The Little Cute-Em-Up That Couldn’t

burunyanmanAfter Gal*Gun, I thought I’d try another game from the same developer, so I booted up “Soreyuke! Burunyanman Portable,” a game with a somewhat confused pedigree.  It’s an all-ages PSP version of a PC spin-off of a mini-game from an eroge called Musumaker.  Apparently, it was popular enough that they pulled it out of the eroge, put some work into the shooting game elements, and released it on its own.

I’m not very good at cutesy bullet-hell shooters, but I still love them, and Burunyanman is almost painfully cute.  You play as one of three catgirls, your enemies are mice at various stages of anthropomorphism, the music is catchy, the graphics are bright and colorful, the scoring system is interesting and the game rewards taking chances by boosting your shot power whenever you are flying close to enemy fire.

10 minutes into my first play session, I was convinced that I had spent Y2000 very wisely.  It was pushing every one of my “fun” buttons, and I was looking forward to singing its praises here.

I made it to level 3 (of 9) on my first attempt, though I was down to no extra lives and only one bomb left at the end of level 2.  I was pretty happy with this, and didn’t worry too much that I died almost as soon as the level started.  I was a little confused when it kicked me directly back to the main menu without a “continue” option, but, you know, whatever.

Anyway, I went back to the Game Start option, and noticed that it had saved my progress at the beginning of level three, so I loaded that save and it happily started me at the beginning of the level… with no extra lives, and only one bomb.

Then I spent some time looking through the menus trying to figure out if I was missing something, and looking up reviews in both Japanese and English to find out whether I’d missed anything while looking through the menus trying to figure out if I’d missed something, and I came to the following understanding:

  1. There are no continues, and no way to earn continues.
  2. You can load your progress as of the last level you completed, but you load it in the state you were in when you got to that level.  If you were in terrible shape, well, sorry.
  3. Extra lives are only earned by defeating certain mid-level bosses, not through scoring well.
  4. There’s no way to quickly restart a level, so if you die mid-level and want to try again so you don’t get stuck down a life at the end of the level, you need to exit all the way back out to the main menu and then reload your last save.
  5. Basically, git gud or go home.

…yeah.  If you are a hardcore shmup fan, you’re probably cheering right about now.  For me… well, I’ll just mark it off the backlog as “will not play” and move on.

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