Reader Review: Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Alastair does, as he follows up his hack with a stylised slash.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

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This review was submitted by Alastair Christie. If you’ve played Muramasa, or just want to ask Alastair more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a much hyped side-scrolling action RPG from Vanillaware, famed for only making 2D games.


Nippon: Like Okami's, Muramasa's world feels Japanese. The architecture, monkeys in hot springs, kappas, Hokusai's wave off Kanagawa, to little details like Jizo statues, topped by all spoken dialogue being in Japanese, is a dream for those with an interest in Japan.

I can't believe it's on Wii: Being sold on the game solely by its graphics probably makes me a graphics whore. Oh well. Stunning and highly detailed 2D with what looks like up to ten layers of fore and background depth. Just like seeing Hyrule field in 3D for the first time had me stopping and weeping with fanboy joy, so did Muramasa's world.

Old and New: The old, 2D, offers purity and critically speed of movement. The new, lite RPG elements, sword forging (108 in total), sword durability and cooking systems, do seem like padding, until you get owned in boss battles because you neglected them.


Basic: All attacks but the special are handled with A and the (hurray!) d-pad. Not having many moves was exacerbated by starting with all abilities. It left me yearning for the two playable characters to play differently, or wield ninjustu, hammers or twin daggers and not just massive swords.

Design weaknesses: It’s the least painful backtracking ever, given the beauty, but there is a lot. Blocking and attacking using the same button can be frustrating.

With New Super Mario Bros., A Boy and His Blob and now this, we've had three full retail 2D titles released in Australia in three weeks. Muramasa shows the strengths and admirably mostly covers the limitations of 2D to offer a stunning, albeit somewhat basic hack and slasher.

Reviewed by: Alastair Christie

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    I was also a little disappointed with the fact that the two characters play identically. I was expecting them to be fairly similar, but was hoping they may have switched it around a little, even something simple like making Momohime slightly faster but hit with less power.

    I'd also probably gripe about some of the boss fights being frustrating. Momohime's final boss was immensely annoying because of the fact that it required you to jump with precision into specific areas while things are falling and trying to knock you away from where you need to go.

    Aside from that, though, the game is very good. The combat is fluid and really didn't get old despite that there's not a huge amount of variation in it. Also really appreciated the fact that you could ditch the Wiimote and plug in a gamecube controller - if you have one, I seriously suggest that you do this, your hands will appreciate it.

    I really hope that Vanillaware's next game ends up on PS3 or 360, though. The beauty of their games is kind of reduced when you're playing at such low resolutions, and I think that given HD hardware they could make something absolutely stunning.

    Nice Review. I've just bought the game and cant wait to play it!

    I'm disliking the fact that there isn't a button specifically to jump - even with the classic controller. Pressing up seams awkward. Minor issue I know - for an awesome looking game.

      if you don't hate brawl's controls, you'll be right with this.

    Been waiting for this game, but to my disappointment that retail store I pre-order with informed me with the following.
    "Namco Bandai Partners Australia (formerly Atari Australia) have today informed us that Muramasa: The Demon Blade will only be available for purchase in Australia from JB HiFi."

    Now I have to hunt a copy down.

      lame. i was planning to buy from that place too as it wasn't on jb's catalog, until it suddenly showed up in store early.
      1st punchout, now this.

    I got this game for Christmas and been loving it.

    The look and feel of the game is the biggest strong point of the game as well as the light-RPG elements, sword forging and different lands to explore (even if the back-tracking is a bit of a pain with lack of transport).

    While the game does suffer from basic gameplay, Muramasa is one of the best Wii games I've played.

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