Waking up in the middle of the night wanting her Mommy, Baby exits her bedroom through a slightly ajar door and enters a world that is filled with terrors. Too troublesome for even the toughest of tots, Baby is in need of a guardian to protect her and her purple balloon as she navigates the nightmare world on a quest to find her Mommy. Using all of the PlayStation Vita’s features, you take on the role of Baby’s guardian and will guide her by the hand through this strange world whilst fending off anything that attempts to harm her.
With an art style that would not look out of place in a Tim Burton movie, Ovosonico’s Murasaki Baby is a beautiful game. The characters are both cute and eerie, with child-like characteristics but strange features and shrieking vocals combining to form an eclectic mix that sets the pace for the game. The haunting-yet-atmospheric art style is matched by a soundtrack that is both sinister and solitary, further adding to the sense of loneliness that Baby must feel as she tries to track down her missing mother.
Each of the four stages that you will make your way through on Baby’s path to her parent is inhabited by other babies. These babies have been indoctrinated by the land that they live in and although they attempt to hamper your progress, you will need to free them from the grips of the world. Doing so will allow for you to move onto the next level.
Guiding Baby through the game is as simple as holding her hand. You will use the PlayStation Vita’s front touchscreen to guide Baby across the 2D land, pulling gently on her hand to encourage her along. If you pull her (strangely stretchy) arm to hard or fast she will tumble to the ground, so be gentle – after all, she is only a child.
Not only do you have to ensure that no harm comes to Baby, the balloon that Baby carries throughout the game must also make it through unscathed. As you guide Baby through the various levels there will be many obstacles that you will have to overcome. Flying safety pins will try and pop the balloon which you will have to swat away by tapping on them and sharp thorns will burst the balloon as it brushes by them. Using another finger you can guide the balloon, keeping it out of harm’s way and guiding it back to Baby if she ever loses her grip on her comforting companion.
There are many puzzles in the game that you will need to solve in order to progress. Although not too difficult, the puzzles are good fun and mainly involve the use of the PlayStation Vita’s rear touch pad. By swiping the rear touch pad you will change the background in Murasaki Baby’s world which will activate various environmental forces. From using the windmill background to blow obstacles out of the way or a lightning-infused background that can be used to power items that require electricity; you will be swiping between these backgrounds with increased urgency as the game progresses in order to ensure Baby survives.
Relying heavily on the touch features of the PlayStation Vita does lead to one of the only downfalls for Murasaki Baby. At times the game can feel very fiddly to control, especially when you have to do multiple things at once in some of the later parts of the game. There are moments where you will not be able to see what is happening on-screen due to your fingers covering up the action while you try to twist and turn the Vita to manipulate the game’s environments.
I would recommend that if you are going to play through Murasaki Baby that you do so with headphones. The audio in the game is fantastic, with Baby letting out shrill shrieks of both joy and sorrow that add to contrasting feelings of unease and hope as you take Baby on this journey. Later on in the game there is a guitar track that plays through one of the stages that further adds to what is already an atmospheric game.
Murasaki Baby is a short yet (weird and wonderfully) sweet game that takes around two and a half hours to complete. However with not a lot to do when you do finish the game, Murasaki Baby did leave me wanting more from it. When you do finally reunite Baby with her Mother and the credits roll the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, knowing that Baby is safe from the arms of peril thanks to you, is great – although it does leave you wanting for more.