Yurukill: The Calumniation Games review: The entire is lower than the sum of its parts

Yurukill: The Calumniation Games

MSRP $49.99

“Yurukill: The Calumniation Games cannot quite find the correct narrative justification for its intriguing gameplay hooks.”


  • Fun shoot ‘em up sections
  • Compelling character backstories
  • Music is great


  • Puzzles are too easy
  • Shoot-em-up sections don’t fit narratively
  • Technical issues

Yurukill: The Calumniation Games tries to mesh two incredibly area of interest genres together: visual novel and shoot ‘em up (shmup). By incorporating each, developer Izanagi Games risks narrowing the sport’s audience down even further. Half of the sport consists of reading through mounds of dialogue between characters to get through the story together with some light puzzle solving. The opposite half has players commandeering a battleship in classic shmup sections and taking down grotesque enemies.

The result’s a wierd mix of various gameplay styles that feel fresh but disjointed. Yurukill: The Calumniation has engaging gameplay mechanics in the course of the spur of the moment, but it surely’s missing a narrative justification that ties all of them together.

Let the games begin

The sport follows two protagonists: Sengoku Shunju and Rina Azami. They’re each participating within the Yurukill Games, where the winner will get acquitted of their crimes. The catch here is that each Sengoku and Rina are partners, with the previous being the Prisoner and the latter being the Executioner.

The Prisoner is accused of committing a criminal offense, while the Executioner acts as a judge to choose the Prisoner’s ultimate fate. Sengoku insists that he’s been falsely accused, but it surely’s Rina who wields the button to either pardon him for his actions or kill him by releasing poison into his neck from his collar. This setup invites some biting and razor-sharp tension between the 2 throughout the sport, as Sengoku continuously must affirm his innocence, lest Rina executes him.

There are several other duos in the sport who’re in the identical dynamic, with each Prisoner being accused of a distinct crime. The groups are called the Crafty Killers, Sly Stalkers, Death Dealing Duo, and Peeping Toms. Sengoku and Rina are often known as the Mass Murderers. Fortunately, each chapter switches points of view for each team. That way you spend ample time between all the characters and also you get a holistic perspective of every of them.

The entire groups are sent to different attractions across Yurukill Land and have to resolve a dungeon based on the crime that the actual Prisoner committed. In these dungeons, you’ll have to assemble evidence in a first-person perspective, much like a point-and-click game. These dungeons recall the events that led the Prisoner to be sent to jail and eventually join the Yurukill Games. You’ll also study each character’s backstories and the way the Prisoners and Executioners are connected. Each dungeon is nicely paced and doesn’t linger past its welcome.

Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

The essential issue with the dungeons is that the puzzles inside them are easy to the purpose of virtually being insulting. To offer you an idea of how easy they’re, one among them had me solve a simple arithmetic equation using the order of operations.

While I appreciate that the puzzles are straightforward and never obtuse like those in similar games just like the Zero Escape series, the brainteasers in Yurukill swing too hard in the wrong way. The sense of urgency and dread of a personality’s life hanging within the balance type of dissipates when a puzzle’s solution is literally just lining up colours of the rainbow within the ROYGBIV order.

After clearing a dungeon, you’ll be placed in a shoot-em-up section against your Executioner — it helps mix up the gameplay experience from being a pure visual novel. You’ll shoot down waves of incoming enemies and gain power-ups along the way in which, after which take down the ultimate boss at the top of the extent.

One thing that helps set these sections aside from dedicated shmup games is that when defeating a stage, you’ll sometimes be thrust right into a mini-game where you have got to present evidence to refute an executioner’s claim. Aside from that, the gameplay is a bit of basic but it surely was fun enough to maintain my attention.

It looks like those sections are solely there only for the sake of getting traditional game elements.

Nonetheless, the way in which Yurukill’s story tries to justify these shmup sections is flimsy. There’s a tonal mismatch with having the characters experience trauma by going through recreations of gruesome crime scenes, after which immediately having to placed on virtual reality helmets to play a shooter. It looks like those sections are solely there only for the sake of getting traditional game elements. The music is great, though. The electrical guitar riffing through the boss theme really amps up the joy of closing out these sections.

Imitation is a type of flattery

Throughout Yurukill, I couldn’t help but take into consideration how similar it was to a different one among NIS America’s published games, Danganronpa. They each have the death game premise and Yurukill also has anime portrait cutouts for its characters that appear during decisive story moments identical to the Danganronpa series does.

The Yurukill Games even has its own Monokuma-like spectator character, a lady in a kitsune mask named Binko. Nonetheless, Yurukill’s art style is distinctive because it goes for a more realistic anime look in comparison with Danganronpa’s cartoon aesthetic — the character designs are more akin to Zero Time Dilemma.

Unfortunately, at the least within the Nintendo Switch version, Yurukill does suffer from performance issues. In visual novel games, you may typically pull up a recent dialogue history with none friction. Nonetheless, there’s an annoying pause hitch that brings up the loading symbol when pulling up past dialogue. Other visual novel games, including the recently released AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative, don’t typically have this problem and cargo immediately, so it’s a noticeable annoyance.

Yurukill has cool concepts, but it surely’s not nearly as polished and optimized as a number of the titles it’s inspired by.

There’s also some slowdown in the course of the shooter sections if there are too many enemy attacks or effects on-screen. In the course of the final boss fight, I bumped into a progress block where the text on the screen wouldn’t advance. After trying several solutions reminiscent of restarting the sport, I used to be eventually in a position to bypass the bug by changing my game’s text language from English to a different one after which switching back.

Yurukill has cool concepts, but it surely’s not nearly as polished and optimized as a number of the titles it’s inspired by. The pause hitching when attempting to pull up past dialogue impedes the sport’s narrative flow. The frame rate dips and stutters that may occur when there’s an excessive amount of happening within the shmup sections may cause you to unintentionally run into an enemy’s attack and lose a life.

Our take

Yurukill: The Calumniation Games is a valiant effort to merge together two area of interest genres but it surely feels a bit underwhelming. The premise of the titular Yurukill Games is interesting and the characters have compelling backstories but there must be more meat and narrative justifications for the shoot-em-up gameplay sections. Without spoiling anything, the sport’s ending is indeed sequel bait. If this game’s shortcomings will be addressed in a follow-up, there’s definitely potential here.

Is there a greater alternative?

The Danganronpa and Zero Escape franchises are higher visual novel experiences with more complex stories and interesting puzzles. Games like Ikaruga and Sine Mora are higher shoot-em-ups as they’re entirely dedicated to that genre’s mechanics.

How long will it last?

The sport will take about 12 hours on the simplest difficulty but may take a bit longer in case you select normal or hard (hell) difficulty for the shoot-em-up sections. There’s also a Rating Attack mode, so you may compete for prime scores online on leaderboards.

Must you buy it?

Yes, but perhaps wait for a price drop. Should you like each genres or are a fan of area of interest Japanese games generally, then Yurukill may be for you. It’s a novel game, but there are definite improvements to be made.

Yurukill: The Calumniation Games was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

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