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 Post subject: Re: Kururin series (GBA/GC)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:51 am 


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Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 7119
Limbrooke wrote:
Superb game and lots of fun as puzzler - one of those one more try games that keeps you coming back.

Calling Kuru Kuru Kururin a "puzzler" keeps rubbing me the wrong way. It's a racer first and foremost, pretty much nothing of a puzzler.
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 Post subject: Re: Kururin series (GBA/GC)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:46 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Kururin series (GBA/GC)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:41 pm 


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Joined: 14 Aug 2019
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Location: BW, Germany
Starting from a fresh savegame last weekend, I cleared Kururin Paradise yesterday. This took a little longer than the first game, I'd say about three times as long:

Image


The first difference that catches the eye are the graphics, which are again very lush and charming, but the art style is much more cartoony this time around, with most objects having bold outlines and a frequent usage of plain colors. It works very well and I appreciate that 8ing went with something a little different. There's a bouquet of nice little touches; in many cases, the crash barriers are not of the generic, brightly flashing kind anymore and blend in better with the stage's leitmotif, even casting shadows at times. On some occasions, the floor is partly or completely transparent, revealing animations below, or objects like balloons, fireworks or tree branches cover parts of the playing field.

While these amenities make the game even prettier, I've found that they may take a dash of getting used to, at least for players very familiar with the first game. It feels a little more noisy in comparison and makes navigation a little harder – for example, the shadows could at first spawn a reflex of percieving the passage as being narrower than it actually is. These things are nothing major at all though and finely balanced.

The soundtrack by Atsuhiro Motoyama is outstanding technically and does not have to hide itself behind triumphs like The Minish Cap or Golden Sun*, although compositionally (and scope-wise, but that comparison would be unjust; they're completely different genres), it's certainly still a league behind those. Though the Baron's theme does reappear few times in various alterations towards the end of the game, and I like the first game's composition just a tad more overall, which I think is due to its slightly wider spectrum and of course completely subjective.


Paradise expands on its predecessor's gameplay mechanics in various well-directed ways, keeping the formula fresh and pleasing those longing for more:

• By holding R, you can rotate twice as fast at will. Using this novel ability is never required, in fact you can 100% the game without ever resorting to it. It can make certain sections easier however, because it allows you to "dodge" where you couldn't before, and to readjust in case you took a bend too early. Most profoundly though, skillful handling will net you much better times, so for the inveterate speeder, this is probably the most important innovation.

• Progression on the world map is nonlinear now; some stages have a second exit, resulting in a junction. The path to this exit is blocked by a gate which can only be opened by finding the corresponding key in another stage. It's still pretty simple since no side roads have more side roads adjacent to them, and the concept is never nested or anything like that.

• You don't collect your siblings via fly-by anymore; instead they hide behind special "top hat" nodes which are each cleared by winning one of twelve mini games (Paradise has an overarching theme of stage magic/mystery, stemming from the team of magicians who kidnapped the siblings this time).

• In addition to the adventure mode and the returning challenge mode, you can play 16 mini games, twelve of which are unlocked by clearing the above-mentioned "top hat" nodes. While I've found that some of them can be fun for a short while, I think these are a mixed bag overall (it also doesn't help that I've seen most of them elsewhere in earlier games) and I'd have favored seeing more regular stages instead.

• There are a few interesting new hazards like ghosts clinging to your rotors, temporarily slowing down your locomotion and rotation, ice floor, quicksand and invisible quicksand/winds.


The stages are decidedly more eccentric broadly speaking, but feel a little less distinct because there is less thematic variance. As it happens to be oftentimes, sequels tend to move away from the general towards the specific, and Paradise is no exception, but who am I to say that in itself this would be a bad thing. :) K³ has 38 adventure and 55 challenge stages, Paradise in contrast has 42 adventure stages (+12 minigames) and 33 challenge stages.

So on paper their circumfences look about on par, but Paradise is a much harder game. I spent around one third of the time clearing the last four stages alone, especially the second one "Finale" and the last one "Curtain Call". The mood of these bonus stages is the antithesis to those of K³. It's more along the lines of: alright, now the game begins. Now let's see if you can clear this! Image The second one has the narrowest and at the same time longest, most relentless passages seen up until now, and the winds in the last one throw large portions of your muscle memory overboard and you have to learn some completely new, counter-intuitive maneuvers from scratch. :lol: The difficulty of which (but also the fun!) isn't well transported through video, you really have to play it for yourself. Clearing those was very satisfying.


Beating the pre-set record times is also a good deal more difficult this time around. Ordered by ascending difficulty, these are called:

K³: (T)eacher Hare, (P)rofessor Hare, (M)aster Hare
Paradise: Teacher Hare, Magic Baron, Kururin's Father

I'd say the Baron's times are about on par with the (M) times in K³. For the father's times, you really have to pull out all the stops: use the turbo whenever possible, use the rotation speedup, shortcuts in the stages, taking damage if necessary and chaining everything together perfectly. For now I'm happy that I beat all the Baron's times, though not in one go – I had to revisit a good deal of stages (it says "Baron" next to the player name, these kanji cannot be typed in when starting a savegame. It says "full size" next to it on the file select screen, meaning normal difficulty).

All in all I can only say that Kururin Paradise is an excellent sequel for those who seek more after the first game and I'm very happy that it exists! :)


* Although my top-tier in this regard would belong to games like Mother 3 and Invader


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