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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Kuru Kuru Kururin Review

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Could you say this is a Kurureview?

Since Nintendo upgraded Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack to include Game Boy Advance games, you may be wondering what's worth playing! KoopaTV commenter Captain Stitch had told me:

“Cool that GBA and GB games are finally coming to switch. You should really play Kuru Kuru Kururin, it is a very fun and very addicting game. Short too, and the music is Absolutly phenomenal. Seriously, play just a bit or listen to the soundtrack you will not regret it. Everyone loves the Cave music, but I'm partial to the Cake Land music myself.”

I decided to do more than just listen to the soundtrack or play a bit... I played and beat the game, while collecting all it has to offer, including Perfect clears of its Adventure mode and Challenge mode levels. Let's get into the review to see what I think.

Fast Facts about Kuru Kuru Kururin

Kuru Kuru Kururin
Originally Game Boy Advance, but played on Nintendo Switch
Developer and Publisher
Eighting and Nintendo
Space Required
The space for the Game Boy Advance emulator provided by Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
ESRB rating
It lacks a rating due to a lack of an original American release, but I'm sure if it had one, it'd be E
Number of Players
One for most of the game's content, but there is an up-to-four-player Versus mode
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
Included in Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, which KoopaTV pays $80 a year for
Nintendo Switch Online has a seven-day trial, but the Expansion Pack isn't included, so no demo

The Story, Characters, and Writing

The opening cutscene features Kururin's ten brothers and sisters (though at the end, Kururin refers only to his brothers being safe) just...walk off screen and disappear. They're all ducks, or duck-looking creatures. Their mother (possibly Kururin's wife? She refers to Kururin as a big brother at the end, but she states that her kids got lost, so the relationship between all of these characters is unclear or incestuous) is upset by this, and demands that Kururin find them. Kururin has a helicopter, called the Helirin, and learns how to pilot it in a tutorial by Teacher Hare. With the Helirin, he can find the lost siblings. In-between the ten worlds (one for each brother/sister), Kururin has a brief conversation with the lost sibling as they make a passing remark about the world they were lost in. That's... it, really. There's no antagonist or conclusion. Just collect the siblings and bring them home, happily ever after.

The siblings do have names, revealed in these passing remarks, and then never mentioned ever again. You can also have them optionally ride on the Helirin if you want, since you can customise it. (More on that later.) Here are their names for posterity, in the order you collect them:

  1. Chikurin, blue duck that looks like a raindrop lost in the grass
  2. Hoyorin, chunky blue-green duck lost in the ocean
  3. Gizarin, purple duck lost in the jungle
  4. Loverin, pink duck with a heart-top head lost in cake
  5. Gekirin, big chunky orange duck lost in the caves
  6. Fuwarin, a small green duck with a balloon lost in the clouds
  7. Maririn, a brilliant pink duck with a blue scarf and a good figure lost in the stars
  8. Pokorin, a small brown duck with a bump on its head lost in the ice
  9. Hikarin, a yellow duck with a lightning bolt head design lost among machines
  10. Hyokorin, a small yellow duck with a leafy green head of hair lost in the ghost castle
Don't play Kuru Kuru Kururin if you're looking for good, consistently present, or even coherent writing. It's not the game for that! ...I would've appreciated if it was, personally.

Graphics of Kuru Kuru Kururin

Kuru Kuru Kururin features cute graphics! It's bright and colourful. Everything about the interface is accessible and inviting.

Kuru Kuru Kururin Ocean level sea turtle background
Look at the cute turtle!

It's early Game Boy Advance sprite-work, but it's clean and clear. As it should be, because a lot of the collectibles involve customising your Helirin and changing or adding to its sprite in Make Up mode. It's fairly simple to tell what is an obstacle or something you shouldn't touch versus normal terrain you can safely traverse through.

