🎮 脳みそジャーニー (Brain Journey)2023年 9月 25日
CW: This game and article contains graphic depictions of cartoon violence and death.
Have you ever seen the 1988 movie Beetlejuice? I was still in elementary school when I first saw it. The events that happened in that movie were disgusting and cruel, yet I was doubled over with laughter the whole time. I remember so many scenes with extreme clarity, and although I was certainly afraid, I was also delighted and couldn't stop laughing. I don't know what it did to my childhood psyche, but this movie has permanently burned into my brain. And with that, I'd like to talk about 脳みそジャーニー (Brain Journey), a game that reignited that same sense of morbid delight.
Brain Journey is an upcoming game by the creative duo megamittz, and is an exploration adventure RPG that remixes classic horror movie scenes and spins them around to create comedy. Players guide Monpuchi, a brainless zombie who has come back to life on Halloween, and the brain-munching Jack, a grinning pumpkin who rides around on Monpuchi's empty head. The two work together to track down Monpuchi's missing brain: Monpuchi so that they can become a normal human again, and Jack so that he can snack on it.
The levity with which the two characters deal with death and dismemberment is darkly comical. Jack treats Monpuchi with tenderness and care even as he declares that he plans to eat Monpuchi's brain, and Monpuchi does not seem to mind being led into one sketchy situation after the other. Since Monpuchi is already technically dead, what do they have to lose? In this strange world, there are a great many things that can kill you, and it is all incredibly funny.
So much of the humor comes from the amazing art. The large close-up character portraits allow for a wide range of emotions, and it is great watching back-and-forth scenes play out. The world is colorful and lush, tinted with purples, greens, and oranges to bring out that Halloween flair. The overworld graphics are done in pixel art, which is adorable and detailed. The dense setting of Nezumi Yokocho has so much to look at and packs a ton into such a small space.
The writing and characterization is also colorful and fun. Monpuchi, who cannot speak due to their missing brain, is still as honorable and sweet as when they were alive. Jack the Pumpkin, on the other hand, doesn't bother to hide his selfishness, and his devious expressions steal every scene. If you play the game and listen to their banter, you will definitely fall in love with Monpuchi and Jack. The other characters that appear as you progress are also strange and charming in their own right, so be sure to talk to everyone when you play.
A lot of the game is walking around and talking to NPCs, along with the occasional puzzle or minigame. These are never too difficult and feel comfortable. They add more to the world and get you to feel like you are playing with Monpuchi and the others in this fantastic place.
As is typical in exploration adventure games, you will also be on the lookout for collectibles. But this time, you will be collecting Death Cards, which, as the name suggests, you receive whenever you die in a new way. But don't worry: it's no big deal if you die, and you can pick things back up right where you left off. In a lot of adventure games, it is typical to fail a lot and hit bad endings before finally succeeding and getting the good ending. Here, however, the bad endings themselves are the rewards, and hunting them down is a lot of fun. When you play, please try to die as much as possible.
Brain Journey is currently in development, and there is a demo out now that you can play in your browser. Although it is a demo, the story is self-contained so you can feel as if you have got a complete experience. But as for me, I want to meet Monpuchi and Jack again. I want to play more minigames with those two. And, I'm sorry to say, I want to see Monpuchi die in new and horrible ways. I am glad that there is more of Brain Journey on the way, and I am looking forward to the day when we can all meet again.