Originally released back in arcades back in 2008 under the name Mamoru-kun wa Norowarete Shimatta!, Mamorukun Curse! has had its fair share of revisions. It was ported to the 360 the following year and re-released on the PS3 in Japan three years later, adding additional DLC. Thankfully, UFO Interactive has included those additions and upgrades for no extra charge for the game’s U.S. release. But does it leave us short on the action?
Mamorukun Curse! is a cutesy dual-stick shooter that follows several characters in a mildly-entertaining story. Our heroes have recently been deceased, and are suddenly tasked to save the Netherworld from an evil force in an attempt to regain their memories lost upon death. While the plot itself seems a little on the dark side, the shadowy undertones seem to be constantly lost under all the high-pitched dialogue and constant sidetracking. The story has no real depth to it, and seems to just be a vehicle for the characters and setting.
What makes this game interesting is that each character has a different style of shot. Depending on the mode, you choose three to five characters. Each character serves as a life, and when you’re hit and lose that character, you need to adjust your strategy accordingly to the next one in line. The game brings forth a nice challenge when you learn how to utilize each character and work their bullet patterns into each stage for completion.
The curse part of the title comes from your other form of attacking enemies, enhancing the bullet-hell experience. Once charged up, you can destroy enemy projectiles to get out of a tight situation, as well as hit multiple enemies and slow down obstacles. You can also turn the tables and curse yourself for powered-up bullets as well.
One of the bigger issues of the game is its lack of variety. Through the arcade, multi-stage and story modes, you’re traversing the same five stages that change depending on the difficulty chosen. While the bosses all have different ways of being defeated, the game gets repetitive rather quickly when you’re forced to play a small amount of stages.
Another issue for some is the game’s display. Since most shoot-’em-ups are played with a vertical display, the game defaults to compressing everything to fit on a standard, horizontal screen leaving you with one-third gameplay space and two-thirds wallpaper border. Thankfully, you’re able to rotate the game’s display, should you feel the need to turn your TV on its side to experience the game to its fullest, and the game’s challenge modes allow for full-screen play.
Mamorukun Curse! is a fun game geared toward those who enjoy shoot-’em-ups, and provides a decent amount of challenge for those looking to be tested. As the genre doesn’t make it to modern platforms often, it was a nice move for UFO Interactive to publish this game for American audiences. The game serves as a nice stepping stone for someone who might want to look further into the genre.
Pros: Gameplay is challenging, visuals are cute
Cons: Assets are slightly dated, stage variety is lacking