Tuesday, April 11, 2017

DOUJIN GO!: Mabougirl Miracle Kurun

Doujin Go! is a new column where I feature a doujin game that catches my interest. The purpose of Doujin Go! Is not to review the games, but to briefly showcase them. I will try to stay as current as I’m able to, and if you have any suggestions for Doujin Go!, do not hesitate to contact me.

I’ve written about Desunoya games in the past. I always find them colorful, challenging and full of personality. Mabougirl Miracle Kurun is no different. MMK is a frantic shooter game where you control a long beam that can rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. The beam constantly fires three streams of stars from either side. It can also fire a single stream from either end, but this consumes an energy bar at the top of the screen.

The mechanics of MMK is loosely based on the Japanese game Kuru Kuru Kururin, which was released on the Game Boy Advance. In that game, the stick would rotate automatically as the player tries to guide it through a series of mazes. Desunoya took that concept and turned into a shoot ‘em up. The result is a very frantic and challenging game. The levels can be a horizontal shooter or a vertical shooter, and sometimes the game will switch it up mid level. Additionally, being a long rectangular object instead of a ship creates complex dodging situations. In a traditional shoot ‘em up, a player can weave through the bullets, but in MMK, you have to rotate the beam in different angles. Sometimes the bullets will barely graze you before you have to turn a different direction to dodge another barrage. Also, in certain situations, the firing stream needs to be changed in order not be blocked by level’s obstacles.

You can take three hits before running out of health. You can also collect items throughout the level. A really cool way to gather power-ups and extra health is through an object that appears in the background: a small treasure chest with arrows around it. In order to release the items it holds, you need to place the beam over the treasure chest and rotate it in the direction of the arrows. After several turns, the items will spill out. These little bonuses are helpful, but also add tension to game play. You might be only able to take one more hit, and have to choose between trying to get through the rest of the stage without dying or risk trying to unlock a treasure chest which may or may not have some life in it.  I feel this is a more challenging and organic way to earn items, since it directly tests your skills with the game mechanics. Other objects, like large spheres, can be collided with to destroy environmental objects, and make the path easier to glide through. The stages are separated into regions, each region having about five stages.  

Overall, the art style is very cute and well done. In the lower right corner of the screen, the main character is holding a triple scoop ice cream cone, each scoop representing a point of HP. The character’s face changes according to how much ice cream she has left. There’s a running commentary from the characters throughout some of the stages and the music perfectly matches the frantic pace of the gameplay. The art style is one of the main aspects that draws me to all of Desunoya’s games; they’re always well designed and have a very distinct appearance.

This game can be imported from Japan through Melonbooks and Buy Smart Japan. However, if you want to play some of the developer’s games now, a few of them are available on Steam from Sekai Project. The newest release to be localized is Trapper Princess, which came out just recently.

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