Our Score: 8/10
In Yurukill: The Calumniation Games convicted prisoners must navigate a variety of attractions in Yurukill Land in order to clear their identities. They will be exonerated of their purported misdeeds if they and their Executioner companions win the Yurukill Games.
Prove your innocence or die. In Yurukill: The Calumniation Games takes the “death” visual novel games and adds an interesting twist on it. Because this game also doubles as a shmup. For those unfamiliar with a shmup, they’re often known as “shoot ’em up,” games. In which the player must shoot at a huge number of enemies while evading their fire. It’s all about twitch reactions and quick decisions.
Shoot to Thrill
Yurukill’s plot puts an intriguing twist on the ‘deadly gameshow’ cliche. Sengoku, the main character, and a few others who have been wrongfully convicted of murder. They awaken on a ship en route to a remote theme park in the middle of nowhere. When they arrive, they are paired up with the victims of their alleged crimes. And forced to work together to discover the truth.
The real sting is that many victims are already persuaded their partners are the true perpetrators. To make matters worse, they have a ‘Kill’ switch on hand that may instantaneously inject a deadly dosage of poison into the accused if they believe no one else could have done the act.
Escape Your Destiny
The point-and-click escape room sections have a similar concept to other games. While some of these riddles may appear to be straightforward to solve at first look, they may leave players scratching their heads. Fortunately, no one should have a nervous breakdown like our big-beaked buddy, because each puzzle has three helpful recommendations. Even better, there are no penalty points. Simply utilise them if you’re stuck, or spam advice until you find the answer.
When it comes to the shmup part, though, here is when the things get real. Yurukill gets a lot more intense, especially on the harshest setting, Hell mode. And, yeah, there are clearly harder games in the shmup genre than this. But Yurukill will still give veterans a fight for their money.
Fortunately, there are other characters to play as in the story and arcade modes, each with their own distinct set of abilities. Some are quicker or stronger in general, while others can shoot in all directions or inflict greater damage while in close proximity. I enjoyed playing through the game on Normal and trying out each pilot, then selecting my favourite and replaying all of the unlocked courses on Hell mode. While the shoot ’em up gameplay only amounts to roughly 20-25 percent of the game’s duration, the forced character swapping is still a little off-putting.
During some areas of a bullet-hell story segment, the pilot will be asked particular questions regarding the story. And your lives will be gained or lost based on their responses. These sections, in my opinion, are excellent instances of gameplay-story integration. I enjoyed the enemy diversity and boss battles, since the pilot is frequently forced to battle them numerous times with slightly varied attack patterns, which keeps the player on their toes.
Look of a Yurukiller
The graphic style of Yurukill: The Calumniation Games was one of the first things that drew my attention. I’ve always liked anime art done in this style, and it matches the game’s darker tone perfectly. The attention to detail in the visual novel portions is absolutely astounding. This truly let you immerse yourself in the scenario as they told you about the heinous atrocities these criminals may have done. Even the riddles in the game were designed with a lot of flare.
The music here is also excellent. The tunes of each chapter complement the tale they convey quite well, and as the plot is mostly dark and mysterious, expect some incredibly unsettling music. While those tunes were fantastic, my favourite music was in the shmup phases. There are several lively music that assault your eardrums while you annihilate all opposing forces. This is all capped up by some incredible boss music.
Yurukill: The Calumniation Games is an interesting visual-novel shmup death game that will sure to keep you on your toes throughout the game. Its art style is great, the music is fantastic and the gameplay elements are integrated really well.