TOKYO--Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaikida Or 2 may look and play like a game fresh out of 1985, but it's surprisingly fun and very addictive. Like a combination of Dig Dug and Gauntlet, the game has you play an evil wizard who is trying to escape from those goody-two-shoes knights and annoying spellcasters who use their powers for selfless reasons. We played through a few levels of the game at Sony's PlayStation Portable station at the Tokyo Game Show and realized that once you figure out what you need to do, the language barrier is not that much of an issue.
All we know is that you're an evil wizard who is trying to escape underground, so we used a pickax to dig through blocks one at a time. The dirt is laid out in a giant grid of squares, so you'll have to dig a path to get away. The trick is to dig multiple paths to throw off your pursuers, because they'll come after you and try to look for you down different passageways. You have a limited amount of time before the good guys start their pursuit, so dig quickly, and dig efficiently. As you're plowing away, you'll uncover slimes, skeletons, and other baddies that will help your escape because they attack anyone who comes after you. We were told that some of the white creatures are more powerful, so you'll want to uncover as many of those as possible. If you discover a pile of bones, you'll have to tap over it to revive them so that they'll start patrolling the hallways that you've created.
Before someone comes after you from the castle above ground, you get to pick up your wizard and place him somewhere in your confusing labyrinth and hope that they don't find you. In the first stage a knight was in pursuit, but he was alone and couldn't make his way through the slimes and was finally slain by the animated skeletons. Each stage gets progressively harder since we're still on the same map, and we soon find out the castle has sent even more goons after you. The pursuers also get stronger; we ended up getting caught by a magic user who was throwing fireballs down the hallways to clear out anything in his path. When they catch you, they'll tie you up with rope and drag you back to the castle. You still have a chance to escape because you can keep digging. But unless you can uncover a dragon or something dangerous that will eat your kidnappers, you're out of luck.
The game gets more complicated as time goes on, but you'll unearth more monsters to protect you. What also makes this game appealing is that the visuals fit perfectly for this type of game. The character sprites are in 2D and are heavily pixelated for the special effect. The majority of the screen is made up of small squares and each monster and character take up that one square. Being able to play this, even for a brief amount of time, really brings back fond memories of old-school arcades games. We hope to see Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaikida Or 2 on the other side of the Pacific someday, but for now it is scheduled to be released on October 16 in Japan.