Muramasa Rebirth is the port of the Wii game Muramasa: The Demon Blade developed by Vanillaware. The Vita brings the same experience as the Wii version, but with higher quality graphics. It’s the Genroku period of Japanese history, during the reign of the shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa. With a demonic presence that threatens to destroy the peace and prosperity of the country. You take control of either Momohime the possessed princess or Kisuke the fugitive ninja.
Muramasa is a 2D side scroller hack and slash game that also has a bit of RPG elements to it. When I first started Muramasa I realized that it is probably one of the best looking Vita games out there. The graphics go for more of a cartoon/realistic design which works exceptionally well. I started my play through with Kisuke, but everything that follows applies for Momohime. First let me describe what each level or town area looks like. The map on the top of the screen shows squares or rectangles that show how each section is laid out. Without showing you much detail it gives you a vague idea of what the area you’re in looks like. Each area is small and will either have enemies, loot, shops, etc within them. Sometimes it has all of those at once. When running around like normal (no enemies on screen), your character will keep their swords sheathed. When enemies appear you get a ‘!’ symbol and then the enemies will start attacking. The combat in the game is quite simple, but will take some practice. By hitting the square button Kisuke (or Momohime) will do slash attacks, where using the left analog stick will determine what kind of attack you do. Combining these with other attacks will help keep your attacks going (chaining) and leave the enemies defenseless. After a battle is over you get a report of your earnings, experience and other bonuses for things you did well.
In each section you will also find green souls; you will want to collect these if you want any chance of beating bosses and other enemies. By collecting a lot of these souls you can use them and another resource called spirit to construct new swords. To gain more spirit you must eat food that you acquire throughout your journey. You can have up to 3 swords equipped at one time. Each sword also has its own special attack that you can use by hitting circle. If you learn what each sword’s special attack is, you can really change the outcome of a battle against a boss or swarm of enemies. One of the key things to remember is that your swords can break – by putting it back in its sheath you can then let it repair or use a whetstone item. There are also certain swords that you can only get by killing bosses. These swords then allow you to cut through barriers to continue your progression.
One of the downsides to the game I’ve noticed is the constant backtracking that you will have to do. After defeating bosses it will sometimes want you to go all the way back and down a new path that can sometimes be a big waste of time. This I would have to say is the main draw back to the game. It can be so wasteful that you won’t even see an enemy the whole time you backtrack which makes it extremely boring. I finished the game in about 9 hours, but I’m sure an hour or two was just from backtracking.
Muramasa does do one thing interesting thing involving the story that I did not expect at all; when completing the game I got a message telling me that depending on what sword I have equipped during the ending, it would determine the ending I saw. This gives the game tons of replay value if you ask me! If you think that’s all you can do in the game think again. There are caves in the game called The Caves of Evil. In these caves you will fight different bosses that you will not have faced normally in the story. The only way to access these caves is to have the right colored sword and it will also tell you the recommended level to complete it. There is a lot of them spread throughout the world.
Muramasa Rebirth is a great game, and if you’re looking for a meaty Vita game this one is definitely worth the purchase. This game has great graphics, fast combat and an interesting story with multiple outcomes – who could complain!?! The ability to make new swords I really enjoyed, pushing further to acquire new swords and test out its unique special attack was addictive. Both characters play the same, but their stories are separate which makes the game even longer for you to enjoy! Not much is wrong with this game other then the backtracking parts. If you’re into 2D side-scrolling RPG hack n’ slash games, this one is a winner.