Muramasa: The Demon Blade Game Poster Image

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Artsy Japanese platformer with mature themes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players battle evil creatures in an attempt to restore peace to a chaotic world. There are, however, some strange and potentially disturbing themes, including demonic possession of the player character’s body.  Some scenes depict female characters as little more than sexual objects.

Positive role models

Despite their violent tendencies, our characters are clearly working for the forces of the good. They display courage and tenacity when outnumbered and in difficult situations.

Ease of play

A five minute tutorial teaches players most of what they’ll need to know for the game’s duration, but with the expectation that they will remember some fairly complex and somewhat unintuitive control patterns. There are a couple of difficulty levels from which to choose. Unless you are a veteran player of action games, we suggest trying the “Muso” (normal) setting before “Shura” (hard).


Frequent battles involve a variety of blades. Quick sword swipes are sometimes depicted with dark red arcs but there is no blood; characters disappear in a puff of ghostly smoke when defeated.


Some female characters are depicted as sexual objects, including one who has an enormous, swaying bosom. Certain characters make reference to prostitution, using the word “harlot” and suggesting that girls are for sale at an in-game establishment.


The word “Hell” appears in text dialogue several times.


Not an isssue.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The player’s character consumes healing beverages that bear the names of Japanese wine and spirits, including sake and amazake.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this action/platformer is filled with violence and themes best suited for a slightly older audience. Players spend most of their time in battle against villainous ninjas and spirits. They use a variety of bladed weapons to attack, but there is no blood; enemies disappear in puffs of colorful smoke. When damaged, our heroes imbibe alcoholic beverages to restore health. Note, too, that players will be confronted with metaphysical issues, including demonic possession and the afterlife. Parents may also want to consider that certain scenes depict women as little more than sexual objects (one character has a large, swaying bosom that shows deep cleavage).

What's it about?

MURAMASA: THE DEMON BLADE is a bit unlike anything most players will have previously encountered. A side-scrolling action game with platforming elements, it has an artistic design that can only be described as a Japanese drawing come to life. All of the game’s environments and characters have been drawn by hand before being transferred to the digital domain, which consequently makes the game feel almost like an old-fashioned -- but exquisitely detailed -- hand animated cartoon. As it happens, this aesthetic fits both the story -- which has the tone of an old Japanese fable -- and play. You take on the roles of a pair of conventionally clad Japanese warriors who use a variety of blades with varying powers to fight evil ninjas and spirits in a quest to restore peace to a world overrun by malicious and chaotic forces. Just be aware that the game’s themes border on the mature -- expect serious talk about spirituality, the afterlife, and demonic possession.

Is it any good?


Muramasa’s primary attraction is its presentation. Its hand-drawn design is both unique and beautiful, and lends the experience a grace and elegance typically absent in most hack ‘n’ slash games. The traditional Japanese narrative, which doesn’t shy away from difficult metaphysical subjects, helps immerse players even more in this compelling fantasy world.

If only the action was as innovative as the art. Players hop around environmental platforms (in the form of, say, tree branches), collect various items (such as wispy spirits), and hack at our enemies in a variety of ways by pressing buttons and tilting the control stick this way and that. The mechanics are polished and the play is fun, but it feels downright quaint next to the game’s wholly fresh visuals. Muramasa is unlikely to disappoint, but it could have been even better.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about art in games. Most game makers settle on maintaining the status quo, providing players with characters and environments that are almost interchangeable between titles. What did you think of Muramasa’s artistic design? Do you think it was more or less difficult to create than what you’ve seen in other games? Did you like it, or did it feel out of place? Would you like to see more designers veer away from the sort of graphics we expect to see in our games?

  • Families can also discuss fictional depictions of spirituality, religion, and the afterlife, comparing and contrasting these examples with their own beliefs. Can learning about the spiritual views of other cultures help you better understand your own?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Ignition Entertainment
Release date:September 11, 2009
ESRB rating:T for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes

This review of Muramasa: The Demon Blade was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byFedor1an May 24, 2014

Great Game

I (as a 13 year old kid) have much respect and knowledge for video games. I have played many classic, underrated, and mainstream games, and I know when something is good or not. Believe me when I say that this is a fantastic game. It has a wonderful art style that's based on traditional Japanese artwork, a great metroidvania (just google the word) feel to it, and controls smoother than temple run. However, I say it's good for ages 12 and up because some younger kids may not have respect for it. I'm not saying that they won't, heck, they probably will. It's just that I know a kid who will play nothing but Mario, and is never open to new ideas. Now Mario games are in fact terrific games of high quality and caliber and should be praised, but he is not open to anything. That's all I'm worried about. And also some of the boss fights may be found a bit scary by kids less than 6. In short, this is a great game with plenty to offer, and nothing that parents would be worried about.
Teen, 14 years old Written byReviewBoy November 7, 2009
One thing you forgot to mention is the hot tub scene. The hot tub is like a water filled cavern, and the two protagonists are scantily clad. Kisuke, the male hero, wears a sumo wrestler type loincloth. Momohime, the female hero, is holding a towel in front of her body, exposing the back. But, considering the game camera is side view, there isn't much revealing in that instance. But parents may want to avoid that scene considering they are both taking a bath together, clothed.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bySynchronicity September 18, 2009

Vanillaware's done it again

If I can sum this game up in 3 words, they would be: beautiful breathtaking action. For those of you who don't know, Vanillaware, the creators of this game, are a Japanese developer that became famous in the US after their game Odin Sphere came out. That game was an RPG which was heavily based off of Norse mythology. Their newest game, Muramasa, is a hack-n-slash with the same beautiful graphics and mythology-based story as Odin Sphere (albeit involving Japanese mythology instead of Norse). You play as either Kisuke, a ninja, or Momohime, a princess. Each character has 3 katanas, or Japanese swords. (There are 108 in all to collect, or so I hear.) Combat in this game is flawless. The graphics are some of the best 2D graphics I've ever seen, and I've played Guilty Gear and Blazblue. Gameplay is easy, so long as you use the Gamecube controller or Classic Controller instead of the Wii-mote. This game's rated T mostly because of the suggestive references, mainly a boss character with big breasts. However, if your kid's a fan of anime, they've probably seen characters like that. Also, one way to regain health in this game is by drinking sake, amazake, and umeshu, among other Japanese spirits. Finally, the violence is about the level of an E10-rated game. Just basic hacking and slashing, nothing too serious. Overall, this is a really good game, and any Wii owner who has a taste for the offbeat should definitely give Muramasa at least a rental.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex