Yurukill: I don’t know how to talk exactly about The Calumniation Games. It did so many things that I was completely surprised, so the approach to summarizing it seems inaccurate. All I can say for sure is that I really enjoyed playing it.
But I hate spouting, so I’ll add a simple warning. Yurukill is a mashup of barrage action games and puzzle adventures. It’s part of the attraction, but the balance between the two can put off for enthusiastic fans of both genres. Rich explanations between action sequences can be frustrating for shmup fans, and those seeking a puzzle story can be squeezed by all the bullets they have to avoid.
Thankfully, the developers acknowledged this through difficulty settings and game modes. Playing with Easy makes it virtually impossible to lose the barrage action segment. Also, when completed in story mode, these segments will be unlocked, allowing action fans to tackle more difficult situations and track leaderboard rankings. Thankfully, there are demos that can help you determine where you fit.
Yurukill starts with a wonderful Bonker scenario. A collection of prisoners convicted of murder is given a second chance to prove their innocence at an amusement park on the island (?!). They have to go through various attractions with the help of their partners, which is a kicker. Partners are the surviving victims of the crime and they can always choose to forgive you or execute you based on how well you have done your claim. Finally, one “team” wins and the prisoner gains freedom. Others return to prison (if not executed along the way).
That’s enough, but Yurkir digs deeper. Is there a relationship between these contestants? Who is funding Yurkilland? Why is the “host” Binko wearing a fox mask? What does the national judicial system think about all of this?
Each team (except for the Great Comic Relief Duo) gets a crime-centric puzzle level. These level settings will be more diverse than I initially expected, but they all include logic puzzles to run to move forward. Look for clues in the room and use what you find to unlock the way forward. This is where the details of the crime are investigated and where the prisoner attempts to claim his (or, in some cases, her) innocence. Some of these are a little horrifying, but they are treated with a good sense of humor that always keeps progress light. Arson, stab wounds, mass murders of criminal families, and even idol stalkers appear in the story, but team names like Crafty Killers and Peeping Toms show that we shouldn’t take things too seriously.
These puzzle levels are mainly fun with stories and voice acting in Japanese. Our moderator, Binko, is courageously played by Yu Kobayashi, who I know as Fire Emblem’s Lucina and Attack on Titan Sasha Blouse. She’s great here, going up and down to defeat the eerie sense of humor in the game. However, the puzzle itself is a mixed bag. Some were too easy and some were familiar, and I managed to get over the couple without having a complete understanding of what I did right.
Notice the hint system in the upper right of the image above. I used it several times, but with the help of my eldest son.
After the characters pass through the puzzle, they need to enter the “BR” simulation and protect themselves from the executioner. This is the shmup section of the game. Prior to the battle, prisoners are asked a series of questions about crime. The more you understand it, the more free life you have. With the Easy setting, this can go up to 30. Again, don’t worry if you’re not good at shooting.
The battle is divided into stages, with more (possibly fast) questions in between. The action is a simulation of the executioner’s anger at the prisoner, so it’s up to the prisoner to break that hostility. Be suspicious of your guilt and you will move on. But combat is really important and can be quite fierce even in easy mode (I played … I have to meet the review deadline). There is only one main attack, but doing so enhances the alternative weapons that are unleashed to protect yourself from more destructive shots and troubles. There are also hidden “bincos” that will provide additional life if you can discover them and attack them with special attacks.
The action stage contains multiple boss battles that require the executioner’s “mind wall” and “blood-brain barrier” to be destroyed while avoiding attacks. Throwing some timed quizzes and presentations of proof of Ace Attorney style can eventually go bankrupt.
Yurukill is more successful as a shooting game than a puzzle game, but that’s the story that fascinated me. I really started investing in these characters and their relationships. The story goes to a place where I didn’t expect it, and I didn’t solve the main mystery until just before the big revelation. The game is too long for a particular element, and you may be asked to make inferences based on fairly diagonal clues. However, the pace is stable and the completion time is about 15 hours (also in Easy mode), which does not hurt the welcome. If you played Yurukill in the story, you’re done. When played for action, there are many reasons to continue, including different difficulty levels and the ability to tackle levels on different ships.
In terms of other elements, both graphics and music are great. We recommend that you do not play the game in handheld mode just because complex movements are overloaded at the shmup level. If the animation is too strong, it can slow down the game, but it is not enough to affect gameplay. Also, after defeating the boss, there was one crash and I had to start the combat level from the beginning. not fun.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Yurukill: The Calumniation Games. Barrage and puzzle game hardcore fans may be postponed in the other half, but I was fine with the balance. More importantly, I liked the tones, the characters, and the place where the story took us. The premise and conclusion ask for a sequel. I want to see different genres of mashups for each. I hope that a few specific characters will appear each time.