Murasaki Baby

Game review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Murasaki Baby Game Poster Image
A girl, a balloon, creepy graphics, tricky controls.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


What 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.

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What's it about?

MURASAKI BABY is the story of an odd little girl and her balloon. She wakes up calling for her mother and sets out in search of her. You'll take Baby by the hand and guide her through the game's strange world, teaching her how to avoid obstacles, nudging her forward when she's scared, and protecting her balloon from foes and elements. The balloon represents Baby's life in the story. No harm comes to her (although she may fall off a cliff or into deep waters), but if something happens to the balloon or she lets go of it, you'll return to the last save point. Baby must traverse a series of landscapes, each with their own obstacles and characters. The characters are odd, occasionally mischievous, and always unexpected. Each landscape has multiple backdrops with their own features (such as wind, rain, snow, or a wall of TV sets) that you'll need to use to get past obstacles in Baby's way. You switch between backdrops by swiping two fingers on the rear touchpad, and you activate features by tapping once on the rear screen. Perhaps you'll need to fill a moat by making it rain or power a machine with a bolt of lightning. The creatures might help you scare away an angry cat, or they may try to steal Baby's balloon. You never know what you're going to get or just how Baby will react, but by the end of this wacky journey, you'll probably end up quite attached to Baby -- and she to you. 

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about young kids being separated from a parent or finding themselves lost, like the main character in Murasaki Baby. Kids: What should you do? Do you know your parents' names and phone numbers? Who else could you contact?

  • Draw your own Murasaki Baby level. What would the creatures look like? How would you interact with the background?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

Themes & Topics

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