gurumin is one of those rare titles where I can't resist trying to master every single stage. It's so rewarding and fun that it never gets old.
I don't have much bad to say about Gurumin but this is a game review so here I go. The environments mostly consist of brown ruins which kind of get stale as you progress. I wish there was more variety. Next, this 3DS version has some minor technical problems that make it seem less streamlined than it could be. For example, the music stutters and slows down during loading screens and characters sometimes go through solid objects. Finally, just like in the original; there are some truly confusing parts. For example, in order to enter one stage, you need to be holding a certain number of coins. How the heck do they expect you to get an exact amount? I wish I could just go in the menu and drop a bunch of coins on the ground or deposit some in the bank... that's just silly.
Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure is one of the best games for 3DS this year and there have been loads of great titles recently. Do yourself a favour and download it. Poco could always use a new dance partner!
- + Imaginative and colourful world with great music and a hilarious cast of characters
- + Superbly enjoyable action RPG gameplay
- + Stage-based campaign is full of replay value
- - Environments are mostly bland
- - Minor technical issues
- - Some confusing parts