After roughly a month of on-and-off play, I have finally completed Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure. I originally discovered this game by searching for “cute” on Steam, and was not disappointed. Gurumin is absolutely adorable, and I will fall in love with any game – regardless of gameplay, design, or difficulty – if it is cute enough. Gurumin’s cuteness did not have to mask any problems, however. It is a fun, wacky, charming action RPG, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested in games of such a nature. It’s only ten bucks on Steam right now, and it will probably go on sale as Christmas approaches.
Gurumin stars Parin (I’ve been pronouncing it pah-REEN, but I could be wrong), a little girl who comes to live with her Grandpa while her parents are away on some wacky adventure of their own. She almost immediately runs into a “monster,” an adorable little flower-girl named Pino. Parin drop kicks a dog, crawls through a hole, finds a large pneumatic drill, and suddenly finds herself fighting to save a group of monsters living in Monster Village from the evil Phantoms. It’s all ridiculously silly, but Parin just sort of goes along with everything and doesn’t ask many questions. This innocent charm is positively endearing. Here are the bad guys, here’s a drill, now get out there and kick some butt!
What makes Gurumin so enjoyable for me – other than the overwhelming cuteness, obviously – is that the combat is very fun and interesting. Parin has a ton of moves at her disposal, including basic attacks, jumping homing attacks, a launcher, charge moves, combos, dodges, and huge jumping blasts that annihilate most Phantoms in front of you. I enjoyed experimenting with all of these moves and finding out which ones worked best in which situations. Some enemies will simply walk up to you and accept their drill beatings, but others wear armor that must be destroyed with certain moves before you can hurt them. Some enemies fly around, some play keep-away, and some have devastating projectile attacks. This enemy variety keeps the combat fresh and forces you to change up your tactics to deal with different situations.
In addition to Phantom smacking there’s also plenty of platforming, and I won’t lie – the platforming can be pretty brutal at times. Some areas are filled with lava and skinny little platforms that Parin must meticulously navigate lest she meet her fiery death… except there are no instant deaths in this game, as Gurumin is very forgiving. Falling off a cliff or into a lava pit simply restarts you at the beginning of the room and docks a few points of health. This means you won’t have to worry about dying and restarting the level, but if your jumping skills aren’t on-point, you can end up stuck in a room for a good while! I didn’t mind this. Gurumin goes out of its way to ensure that you have plenty of health and items to get through each dungeon, so the real challenge comes from completing levels as quickly and not-embarrassingly as possible, while finding all of the secret areas and collecting all the goodies. Gurumin is still fun and challenging in spite of its forgiving nature.
The graphics are a nice, colorful, cel-shaded style which works very well. The music is well-written and insidiously catchy at times, and the voice acting is well-done and exudes that innocent charm that this games revels in. If a cutesy 3D platformer beat ’em up starring a little girl with a giant power drill sounds interesting at all, I heartily suggest you get it. Gurumin is one of the best games I’ve played this year, and I’m very happy I went with my gut and bought it. Get out there and show them your Super Pretty Missile Kick!