This diamond in the rough makes me want to brush the dust off of my PSP and give it a whirl. Gurumin is an action adventure game with a classic cutesy Japanese look and a well suited plot line. The game has a very smooth and responsive feel to it which really helps when you're chaining combos in a mob of hopping pastel-colored monsters. The story starts when you move to your grandfather's house in a mining town with no children. Upon exploring the town, you discover a secret monster village filled with loveable monsters who need the help of someone special. Low and behold that someone is YOU! You draw forth from the monster town square a mighty magical drill with which you can effortlessly dispatch monster after monster.
The graphics in this game suit the PSP well, and the art direction does a good job of masking the fact that low resolution textures and models must be used. Yes, there are better graphics in other games, but there are also games with much worse. The colors are bright and colorful making it feel very cartoonish, light, and fun. Some of the close-ups on the characters in cut scenes reveal low resolution texture blurring around things such as eyes and mouth. During standard gameplay, these deficiencies are not noticeable. The other drawback is the camera, it sometimes gets in the way of those carefully angled jumps.
The gameplay to this game is quick, sharp and exciting. It has an arcade-like feel to it with air combos and lots of bright explosions. It's not all violence though; there are also puzzles throughout the levels. I didn't find them to be terribly unique, but what is these days? They involve smashing walls, flipping switches and strategic jumping. Also of note is that you can jump impossibly high and if you jump parallel to a wall you can wall run for a short while. Little fun things like that add a lot to the overall feel and polish of this game. The game does have RPG elements like collecting items and leveling up. You can also collect "junk" from monsters to upgrade your big-ass drill. There isn't a ton of character customization, but there is enough to keep you busy. I honestly found myself just sort of breezing through the customization to give myself an adequate weapon so I could get back to the action.
Sound and Music
The sound is overall quite enjoyable. Some of the music is a bit overused and gets a little boring, but the sound effects are right on. I don't know about you, but I love it when I jump in a game and it makes a "Boing" sound. I find myself jumping around town running on walls and spinning in the air just for the fun of it. The freedom you feel when running around should be a breath of fresh air to RPG players and bring a smile to the face of the most jaded of platformers.
My advice when checking out Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure is that you don't let its kiddy exterior and E10+ rating turn you away. This game is fun, and well done. Have you really been doing anything with your PSP lately? Give Gurumin a go, you're likely to be very pleased.