This might sound like a surprising comparison to make fora game that paints its somewhat macabre world using a palette born of Tim Burton movies and Edward Gorey illustrations, but there’s something of Tearaway in Murasaki Baby. Not in terms of aesthetics, of course, nor even of particular mechanics. Rather, their similarity lies in the fact that Murasaki Baby is a game that’s been constructed with the Vita in mind from the outset.

Instead of controlling the small child that is the game’s protagonist using the thumbsticks, as you would in any other title, you must use the touchscreen to hold their hand and lead them through the world. That you have little control of the game’s star is interesting in and of itself she will refuse to move forward if scared, will occasionally bolt off into danger and so on and there are moments where
the game smartly leverages that unique aspect to draw out powerful reactions from the protective bond you form.


As well as using the Vita’s touch screen in order to interact with Murasaki Baby’s dark and twisted world, the rear touchpad frequently comes into play, representing as it does the primary means of solving the puzzles that you need to overcome in order to progress. Swiping across the touchpad will change the nature of the world itself, as delineated by a swap of background,a change of colour and a shift of audio. You can then tap the rear touchpad to create different effects causing it to rain in order to raise a log, for example.

Murasaki Baby is a game with some great ideas, then, and it's for that reason that we want to like it more than we actually do. Unfortunately, there are some problems. For one thing, the solutions to the puzzles that you’re confronted with are all pretty obvious and the systems that we’ve described never end up being as interesting as they might initially sound as a result. That transparent nature of the game’s puzzles can even become a source of frustration when you find that a lack of responsiveness means you fail and are pushed back to try again. You know what you’re supposed to be doing, but the action that you’re trying to perform isn't recognised by the game, or, because you’re being asked to interact with two things on the screen using your fingers, you can't quite see the obstacles that are
thwarting you.

It’s a shame that the game is occasionally let down by its control scheme because it is anything but derivative and its visuals, excellent sound design and mechanics can coalesce to create moments of real impact. Those moments are not regular enough to compensate for the sometimes frustrating experience of playing the game, however.