Penned by renowned author Homura Kawamoto, Yurukill looks to take the player on a journey of retribution or revenge in a world that views it as entertainment. To do this you’ll find yourself with various gameplay genre’s to get to grips with, so does the game do a good job of melding them? Lets take a look.
Accused of arson and the murders of 21 people, protagonist Sengoku Shunju is forced to fight for his freedom and prove his innocence. As one of six Prisoners, he must pair up with one of five victims, referred to as Executioners, within the confines of the strange and secluded amusement park known as Yurukill Land. Together each of the five teams must overcome this entertainment venue in order to attain what they desire. Should the Prisoners succeed, their crimes shall be pardoned. But if the Executioners win, they will be granted revenge.
Each chapter within the game will introduce and focus primarily on one prisoner & executor group of the several brought to the island, so you get plenty of time to get to know the characters and their situations, though it occasionally bounces to other groups as well each chapter to offer updates on their situation.. This does mean a lot of dialogue to get through at times, and plenty of chances to fail when dialogue options spring up that can get you killed, but at least the premise is interesting and the large amount of characters having their own goals and story to tell offers plenty to get through.
Having various gameplay types means we have both 2D & 3D to sample on this, though in all honesty its the 2D sections that you’ll usually see and that’s probably for the best .Backgrounds during talking & sleuthing are generally well detailed with some effects usually on top, the stylised character sprites are also quite nice with decent enough animation and the punchy colour palette looks good on a decent display. The 3D is decent enough without pushing the boat out. Shmup sections can have the screen filled with enemies and effects, but doesn’t do much to stand out outside of the odd extravagant boss design.
The audio side of things is good. We get a somewhat atmospheric BGM at times with a hefty amount of voice acting. Given the large roster of characters you’ll no doubt recognise some of the VA’s , and each does a good job of carrying the on-screen action. Outside of that there’s not much to say. Performance is rock solid on the PS5, but outside of the near instant loading times, the game doesn’t really make much use of the rest of the PS5’s features.
Is it a shmup? A visual novel? Point & click adventure? Well a bit of all 3 really and a little more to boot. The game opens up with a shmup tutorial, but that is the last time you’ll see that gameplay type for a couple of hours. The main focus of the chapters at first is in setting up the prisoner & executioners relationship, and the game makes use of the ol’ visual novel when it comes to dialogue. Once the journey really starts it quickly shifts to a hidden object puzzle style adventure. Taking the first chapter as an example you’ll be searching through several rooms of an apartment complex to find clues to solve a puzzle and progress. You’ll need to keep on your toes though as you could end up in the occasional interrogation which can lead to death if the executioner deems it so.
Once all that’s done with, you then move on to the shmup gameplay (Yay!) as you try to break the executioners mind shield & discrimination in an attempt to convince them of your innocence or point of view. To be fair the shmup gameplay isn’t really the best if you’re a genre veteran, and can be easy if you stock up the lives prior, but its competent enough and this final section can be quite interesting as it bounces around various types of craft control – so long as nothing goes wrong as there’s usually no save for the duration of this section. Most chapters play out in a similar way, sometimes mixing things up too, so the mixture of gameplay does a good job of keeping you interested outside of the occasional drawn out dialogue section.
Yurukill is certainly an interesting proposition, melding several different gameplay types together alongside numerous characters each with their own retribution or revenge to seek. It’s mostly competent in what it does, outside of the interesting premise and 2D design, with the PS5 port effectively a box ticking exercise. There’s certainly enough to entice plenty of people to give this game a blast, and it will last a while, so long as you’re not expecting to excel in any one area.
Interesting premise & gameplay mix, but as always with a jack-of-all-trades, ends up being a master of none.