Have you ever been stuck in video game limbo? Finding yourself sifting through your game library, seeing which games you’ve half played and should revisit as you wait for the next new game to come out? Perhaps you’re tired of your AAA title games and you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path. Today I will start sharing with you games I’ve played that I have found to be hidden gems. These games are not mainstream, but should be on your list of ‘things to play before I die’.
Today we’re putting Muramasa Rebirth for the Playstation Vita on that list. Developed by Vanillaware, Muramasa Rebirth is a rerelease of Muramasa: The Demon Blade which first released on the Wii. This rerelease utilizes the Vita’s OLED graphics to bring the hand drawn artwork of this game to life.
Muramasa is a metroidvania slasher game. Progress through bosses and levels by forging over 100 different powerful swords while playing as either Momohimie, a princess who has been possessed be an evil spirit; or Kisuke, a ninja who is searching for his lost memory. As a completionist I played as both so I could unlock all of the swords and all possible endings. While the story is a bit dull, all of the characters are likeable. What made this game most memorable for me was exploring all of the colorful environments and going back through other maps to break down barriers I wasn’t strong enough to break down before.
All of the monsters you face in this game are based off of traditional Japanese mythology. Bosses and monsters get progressively harder and each monster you encounter is unique and true to its origins. Each blade you forge possess its own unique power and the game allows you to have multiple blades equipped at once. Allowing you more versatility with special attacks for fighting difficult bosses.
One thing I found that I secretly enjoy is cooking. In this game you can collect raw foods to cook in the wild, or you can head to a nearby café and grab a quick bite. Cooking restores health and also provides buffs which can be useful before heading off to face a mighty foe. Why did I secretly enjoy this? It has something to do with my obsession with small things, look how detailed and pretty these snacks are. They also animate as you tap the buttons as if you’re eating them. I can’t be the only one who thinks this is adorable.
Overall this game has a well-deserved 81/100 on Metacritic. It has great replayability, fun level design, stunning art and a pleasant sound track. It even has DLC that introduces four new playable characters! This game is simple to pick up and play, but with bosses and monsters that are difficult enough to feel skillful. Be prepared for a little bit of grinding to unlock other swords. For me this never really felt like a chore, but a chance to go back and explore areas more in depth while I hunted for souls. You can find a copy for around $20 (not including the four DLC installments) you’ll get all the bang for your buck; Muramasa Rebirth is a must have for any PSVita owner.