MURASAKI BABY Review - Games Weekly

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

MURASAKI BABY Review

Murasaki Baby is, as far as I can tell, an art experiment inspired by nightmares someone had (I’m assuming) after injecting a near lethal amount of meth, dropping an acid tab, watching Eraserhead, and falling asleep in a bathtub full of cold water. I theorise that they woke up, smashed their head into their bathroom mirror, and saw themselves reflected back with a mouth on their forehead, teeth dropping out of an upside-down smile. ‘Where’s mummy?’, the reflection asked. ‘Where’s mummy?’
Unfortunately, nightmarish though it is, Murasaki Baby definitely feels more like the work of someone who appreciates David Lynch than the work of Lynch himself.


BABY WANTS TO 
Played almost entirely with the touch screen at the front and the touch pad at the back of the Vita, Murasaki Baby is purposely irritating at times.

You’re leading the eponymous baby (whose mouth is on her forehead, for whatever reason) through various hellscapes by holding her hand and pulling her along. She’s carrying a heart-shaped balloon that you can move, and naturally popping it forces you back to the last checkpoint. The touch pad can change the background and thus allow you to manipulate your environments with various powers.

Over the course of a very short playtime (a bit over two hours) the game whips between numerous different abilities and scenarios, each one sketched out quite well by the game’s twisted, weird art style.

On an artistic level, there’s plenty to admire about Murasaki Baby. While the puzzles are just barely there, the visuals are effectively creepy, and the soundtrack demands headphones so that you can fully appreciate the creepy whispers, unexplained broadcasts and hisses of static the game offers. It’s reminiscent of Limbo, in that it’s trying to evoke a mess of childhood fears and anxieties… but taken as a whole, it’s not particularly effective at evoking anything specific. By the end, it’s hard not to feel like the experience was weird for the sake of being weird, which ultimately leaves the game feeling a tad hollow.
IT’S REMINISCENT OF LIMBO, IN THAT IT’S TRYING TO EVOKE A MESS OF CHILDHOOD FEARS AND ANXIETIES
NOW IT’S DARK
Murasaki Baby comes up with plenty of neat uses for the Vita, and wouldn’t work on any other machine. Yet the simplicity of the puzzles means that the few moments of moderate challenge come from frustration rather than mental workouts. Trying to manipulate multiple objects at once, switching between backgrounds By swiping the touch pad, and leading the baby at a speed faster than a walk are all irritating. This seems like a neat intentional choice at the start, but eventually starts to grate. It’s artistically interesting, with moments of genuine strangeness, but doesn’t seem to have much to say.

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