I just got the true ending of Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure last night, playing all 13-14 hours of it in 2 days.......... I like this game a lot! Developed by Falcom and published by Mastiff, Gurumin has been released on PC, PSP, and 3DS. I played the Steam version using a controller.

The game is super cute and gets some real teeth to its difficulty towards the end. A concise yet chunky adventure. The game plays out via a somewhat non-linear overworld containing a bunch of linear dungeons rife with secrets, and interspersed with an occasional boss fight. There's a fair amount of exploration, platforming, and puzzling, but the gameplay is primarily focused on combat. I want to write a bit about a couple of the combat-related systems I found particularly interesting.

Enemy Gear

Some enemies have pieces of gear that grant them higher defense and sometimes even a special ability, like a burst of electric orbs, or the ability to roll around like a big boulder.

These guys are tanks that zoom around and shoot electric blasts at you!

You can blast this gear out of them by hitting them with a charged up drill attack, which is somewhat risky since your mobility is limited during charged attacks. The gear pops out of them and lands on the ground, and sometimes they'll try to go pick it back up.

Shattered the gear off 'em!

The abilities granted by the gear can be pretty scary, so it's usually best to try and take them down before they can re-arm themselves... or you can go pick up the gear yourself! This doesn't give you their ability or anything -- it just gives you "Junk", which is a currency used to upgrade your own equipment. Sometimes an enemy will have several pieces of gear that you have to whiddle away at one-by-one with multiple charged attacks.

Gear left behind after a battle.

When multiple enemies are thrown at you at once, each with some amount of gear, things get pretty tense. You have to balance disarming them, keeping them away from picking up their gear, picking up the gear yourself, dodging all their special attacks, and sometimes even evading environmental hazards.

Rhythm, Criticals, and Drill Level

There's a meter at the top of the screen that shows little symbols converging in the middle, on-beat with the background music. If you attack on-beat, you land a Critical hit. This can be tough to do in the heat of battle (and amidst the flurry of sound effects), but the game utilizes Criticals in interesting ways.

Drill Level meter at the top (currently at level 3, with 78 Criticals towards a free level up at 100!)
Rhythm meter just below it.

There's the expected effect of dealing extra damage, but it also slightly increases your Drill Level. You can also increase your Drill Level via consumables, and it decreases when you take damage. It's a little Cave Story-ish, though it's more skillful than Cave Story's system. Higher Drill Level means you deal more damage and can unleash certain special moves. On top of all that, some headgear you can equip will do special things with Criticals, like stealing health or doubling damage.

Landing a Critical on some cubey guys.

All this stuff makes landing Criticals and maintaining Drill Level pretty valuable things to master and strive for even when it's risky. Admittedly, this wasn't allll that necessary on Normal difficulty (except with the super tough secret boss), but I'm sure it becomes way more important on Hard and Crazy.


Aside from some of the dungeons getting a little repetitive, and a couple weird quality-of-life things, I really have no complaints with this game. There is a ton of stuff you can unlock if you enjoy that. One of my favorite things is that some of the super secret unlocks are just desktop wallpapers... good ones! Like this:

I certainly can't leave without mentioning the incredible soundtrack composed by Hayato Sonoda, Wataru Ishibashi, and Takahide Murayama. Falcom Sound Team jdk kills it yet again. I could pick tons of favorites, but I'll settle on just 3:

This title screen music pulled me in immediately.
This boss theme caught me off guard and had me smiling and dancing through the whole fight.
Lovely overworld theme.

Yeah, Gurumin rules.

I might actually go for some of the many unlockables...

Lots of cute outfits, headgear, and wallpapers to find...

Thanks for reading!