Some games just don’t get the love they deserve. This Nintendo Wii platformer is now a decade old. And we’ve decided to honour its excellence here today. Kore o yarou (これをやろう – “Let’s do this”)!
Muramasa: Demon Blade
Muramasa reminds us a great deal of Mischief Makers on the Nintendo 64. It was a sidescroller in an era when they weren’t overly popular.
Since the indie game explosion in recent years, modern 2D platformers have enjoyed a mighty resurgence.
And we feel Muramasa: Demon Blade by Vanillaware (one of Capcom’s subsidiaries) would be a hit these days. Or a cult classic. But as it stands, it’s an obscure gem from the Wii’s catalogue.
Although Muramasa also enjoyed a PS Vita release in 2013, the series is since finito.
As the console featured a lot of shovelware and cheap family-friendly games trying to make a quick buck, gamers often forget the Wii also had a mass of excellent titles.
The action role-playing game is fast and, yes, it’s bloody furious as well. And it met with critical acclaim on release – check out this decade old IGN review.
Set in the Edo period of Japan, you star as the protagonists Momohime and Kisuke. They’re out to do battle against the ruling Shōgun and its destructive ways.
There are big dollops of fantasy at play, as Demon Blades are causing folks to behave in erratic fashion. Your job? Sort that bloody mess out, sir or madam!
And most engaging it is, too. Yes! A frenetic platformer with innovative concepts and a huge emphasis on combat.
That title, by the way, is a homage to Sengo Muramasa. He was a famous swordsmith who lived over 500 years ago.
Demon Blade is steeped in Japanese history. There’s even a homage to Hokusai’s the Great Wave off Kanagawa in one of the boss battles.
With the sharp visual style, you also get a pretty relentless soundtrack. It largely consists of fast-paced rock tracks with elements of traditional Japanese music interlayed.
Various composers and producers were involved on it – it’s unusual to have such a wide range all at once. Some who worked on the project include Mitsuhiro Kaneda, Masaharu Iwata, and Noriyuki Kamikura.
Overall it’s he type of soundtrack that doesn’t appeal to us. So many of the tracks are basically the same, slightly rearranged and in a different tempo.
You compare that to what Ōkami’s clever and far-reaching sountrack did and there’s not much comparison here.
Heck, for Murasama it at least fits the furious nature of the game. It’s relentless. The music is, also, so why not?
Overall, the game is intense and you don’t pay too much attention to the noises it makes – other than the grunts and the Japanese voiceover work.
And we do hope Muramasa: Demon Blade gets a new lease of life at some point. Say, on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a great entertainment – if you still have your Wii, hunt a copy down.