Grab your chopsticks and get ready for some good ramen. Through this great thriller from Izanagi Games we travel to the land of the rising sun. Yurukill: The Calumniation Games will be released on July 8 for PlayStation, PC and Nintendo Switch and will combine pure graphic adventure mechanics with classic shoot ’em up action.
The story is based on an undefined country and world. There, a young man named Sengoku Shunju is accused of murders he did not commit. The main character and five other criminals will be moved to a land built like an amusement park where he will have a chance to clear his name and eliminate his punishment if he wins. The criminals will team up with the executioners, who will join them in exchange for fulfilling all their wishes if they win. In the Yurukill theme park, Sengoku must complete all the challenges while defending his innocence and taking on the other teams.
A moving manga
The main feature of Yurukill that we can discuss is the anime atmosphere. There’s no denying that the game was created by Japanese creators, and the tropes and aesthetics overwhelm the story. And this is something that not only must not be hidden, but which becomes its greatest strength and its greatest symbol. The story unfolds like any other mainstream mystery manga, from the album cover to the dialog boxes. The conversations between the characters jump between flashbacks of their past lives, as well as the decisions and reactions we have to make in real time.
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At Yurukill, we call it “animation in motion” because that’s what it is. It’s not just the character designs, but the narrative structures, theme and of course the aesthetics and design of the storyline are closely tied to the Japanese comic book genre. The main story was created by manga artist Homura Kawamoto who is also known for his anime and manga Kakegurui. And if you like Japanese thriller styles, we recommend it. Yurukill explores human nature, forgiveness and the sense of revenge. The characters’ storylines tell of their traumas and the unstable situations they’ve been through all their lives to where they are today.
That means this game will be a prize gem for fans of Japanese culture and anime and manga consumers who love visual novels. For those who are not used to this format, it can be a real discovery. Above all, Yurukill is a graphic adventure, a mystery story in detective Conan style with fairly difficult puzzles and confrontations with our executioner. We have to constantly show the game that we follow the story and use the knowledge given to us to solve the puzzles and defend our innocence.
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Another very important fact to keep in mind is that the game didn’t offer great localization support. The dialogues are in Japanese (something quite compelling with the aesthetic), but the text is in English. Because you will have to read a lot in Yurukill, it can be a handicap if you are not used to this language.
A shoot ’em up in the purest Japanese style
Nevertheless, we cannot slacken the conversations and puzzles as in the story we will be forced to face our own demons and worries, even with the truth behind our case. Every concept and information discovered during the investigations is then used in a system of questions against the clock, with each failure being penalized by taking away the time and bonus lives for the movie stage. It’s a similar format to what we saw in the Phoenix Wright series trials.
Regarding the shooting levels, we can divide the experience into two different parts. On the one hand, the story mode in which we can choose the difficulty depends on whether we want to focus on the main plot. I played in “Normal”, and it was accessible, even easy for me. Considering that the better we perform in the research phases, the more lives and bonuses we will have to use in the action scenes, the level of difficulty is very important as there is no manual save or automatic saving in these phases. This means that if we lose, we have to repeat the whole shooting and interrogation phase, which is another 25 minutes of playing, which can be very tiring.
On the other hand, the game comes with a specific game aimed at “bullet hell”, where we can choose the pilot and the level (among the six levels available). The choice of a pilot is very important because everyone has a slightly different shooting ability. The results of our games are uploaded to an online server where we can see our worldwide position in the player rankings.
The Jurukill Judgment
I got the chance to play Yurukill on the Nintendo Switch. I must admit it was well executed. The dialogue format is fast, and the clue-finding and arcade cutscenes fit perfectly on a handheld rig. Although it is true that I had some frame drops in those phases where there was more movement on the screen during the bullet hell moments and in the ship flight animations.
In terms of appearance, the anime’s aesthetic is well done, and the dialog boxes that change depending on the tones used by the protagonists and their designs are spectacular. In particular, the charisma and exquisite design of the Binko character, our game guide and perhaps the new Japanese Lady Dimitrescu stand out. The soundtrack is amazing, incredibly compelling and worthy of any cutting edge anime series.
While the aesthetics and ratings are spectacular, the game has its downsides. It gets very repetitive after the first few hours. Although we switch between different puzzles and five unique stories, in the end we have to do the same with each of them. The fact that the level of the puzzles is not so difficult does not help to reduce this feeling of lack of variety, in addition, we do not feel any real danger of dying or failing to overcome the stage. The shooting system looks good, but it feels like two different games trying to merge them into one. While his starships and movie setting make sense in this whole manga world, we’re not too sure if they fit into the cramped environment of the puzzle and thriller stages.