Hands On: EA's Mystery Title
Find out what Shonen Kininden Tsumuji is all about.
The veil finally came off Electronic Arts' mysterious Japanese-developed title at the World Hobby Fair over the weekend. Shonen Kininden Tsumuji joined the Wii and DS revs of Sim Racing in the EA booth and managed to draw lines above the 30 minute mark at some points despite a large number of demo units.
I'm not sure why EA was being so camera shy with the game at the Winter World Hobby Fair earlier this year. Tsumuji looks like your typical action RPG, with attractive character designs and the potential for involving action and puzzle-oriented gameplay.
The demo appeared to be the opening sequence of the game. Taking control of the game's title character, the young ninja-in-training named Tsumuji, you're first told to head to a training grounds area, where you're tasked with finding and destroying a set of targets around town. Next, your rival Hayate challenges you to a fight. Against your friend Momo's advice, you accept, and head off to a cemetery area for a quick battle. After this, Tsumuji finds himself stuck in a dungeon, where the game's storyline begins to first reveal itself. Expectedly, the demo cut players off here.
[end_p text="Click for more hands-on impressions from Tsumuji" /]
Tsumuji is played from an overhead view, like a classic Zelda-style action RPG. You control Tsumuji exclusively with the stylus. In addition to moving Tsumuji around, you can tap platforms to make him jump to them, tap people to make him talk to them, and tap objects to make him investigate.
In the demo, I had access to just a couple of attacks. Initially, I could tap the screen to make Tsumuji toss a rock. This was used at first to strike targets as part of a training mission, then later as a means of striking a rival character during a combat sequence.
Later in the demo, I got my hands on a key item, a special shuriken known as "Senpuuki." To use this, you tap an icon on the screen to switch into Senpuuki mode. You then use the stylus to trace a path out for the shuriken. The demo only allowed me to use this once, to blow out a set of four candles in order to open a door and escape a dungeon -- a pretty typical action in a game like this.
From what I could tell, there was only one use for the DS's button controls. By pressing and holding down on the D-pad (lefties can also use the face buttons), you can make Tsumuji crouch. Make him move around while crouched, and he'll crawl. This was put to use in a couple of areas of the demo. During the sole combat sequence, you have to crawl through the bushes in order to sneak around to your opponent's back. Later, while escaping from a dungeon, you have to crawl through bushes in order to avoid being spotted by statues who will otherwise fire at you.
The World Hobby Fair demo offered a sampling of just the opening moments of Tsumuji, but what I saw showed potential to be a quality action RPG. Now that it's been played by a few thousand people, let's hope EA starts opening up more formally about the game.
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