Murasaki Baby
| Murasaki Baby

PS Vita exclusives are pretty rare these days, but Murasaki Baby is the most exciting one we've seen in a while. And it couldn't exist on any other platform.

Murasaki Baby has you guiding a cute little girl - her mouth appears to be in her forehead, but don't hold that against her - through a parade of environments which get progressively nastier and more sinister.

Holding her by the hand, you're charged with keeping her safe and maintaining her sanity in a world of surreal terror.

Like so many games, this one places you in a position of power. Taking the role of an almost god-like figure, the player can swat away enemies and manipulate environments using only the Vita's touchscreen and rear touchpad.


But rather than using that empowerment to make you feel like a badass, Murasaki Baby uses it to make you feel responsible. The titular Baby is a very childlike character - she carries a heart-shaped balloon, whimpers when frightened, and has to jump to reach door handles - but she exists in a world full of danger.

And you, her powerful yet fallible guardian, will not always be able to protect her.

You know that sad, wobbly-lipped look that Cut The Rope's Om Nom gives you when you mess up a level, and send his sweets dropping to the floor below? That's designed to give you a jolt of guilt, a natural desire to replay the level and make amends.

Now imagine how much more guilty you'd feel if that green monster was a little girl. And, instead of just being sad that her sugary snack is going to waste, she's being dragged away by a monster with a gaping mouth and razor-sharp teeth. Yeah, thought so. Check your privilege, Om Nom.

You see, the design of Murasaki Baby is creepy. It's full of weirdly-designed creatures, the atmospheric soundscapes of Akira Yamaoka, and unsettlingly surreal landscapes. But it's not the kind of horror that will chill you to your very core. Rather, it makes you feel tense and overprotective. Its Baby's fear which becomes the priority, not your own.

Paper worlds

Swiping the Vita's rear touchpad allows you change the level's backdrop, and tapping furiously allows you to solve grim puzzles. Summoning a thunderstorm can help Baby get past some drought-based woes, while activating a collection of distant television sets can distract certain antagonists, allowing Baby to pass by.

It can feel like a disturbing type of papercraft - almost like a harrowing version of Tearaway. Using the rear touchpad to switch backdrops, a grimy block of flats quickly becomes a terrifying pop-up book, with monsters lurking behind every door.

But Murasaki Baby is a simple enough game to comprehend, and to control. Put simply, it forces the player to understand the complex burden of parenthood and responsibility, guiding an innocent character through a world fraught with danger and corruption.

This can be difficult, frustrating, and not always fun. But then, when was responsibility ever easy? Murasaki Baby is a horror game which places you in a position of power, and makes you feel awful for every single failure - no matter how inevitable.

Murasaki Baby

Murasaki Baby plays on parental instincts and our natural desire to protect the weak. A skin-crawlingly tense tour of a twisted imagination
Matt Suckley
Matt Suckley
Achingly contrarian. Proud owner of an N-Gage and a PSP Go. Matt spends most of his time writing about indie games of which you've never heard. Like that one, yes. Matt is an English student, and largely terrible at games. Go figure.