Over the years I’ve played all kinds of video games with all kinds of zany plots, but I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything quite like Fishy Tales of the Nekomata, the all-new add-on for the excellent Muramasa Rebirth. Here you’ll play as a cat, who has witnessed the murder of his owners (a brother and sister delivering a tea set from their father to the shogun) and sworn to avenge their deaths. Also, there’s a raccoon with a gigantic nut sack. So, um, yeah.
Instead of wielding three different swords, you can instead assume three unique forms: Okoi, the deceased girl that has essentially been fused with the cat, Miike, the cat’s true appearance, and an avatar that can take on one of two appearances depending on which form you were in before summoning it. Okoi hits harder, but Miike is lightning quick and can strike at enemies via a ranged attack. The avatar, meanwhile, is a whirling dervish of ass kick.
Despite these differences, combat still handles very much the same as in Rebirth. Your two main forms (Okoi and Miike) take damage, and once their meters are empty they deal only a fraction of the hurt that they otherwise inflict. Things are different with the Avatar. Once called forth the meter begins to run down, and when it empties completely the apparition dissipates. I really like the setup; it’s familiar and yet just different enough to feel fresh.
That’s a statement that can be applied to the skill tree that has taken the place of the forge used to create additional swords in the main game. Souls from defeated enemies and spirit serve as currency, allowing you to beef up your various forms’ attacks and access new abilities. If you want to max everything out be prepared to spend a long time grinding. You’ll be strong enough to finish long before that, though, so it’s just a nice option for those that want to spend more time with the DLC.
Although most of the fights in Fishy Tales are on par with what you faced in Muramasa Rebirth, there are some memorable boss fights, including one with the aforementioned well-endowed raccoon and its many, ahem, unique forms. Once you finish, you’re free to return and explore more of the world, face additional challenges and even see multiple endings. My initial run lasted more than three hours and finished with me at Level 20, so for the cost of just $4.99 there’s quite a bit of gameplay available.
Everything about Fishy Tales of the Nekomata is beautifully executed, from the amount of content to the level of challenge to the surprisingly well-told story. Even with some of the head-scratching weirdness, this first installment has me excited for the remaining three pieces of DLC that make up the Genroku Legends. If you own Muramasa Rebirth, get this immediately.