TGS 09: Tsumuji Hands-On Preview

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Posted September 23, 2009 - By Patrick Klepek

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TGS 09: Tsumuji Hands-On PreviewWhat We Know: Nothing. Before Electronic Arts showed a trailer and let me play a few minutes of the EA Japan-developed Tsumuji for the DS, I knew zilch about this game. When it suddenly appeared on a list of games EA would be showing at Tokyo Game Show, my response was a series of blinks. Tsu-what? There's an EA Japan? Luckily, these questions and others were answered once I had a chance to pick up a DS.

What's New At TGS: Given that Tsumuji was a complete mystery before this, everything is new. Tsumuji is best described as The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass with a ninja. It has a very similar art direction, albeit not quite as cartoonish, and also tasks the stylus with handling the majority of the control scheme. The stylus is used to move the character around the screen via dragging and manages combat with quick taps. In the short demo I played -- and by short I really do mean less than five minutes -- I was equipped with a rock to be tossed at a few scorpions. The trailer for Tsumuji promised much, much more as you learn to become a more competent ninja, but it wasn't featured here. Tsumuji was the highlight here in Japan in part because it was the only new announcement during EA's presentation and due to its targeted audience: Japan. EA won't even confirm a release in the United States right now, with the producer telling me gamers will need to send letters in if they want Tsumuji translated.

What I Want To See: In addition to word on a release outside of Japan, I want to see where the gameplay goes. One of the reasons I didn't get into The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was due to the stylus. I respected Nintendo's elegant solutions for adapting the traditional gameplay of the series to the stylus, but that didn't make it any less boring after a few hours. Since Tsumuji is walking down the same path, I'd like to see how it's approaching no doubt similar issues.

TGS 09: Tsumuji Hands-On Preview


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