To the daughter I never had.
I went on an adventure with you in my dreams. They seemed to flux around the very space I held between my thumbs and forefingers, and even though you were difficult to control, I very much liked your squigglevision style of animation, your inventive level design, and the ways you offered gameplay that really wouldn’t have fit any other title. In Murasaki Baby, I found you and while I could never speak to you directly about all the things you’re about to learn, I know never to pop your balloon or rain on a parade unless I'm putting out a field full of smoldering matches.
I know not to take you swimming without an electrified duck boat at the ready either. Many years ago, I worked at a local theme park where people could take large swan boats out on a lake. I wore my goofy orange-pylon life vest on the docks and pushed people out so they could pedal forward on their own. While leading this Baby through an adventure proved entertaining and timed just perfectly for the experience within, I don’t know how dream dad would fare stacked up against a slightly nightmarish world only dual-touchscreen portable gaming hardware can provide.
If anything, my chief complaint with our adventure involved my fat, sausage fingers sliding left and right on the PlayStation Vita’s rear touch-panel in all the wrong ways. Murasaki Baby asked me to help you navigate puzzles and while I love intelligent design, I can’t say that every mechanic lends itself to brain-twisting here. We made it to the end and all we had to do was reboot the system after a glitch and suffer a few unfortunate pops. Nothing proved all that difficult.
I needed to ensure that Baby’s balloon went without damage, that the various spike hazards strewn throughout a level wouldn’t catch our heroine, and that new characters she met along the way didn’t make off with the balloon like bandits. If Murasaki Baby is a hellish vision of Lemmings, then it actually does a great job of simplifying the gameplay and focusing more on aesthetics and sound design. The haunting atmosphere sticks with you.
In fact, I’d attest that this horrifying presentation could only match Stuart Smalley’s charm in its genuine desire to be a cute and endearing portable experience… only if Stuart emerged from the depths of hell with that signature smile to utter another affirmation. This time, Murasaki Baby would stand next to him with that curious look on her face in the mirror.
I quickly got lost in our adventure and what was probably about four hours of gameplay boiled down to even less in my mind. At times I couldn’t keep track of where to go, though I quickly recovered if we found a dead end as Baby simply doesn’t want to move. You know when touchscreen mechanics falter because they simply don’t work. It’s not a matter of tapping or dragging on the right part of the screen. It’s a matter of sprites and objects even recognizing my fingers and thumbs.
Still, Murasaki Baby does a great job of introducing a steady climb towards multitasking where inputs on both rear and front touch panels require delicate planning. It wasn’t enough to force several restarts and many puzzles were solved on the first try, but we did it together. When I finally led you past the doors we explored and found friends within, we knew it would end and then it did. You might never want to walk out that scary door at the end, holding you from the wide world outside and that’s okay too, but know that we don’t have tentacle monsters and I doubt you’ll have to electrify the next duck you set sail on.
Code provided by publisher. Exclusive to PlayStation Vita.