Mamorukun Curse! is a 2-D top-down classic styled arcade shooter, downloadable from the PSN store for PS3. Choose from a selection of cute but deadly anime type characters as they save the netherworld by mowing down demons and dodging an endless supply of bullets and projectiles. Because of the Asian settings and enemies based on monsters from Japanese folklore, it kind of reminds me of Taito’s classic shooter Kiki Kaikai, or better known as Pocky and Rocky when its sequels were brought to the Super Nintendo in the US.
Just as in other shooters of this ilk, fire at anything that moves. Each character has different shot patterns. To collect bonus point items and other power-ups, just stop firing and they’ll be pulled toward you. There are two ways to control the game. You can assign shooting to the button and change direction manually, or fire by aiming the right analog stick in whichever direction you please. I recommend the second way, it’s easier.
The gimmick in this game is the Curse Bullet, a separate special shot that can do a multitude of things. If you charge it and then fire, it’ll send a huge enemy destroying wave to the end of the screen. But if you don’t charge it, it’ll make a curse circle appear near the middle of the playfield. Any large enemy that gets inside this circle will be cursed and will have bullets fired upon it for extra damage. But if you get inside the curse circle, you’ll get cursed, too! But that’s a good thing because it powers up your shots temporarily! Curse Bullets also destroy any projectiles that are on the screen. So any way you look at it, you’ll want to utilize Curse Bullets as much as you can in the game!
The only problem I had with this shooter is that I don’t think they explained the different controls and how to use Curse Bullets very well in the instructions. Granted, it’s a shooter so the controls really aren’t that complicated, but it did take a bit of extra fiddling around to figure things out.
But for an arcade shooter, there are actually quite a bit of gameplay modes to keep you busy. Challenge single stages and bosses in the Netherworld Adventure mode, and upload your high scores to leaderboards. Or just practice the challenges. There’s also an Arcade Mode with unlimited continues, and a Story Mode with a more robust plot. Stages have branching pathways to explore, too. You can also unlock tons of pictures and artwork to view in the gallery, and multiple difficulty selections mean that players of all skill levels can enjoy it. Which is good for me, because even though I love classic styled arcade shooters, I really stink at them! UFO Interactive did a good job in bringing this particular shooter to the US.
Mamorukun Curse! is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Mild Language, and Use of Tobacco. You do shoot down monsters with magical looking bullets, but they just explode and disappear when defeated. There is one scene in the story mode where it looks like someone gets hit by a car, but you don’t really see anything. Some of the characters are a little underdressed, but I didn’t notice hardly any bad language at all, and I didn’t see anyone using or smoking tobacco. Maybe I just wasn’t observant enough, or they are used very sparingly. Younger players might get frustrated at the difficulty, even on the easiest settings, so it’s probably best enjoyed by older kids anyway. The game might even be considered educational as it may encourage kids to learn more about Japanese myths and monsters. At least that’s how it was for me when I played Pocky and Rocky back in the day.