When Gurumin was released, I was fooled by the box art and the game’s subtitle into assuming that it was Yet Another Monster Collecting Game, so I didn’t buy it.
I saved some money that way, because it had dropped to $14.99 at Best Buy by the time I’d heard that it had nothing whatsoever to do with Catching Them All and was in fact a pretty decent game, and I bought it at that price and then promptly left it on my shelf for a while.
I finally finished it this weekend, so I thought I’d talk about it.
Here’s the ironic bit: Gurumin is a really short game, especially for an RPG. I spent less than a dozen hours playing it, by in-game clock, and that’s even with “finishing” it, getting the “bad ending”, and going back to do all the annoying little bits of running around needed to get the “good ending”.
On the other hand, it’s taken me months to play through.
The first time I tried playing through it, I got turned off by the voice acting. The developers DID provide an option to play through the game with the original voice acting, but it required you to beat it once using the English voices first. I didn’t want to do that, so I put it aside for a while until I found that someone had thoughtfully uploaded a save file for the game to Gamefaqs, with the original voices unlocked.
With that in place, I gave it a whirl, and got a little ways into it, and then decided that it was the perfect game to play on the bus to and from school, and then played through it for about 15 minutes at a time that way for a couple of months. I wasn’t playing every day, though, and I was having trouble remembering what I’d done from play session to play session, so I really wasn’t getting into it and I was starting to wonder if I shouldn’t just put it aside for good and stick something else in the PSP for taking to and from school.
I finally decided, however, I would sit down and give it an extended play session instead of abandoning it, and then I spent about six hours getting to the ending.
To be honest, it doesn’t have anything special going for it. The gameplay is nothing you haven’t seen before, your epic Quest To Save The World revolves mostly around getting bits of furniture back from the depths of rather short dungeons, and I found myself frequently resorting to a FAQ just to find out where I should be going next, which is pretty much my Cardinal Sin of Game Design.
On the other hand, it’s awfully cute and has a lot of charm going for it, so there’s that. I hadn’t been able to get into the story or characters playing it for 15 minutes at a time, but playing it for a longer session made me quite fond of them and made me really appreciate the epilogue-style vignettes in the credits after the story “ending”. It’s also got some great music, and the developers made ten tracks from the soundtrack available to download from their web site which is a genuinely classy move.
Finally, while it was a bit hard to find in UMD form for a while, you can get it off PSN for the eminently reasonable sum of $15 US, and it’s definitely worth taking a tumble at that price.