Mushihime puzzle game report

I hopped a train down to Akihabara after work yesterday to get in some shopping and check out the Mushihime puzzle game being demoed/beta tested at Hey.

hey hey hey

Like so many other puzzle games, this one (current working title: “Mushipoko-sama”) seems to be Tetris with a twist. I don’t have much experience with the genre so I don’t know how it rates in the wide world of dropping colored balls onto other colored balls with various unique and aggravating properties, but the game’s schtick is this: buried within these mounds of multicolored balls is a little bug that you need to liberate so that it may fly over to the left of the screen into the welcoming arms of Reko-hime. She sits there on her beetle from the STG, watching and commenting on your progress in a most becoming and jerkily-animated fashion.

As far as I could tell from watching for a few minutes, you progress by dropping balls down a chute to create adjacent sets of three, which then disappear. The balls are arranged in hexes and the remaining ones obey gravity and slip down to fill the gaps created by eliminated sets. After the first stage, balls with different properties (“hard” crystalline ones that must be shattered, bricks that can’t be removed at all, etc.) appear. In addition, as time passes the bottom of the chute is filled with water, effectively raising the tetris floor inch by inch. If you don’t manage to free the captive insect before the water reaches the top of the chute, Reko passes out and you lose a life; freeing the bug moves you to the next level.

Albert over at Moetry.org mentioned something a couple of weeks ago to the effect that companies not typically in the busness of “moe” are using its devices to lure gamers to genres they might not otherwise be interested in, and I have to say that it’s true in this case for me. It’s the Mushihime designs more than anything else that have interested me in the property – both the STG and now the puzzle game – and I’d play both, if they came to a console I owned, just to see her smile when I accomplished a game task successfully. I guess this puts me in some lower level of gamerdom hell but I was probably there already.

It seems that Moetry has already scooped some shots of the game, but I’ll add my own shitty cell phone camera attempt to the mix:

poko

In related Mushihime news, for samples of the visuals and voice present in Mushipoko check out the flash minigame on Cave’s site – one of the funnier game concepts I’ve seen in a while. Also, along with the July 21st release of Mushihime for the PS2 will come a figure of Reko-hime, child version. I prefer the figure that came with the OST, but this one looks pretty cute as well, from the sketch at least… Don’t make me buy a PS2 for this, Cave. Damn your wiles.