Mina & Michi (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Mina is a young girl who befriends a monster named Michi.  Together they’ll explore an 8-bit forest maze of the four seasons, solving puzzles and defeating baddies in top down fashion along the way.  Control each character separately, even in single player mode, in this game that’s available for nearly all current game consoles, but reviewed on PS4 here.

If you are playing single player, you’ll move Mina with the left analog stick and Michi with the right.  Michi, being a monster, can walk right through enemies without being damaged, but Mina loses hearts when she touches an enemy.  If you lose all your hearts, it’s Game Over and you must start in the last area you entered.  Mina and Michi must work together to gather keys that open gates and chests, as well as items like an amulet that lets Mina fire projectiles to attack enemies, as well as extra health hearts and more!  You’ll mostly solve block and switch pushing puzzles to progress, and sometimes even fight a boss.  Most of the enemies you run across are little round slimes.

I like the 8-bit visuals, but playing in single player mode gets a bit tedious after a while, especially since all the mazes and rooms start to look the same.  An in-game map would’ve helped, I think.  This game is best when played with another person.  It kind of reminds me of an old Japan-only arcade game called The Return of Ishtar, but only die-hard Namco fans would know what that is.

Kid Factor:

Mina & Michi is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You can fire little pellets at cute monsters that just poof away when defeated.  And when Mina loses all her hearts, she just sits down and waves or cries (not sure which).  Reading skill is needed for some of the text.  Younger gamers might want to play as the monster, since he can’t get hit by enemies, and an older player can be Mina.

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