One of the more unique-looking titles Sony had on display at E3 was Murasaki Baby, an upcoming side-scrolling game exclusive to the Vita that is difficult to categorize into a standard genre. Even after playing through a level with help from a Sony rep, the only description I can really give the game is a puzzle-adventure mix that’s almost completely reliant on the handheld’s touch controls.
Players will guide the titular Baby, a little girl who just happens to have her mouth on her forehead for some reason, through several moody and stylized environments. Instead of directly controlling Baby via the D-pad or analog stick, you have to grab her arm with the Vita’s front touch screen and drag it forward to guide her.
The other key component in terms of controls is the use of the rear touch screen. Making a swiping motion to the left or right will cause the game to swap between one of four different colored backgrounds, and tapping the rear again will activate an action specific to each one. In the level I played, one background would cause rain to fall, filling up an empty hole for Baby to cross in a boat. Another would cause a gust of wind, which was a quicker way to get rid of specific enemies instead of poking them individually.
The game will have 4 different chapters and some sort of epilogue, each with four unique backgrounds and corresponding actions. While what I saw stuck to the touch pads only, the representative did say that the Vita’s motion sensors and analog sticks will be used at specific points later in the game.
Murasaki Baby looks like it could be a very interesting and undeniably quirky title, thanks to its unconventional art style and controls, but what I played could still use some fine-tuning. I often had to tap the rear screen multiple times before the game registered anything and activated each background’s action, and a specific point where I had to drag both Baby’s arm as well as her heart-shaped balloon, which doubles as her health, felt imprecise. Since the game’s not due to launch on the PlayStation Network until some time in September, though, I’m hopeful that these issues will be addressed.