A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story is set in a fantastical world with no dialogue, minimal interaction with strange characters, and motives that are rarely clear.
Positive Role Models
You play as a little girl who's looking for her mother in a strange world. But it's unclear why she's there or what the goals are for the creatures she interacts with, which makes it hard to tell whether they're positive or negative.
Ease of Play
The game relies almost entirely on the front and rear touchpads of the Vita for navigation. Although the actions are pretty clear and simple, it's often difficult to touch all the points you need to get to while holding the device and still see the screen. Those with smaller hands may find it nearly impossible. Some puzzles also require a lot of fine motor skill and coordination.
Violence & Scariness
There's no blood or gore, and Baby doesn't really die, but there are some creepy characters that harass her. Younger kids might find it scary.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Murasaki Baby is a strange, mildly creepy downloadable puzzle platformer. Other than some Tim Burton-esque graphics and a slightly warped sense of humor (beware falling teeth -- they can pop a balloon!), there's little objectionable content here. The game is based on the main character being separated from her mother, which could bring up separation-anxiety fears. Baby's "life" is symbolized by the balloon. If it's popped, you'll revert back to the most recent save point. The biggest concern is really whether or not a child can handle the controls necessary to navigate the game and solve the puzzles. The PS Vita is a large device, and players with small hands simply may not be able to use both the front and rear touchpads at the same time. And there are no alternate controls. Very young children might find the story a bit upsetting and the characters unsettling, but it's not any worse than you'd find in a Doctor Seuss story.
Is It Any Good?
Muraski Baby has a compelling premise and some wonderfully weird graphics. It's a delight to just look at all the details in the background and the environments. Plus, it has a uniquely emotional component, especially for parents or those who've had close relationships with toddlers. It doesn't take long for you to feel personally responsible for this cooing, tearful, scared little girl. You can't help but want to protect her. But there are two flaws. One is that the game is on the short side. This isn't the worst thing, as it's often better to end before things get too frustrating. Unfortunately, requiring players to use only the touchpads makes everything more frustrating than it needs to be. It's very difficult, even as an adult, to juggle multiple touchpoints on the front of the PS Vita, swipe on the back, and actually be able to see where you're going. When timing comes into play, it can be infuriating. It's also easy to accidentally tap or swipe the back touchpad while trying to use the front screen.
Baby's not the easiest kid to get around, but what toddlers are? She's afraid of everything and won't progress if it's too dark or too creepy. If she's startled, she may even let go of her balloon, and you know what that means. Thankfully, Murasaki Baby has frequent auto-save points. They often occur just after each major puzzle point, so if you can get past it, you're usually ready to move on to the next spot. This is an interesting and unique game. The puzzle-solving techniques also are innovative, and they truly shine when you're forced to swap between screens and techniques at the end of the game. It's just too bad that the same things that make Murasaki Baby cool in theory can cause a lot of frustration in practice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.