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 Afringe Home / Reviews / Kuru Kuru Kururin 01/21/2021 



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Kuru Kuru Kururin
Game Boy Advance
The only GBA game worth importing.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Kuru Kuru Kururin
By Jake Forbes

Let's face it. Handheld game systems and puzzle games are a match made in heaven. What other genre features almost infinitely replayable levels, can entertain gamers no matter how short their play session, and feature gameplay mechanics that even a grown-up can understand? Nintendo and Sega know the universal appeal of puzzle games; the original Game Boy and Game Gear shipped with Tetris and Columns respectively. Sadly, long gone are the days of packing a game with new systems (what's with that!?), but Nintendo made sure to have at least a couple of puzzle games available for the GBA's launch. The wonderful Chu Chu Rocket is coming to America this June, but the other puzzle game, the quirky rotating stick game Kuru Kuru Kururin, is not. Hopefully Nintendo will bring this game over soon, as it's quite possibly the most fun you'll have on the new system.

The gameplay in Kuru is incredibly simple: navigate a rotating stick through a maze without hitting anything. Well, actually you can hit a couple of things, as you have a heart meter that measures your damage. As you progress through the many mazes, you'll come upon spring bumpers that send you rotating in the other direction, spiky cannon balls that will try to shatter your stick, and heart chambers that refill your life.

It's all about the timing, as you try to squeeze your sticky around curves to match your rotation. All of Kuru's levels have little rest stops where you can safely let your stick 360* while you get your bearings, but to truly master the game you'll have to send your stick speeding nonstop through the often enormous levels. Once you've beaten the 35 story levels, you can use your navigation skills on 50 challenge levels. Each level has preset computer high scores, and getting beating these by getting a low time can be very difficult. While it's OK to occasionally hit walls in you're just trying to beat a level and move on, it's crucial that you don't to beat the high score, because every tap adds 3 seconds to your time.

If you have a link cable and a friends with a GBAs you can race each other through Kuru's levels with up to 4 players. Unfortunately, the other players' sticks are just ghosts, so there's no real interaction. Still, it's good that Nintendo is including multi-player in whatever games they can.

The controls are about the simplest since Pac Man. The D-Pad moves your stick in any direction, and the A & B buttons speed you up. As I can't read the Japanese instructions, I didn't know this until after I had almost beaten the game, but holding A & B together will give you a major turbo boost. The L & R shoulder buttons honk one of two different horns, a cute feature that has no effect on gameplay whatsoever.

What Japanese game would be complete without having something to collect? Kuru Kuru Kururin is no exception. There are 15 different stick designs, 7 fire-extinguisher looking thingies (what do they do!?), and 10 little bird friends, all hidden throughout the game's 35 story mode levels. The little birds that you collect will sit on your stick and fly away when you hit something or honk your horn. They serve no practical purpose, but they sure are cute in the little cinemas between levels.

Who but a Japanese game developer would feel compelled to give a puzzle game a story? In Kuru, you control a little blue bird with a cowlick who must rescue his 10 little friends who have either gotten lost or kidnapped (I'm inclined to say the latter, since the last level is a menacing castle). Your guide throughout the game is an adorable bunny in a pilot's suit. I'm sure he's saying something witty in those adorable Sanrio-esque cinemas, but I really don't know what's going on. Of course, backstory in a puzzle game is like characterization in a first-person shooter. It's a nice afterthought by the game designers, but you certainly don't need it.

Graphically, Kuru Kuru Kururin. With simulated 3-D backgrounds, multiple planes of motion, and colorful, highly detailed levels, Kuru really takes advantage of what the GBA offers. The music is great two, changing to fit the mood of the worlds you navigate through, from candyland to a spooky castle.

If you're looking to import a Game Boy Advance, I strongly recommend picking Kuru Kuru Kururin as one of your first games. It's as addictive as Bust-A-Move (aka Puzzle Bobble), but with more action-oriented levels. The ultra-cute design will probably keep this game from appealing to the average American gamer, but for the otaku gamer, that makes it all the more appealing.

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