It's hard to believe that there are hundreds of classic games that still haven't made it to North America. Here we have a long-lost GBA title that previously came out in Japan and Europe and now we can play it on Wii U. It sure looks cute so let's boot it up!
Kuru Kuru Kururin is a very unique game indeed. Our hero is a penguin-looking fellow named Kururin. His brothers and sisters are unfortunately missing so it's up to him to recover them one at a time. You play through the over 30 stage adventure by controlling a constantly rotating stick that's actually our hero's helicopter (the Helirin). If it touches the walls then it takes damage and you get some time added. As soon as its health is fully depleted, it breaks down and you have to begin that stage all over again. Thankfully, certain areas allow you to heal so you only have to survive between these points. That being said, if you don't take any damage then you'll get a gold star and have a better chance of ranking on that stage's time-based leaderboard. Overall, the controls make it easy to pick up and play yet it's very challenging to master. Once you start getting good at it, you'll definitely enjoy the time you spend carefully navigating through the campaign's increasingly difficult stages.
Not only is the story incredibly adorable, the sights and sounds will make anyone smile. Stages are filled with soft colours, easily distinguishable features, and charming backgrounds with occasional endearing chums popping up here and there. The audio matches this cheerful setting perfectly with bubbly tunes and cutesy sound effects. If you're the kind of gamer who finds these sorts of experiences fun then you can't go wrong with picking up a copy of Kuru Kuru Kururin.
Besides the main adventure, there's plenty of extra content to sink your teeth into. Make Up mode allows you to customize the Helirin with unlocked textures, colours, and even Kururin's rescued siblings. It's superficial but neat to play around with. Next, you can practice at playing through stages although I don't really see the point. Why not just play the same stages for real? Challenge mode consists of 50 additional brief stages that pose some interesting scenarios. In fact, playing through that might prepare you for the much longer stages in Adventure mode better than Practice mode does. Finally, there's an awesome multiplayer mode. That's right; up to four players can race through stages together. It's set up perfectly seeing as players who run out of health move back to the beginning. Because of this, the person in first place can end up at the back of the pack in no time. However, you need to own multiple Game Boy Advances, link cables, and of course a copy of the game to play it. In other words, if you're playing on a Wii U then you're out of luck.
Although Kuru Kuru Kururin is an enjoyable game, the gameplay gets stale rather fast. This is due to the fact that it's very one-note. The only substantial complexity comes in the form of springs that reverse your rotation direction upon contact. This is disappointing because they could have implemented so much more to keep things interesting. Also, about halfway through the journey, the difficulty starts to ramp up significantly. Near the end of the adventure, you'll probably find the stages nearly impossible to finish. I don't mind difficult games but when just completing the campaign requires you to hone your skills to that of a gaming ninja, that's a bit too much. These later stages should have made up a separate super-hard mode instead of being a mandatory part of the quest. I guess Kururin can forget about seeing all of his siblings together again. They might be better off alone anyway.
Kuru Kuru Kururin is a fun little Game Boy Advance title that I'm very happy to be able to finally play. Although it has its shortcomings, anyone looking for a cute and challenging game with an imaginative premise should definitely give it a try.
- + Unique and enjoyable gameplay premise that's easy to pick up and play
- + Adorable presentation oozes with charm
- + Great multiplayer mode for up to four pals
- - One-note gameplay becomes old well before the end of the journey
- - Things get almost impossibly difficult
- - You can't experience multiplayer on Wii U