Back before the game’s release, I once wrote that Mochi A Girl, the wire action indie game developed by one-man team mumimumi, was the Sonic to Umihara Kawase‘s Mario. The game is now available in Japan via eShop, and after playing through the game, I’d even consider it one of the best indie games I’ve played recently, all because of how your actions flow into each other.
Similarities with Sonic pop up as soon as you get to the control scheme. Mochi A Girl aims to bring back simplicity in platforming games, and as such, the A button is the key button to perform everything – jumping, extending your mochi, rolling up walls, and swinging. But more importantly, Mochi A Girl‘s design philosophy of keeping momentum being the reward for good gameplay is quite the same as well.
By herself, little mochi girl Yuki is quite slow, but her mochi wire is the key to speeding up the action. Grabbing and zooming onto walls make you roll up them, clinging to ceilings makes you swing, and jumping and then clinging to the ground makes you hit the ground running for a short burst of speed. These simple actions, combined with the variety of stage gimmicks, makes for a surprisingly slick game experience where there is always some action you can perform in order to keep your movement going. Even when you’re going through a stage for a first time, you don’t move as fast as Sonic, so there is little chance that you end up restarting from an unforeseen pit that came too quickly to react.
Furthermore, the gameplay is supplemented by bright, cartoony visuals, as well as a peppy soundtrack that makes you want to keep moving on. As far as I’ve seen, all these assets have been created and composed by mumimumi himself, which is quite a big undertaking on its own.
Of course, there’s one critical downside to this format of gameplay – you blow through the stages all too quickly. There’s 30 stages total in the game, but with their short lengths, I was able to complete the entire main game within two hours, leaving me wanting more. This is mitigated somewhat by the additional objectives of finding all three pieces of sushi (which are also checkpoints) in each level, which can range from normal to downright bizarre, like ice sushi or air sushi. Additionally, there’s something of a hard mode with the Time Trials that add an extra timer you need to collect clocks to extend as you race through the level. I was left frantically scrambling across the stage, with the later Time Trials requiring incredible precision and mastery of the mechanics.
There’s always a stigma against recommending games with a short playtime, especially when it comes at a surprisingly steep price of 2,750 yen (around $25), but I feel that Mochi A Girl is worth a look if you like what you see. The game’s cutesy surrealism and free-flowing wire action gameplay might just win you over like it did for me.
Mochi A Girl is available on Nintendo Switch on the Japanese eShop.