Review: Muramasa belongs in the Louvre

I’m often told I’m superficial, a falsehood to which I take offense—of course, I once dumped a girl who looks like Alyssa Milano because she doesn’t look enough like Alyssa Milano, so my gripes seem mute.

In my defense, the girl hasn’t worked with Tony Danza, either.

Aside from highlighting my dating record, my point is she wasn’t impervious to criticism. Neither is the lovely Muramasa. Vanillaware’s labor of love does almost everything right, but there are a few areas in which the game is lacking, particularly in regard to backtracking great distances—be prepared for lots of walking—and jumping.

Let’s be honest. Pressing up on the analog stick to jump is a pain in Smash Bros. games, and it isn’t exactly ideal for Muramasa, either.

While we’re riding the honesty train, here’s another little nugget of truth’I’m just nitpicking. While playing Muramasa, I dealt with the jumping and enjoyed the backtracking, which provided the chance to further enjoy the game’s art and musical score—it’s sweeping and excellent, by the way—without the pressure of attacking ninjas.

That’s not to say the flaws weren’t evident. It’s just that Muramasa is such a fantastic, stunning and enjoyable game, I simply didn’t care.

Is Muramasa for you? That depends on your expectations. Jump in expecting the depth of an obscure Japanese RPG, and you’ll likely be disappointed in Muramasa’s linear, RPG-lite approach to the genre. If you fall into any other classification of video game lover, though, it’s virtually impossible not to recommend this truly remarkable title.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is not only one of the best 2D games of this generation, but one of the most beautiful games of all-time.

For its unparalleled artistic style and presentation, platform-defining graphics and mercilessly addictive gameplay, Vanillaware’s magnum opus Muramasa: The Demon Blade collects all four Infendo stars.

Review based on retail copy of Muramasa: The Demon Blade provided by publisher, which also provided Muramasa t-shirt and art booklet.