Kyuiin – The PS3 Attitude Review
A description of Kyuiin in the most uncomplicated fashion would be to say that it is a basic side-scrolling shooter. The mid to late nineties were chock full of ’em, and chances are you’ve come across your fair share in the span of your gaming life. However Kyuiin is more than that. It’s an outlandish, at times psychedelic experience whose peculiar themes make the idea of a flying vacuum cleaner seem practically normal.
In Kyuiin, you play as boy and his kid sister tasked by a magical fairy to release the hold an evil wizard, who possesses over a book of famous stories. With a proper pilot’s license well out of reach they turn instead to the family cleaning device to squire them through six stages, each modeled after a classic tale.
Played through either solo or cooperatively, Kyuiin features an eclectic myriad of irregular and often bewildering enemies, including killer tomatoes, T-shirts, balloons, blue whales, reindeer and the occasional frying pan. Essentially each level plays as if it were conceptualized by a group of kids armed with a fresh Mad Libs page.
Saddled on the magic vacuum players can fire a single stream of matter directly ahead with the ability to significantly upgrade by way of sparingly distributed boosters. One of the positives that comes out of riding a vacuum is the ability to suck projectiles, as well as many of the enemies themselves, up to be used as fuel for the all powerful garbage cannon. A super weapon which is imperative for working your way out of the many enemy dense situations the game will inevitably place you in. Additionally gamers have the ability to fire the vacuum’s retractable power cord a very short distance behind them for a desperate alternate attack which, given Kyuiin’s frenetic pace, unfortunately is utterly useless.
The gameplay is sound and presents a respectable challenge over the span of the noticeably short six stage campaign. Solo gamers will find the need for repeated cracks at each of the stages yet a player friendly checkpoint system assures you that rebirth will take place very much near the area of your untimely demise.
Kyuiin does a very good job of throwing a variety of enemy types at players and often fills 40-50% of the screen with deadly projectiles to be dodged or consumed by the vacuum. When damage is taken, those that survive long enough will eventually be rewarded with a med pack for renewed vitality, which makes slick flying and aversion tactics critical towards the end of the game.
All told Kyuiin is a bizarre, unmistakably Japanese venture unlike anything most gamers have ever played. Yes, side-scrolling shooters have been done practically ad nauseum before and since, but you’d be hard pressed to find one to rival Kyuii’s unique aesthetics and frankly uninhibited use of atypical themes.
If you plan on making Kyuiin a part of your library be sure to head over to the publisher’s game index for translations and tips.
For a look at reviews of other Japanese imports check out Yakiniku Bugyou and Rapid Angel.