Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure Review
Back again for another lap, Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure has been ported over from when I personally reviewed it upon Steam release in May 2015, itself a rerelease of the title that came out on the PSP in 2008. Now, it makes it's way to the 3DS for another release.
Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure is a simple-structured action RPG, ideal for the young ones you are hoping to share your addiction to games with a little more meat on their bones than what most gamers start with. Within, you control Parin, who moves to a new town, discovering a secret door to a world full of friendly monsters. Soon after, though, the evil Phantoms arrive, and destroy the peace the monsters hold dear. Of course, Parin is the chosen one that is able to retrieve the mystical drill that can defeat the Phantoms and push back the Dark Mist that is plaguing the land.
Battles are real-time action oriented. Much like a Zelda game, Parin must take down the enemies, solve puzzles, and make it through the maze of levels to save friends, reacquire their favorite items, or take down a vicious boss monster. Replay value is added via multiple endings and ratings given out based upon how long it took you to clear a level and how many of the hidden coins you found. Use the coins and scrap parts collected from enemies to purchase and upgrade items back in the real-world town, slowly leveling Parin up into a major Phantom slayer.
In combat, Parin can slash away like crazy, or she can charge her attacks for more devastating blows. Your attacks level up with each successful hit, up to three stages in total. Get hit, and you may lose a stage of offense. This creates a risk/reward system: go in for another hit and get more power, or play it safe to avoid losing it. From what I can see, the developers eliminated something that was present in the PC version: a music meter that allowed additional damage if you could time your attacks to the beat of the music in the level. I honestly don't miss this that much, because I could never succeed very much with that on PC.
In terms of new features, Gurumin 3D has the obvious 3D upgrade, which is done very neatly. Visuals are crisp and clean, though you can see the game show a bit of it's age, even with the polish it has received over the years. The bottom screen is used as an easy-access inventory, although it could have been more. Hitting the inventory button on the bottom will bring up the same menu you see on the PC at the side of the top screen, changing headgear cycles through the available pieces instead of popping up another menu to let you choose, and the buttons stay on-screen even when you are in the map screen or main menu, where they are inoperable. It's just some acreage I'd have loved to see them do something with, whether it be a minimap or statistics on the enemy you are fighting. The bottom screen feels like an afterthought.
That being said, the game does hold up well for an eight year old game. Character voices are bright, clear, and fun (although a few of the jokes fall flat due to getting lost in translation). Areas and worlds are unique from each other, and the ability to choose your route by picking which level to fight further into next really gives you a sense of freedom, even though most of the levels them self tend toward linearity. There is an item shop, a weapon shop, and an upgrade center. A few other town members help you if you are into collectibles, but the nice mix of linearity and progressive modification of your tools introduces people new to the action RPG genre. It may be the same game with a different coat of paint, but it is a chance for a new group of people to play it. Mind you, it is still available for download on both PC and PSP/Vita for $9.99, while the 3DS version is currently $14.99, but the game does lend itself well to the quick pick-up-and-play stylings I find my 3DS useful for. If you are still torn, I found this neat little video comparing all the portable editions. Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure definitely whets the appetite for a classic, simple, and fun game, and is worthy of a pick up to share your love of RPG's with someone new to the genre.
Thanks to the developers for providing a copy of the game for review.
Final Score: 4/5