Music and Sound of Kuru Kuru Kururin

The game has a range of music, with each world having a different song that plays, but they're usually peppy and upbeat. There's even some computerised voice-acting in the levels (not the cutscenes with dialogue). My favourite music by far was the Cave theme, which seems to be most other people's favourite as well. I don't try to share the common opinion, but I can't argue against this:

That said, Kuru Kuru Kururin does have a small soundtrack overall, at least composed to other games you'll find on the Game Boy Advance, and it isn't like the Cave theme is the best song ever found on the Game Boy Advance. But unlike some later games on the GBA, the soundtrack doesn't strain what the Game Boy Advance is capable of sounding like.

Gameplay of Kuru Kuru Kururin

Kuru Kuru Kururin is a puzzle game. The Helirin is always rotating, be it clockwise or counter-clockwise, and you must navigate it through a series of mazes (which may have tight corridors) without colliding into the walls or the occasional obstacle (such as spiked balls or flying cannon projectiles). You are also timed on how fast you complete the levels, but surviving is your basic goal. You will also want to collect collectibles, which affect your Helirin's colour, shape/effects, and having Kururin's siblings fly with you.

Kuru Kuru Kururin Adventure Mode map I feel that something is missing Cave
The game really wants to make sure I pick up the collectibles.
Also, you can see Master Hare's records here. You need to be very, very good and precise to top them.
(I feel that something is missing may or may not be the way I feel about this game.)

The game has five tutorial stages, thirty normal stages, three final bonus stages, and then fifty short Challenge Mode stages. The normal stages have checkpoints that serve as healing areas. The game gradually eases you into mechanics and complexity, though it only tells you very late that holding down the A button or B button makes you go faster, and holding down both buttons at the same time makes you go very fast! That's important for cutting down times or even clearing passages that you might not be intended to clear at the rotating direction you're going. You change directions by hitting a spring in the environment. This video is a very good introduction to the mechanics, as well as how I customise my Helirin (because it sure doesn't normally have a bunch of ducks, spikes, and a red-and-black colour scheme):

The key to understanding the puzzle is that you can only control the Helirin's position and speed. You cannot control the rate at which it rotates (this is a constant), and only with springs you can control the direction that it rotates. That means in some levels, you might have to constantly hit springs, even the same spring, to be able to go through a narrow path that requires being in a straight orientation.

It does get rather difficult by the end, especially if you want to get Perfect scores (don't get hit in the level) to unlock the bonus stages (which aren't really worth it). If you're fine being a cheater (like me), you can use the Nintendo Switch Online emulator's rewind and save state features to substantially ease your frustration. Personally, I recommend it. I wouldn't like the game at all if I didn't cheat at it. That said, one thing I never did was get the Top Record in every single stage, which apparently unlocks even tighter record clears. That sounds even more frustrating to do, which is all the more reason to cheat.

Multiplayer Versus Mode

With a Link Cable (or Nintendo Switch Online), you can race another player to the goal of the Challenge Mode stages! Before the race, players can set their health and helicopter length. (A smaller helicopter makes it easier or trivial to get through tight corridors.) You can hit things if you want and not suffer a time penalty (unlike the main game), but if you lose all of your hearts, you must go back to the start of the course. You can pick a stage or pick random stages to go for three, five, seven, or Marathon rounds (to go through everything). The handicap settings allow experienced players to play alongside lesser experienced players, but it can also quickly devolve to degeneracy if you allow for too lenient of settings.

Concluding Thoughts on Kuru Kuru Kururin

Kuru Kuru Kururin is not a compelling reason to subscribe to the Expansion Pack of Nintendo Switch Online. In fact, it's difficult to recommend it over most of the other high-quality Game Boy Advance games available on that emulator, such as the Super Mario Advance series, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, or Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Still, it's cute and short. It's not a must-play by any means, though.

If you have any questions about Kuru Kuru Kururin, ask Ludwig in the comments section! This might be the last review he writes on KoopaTV, ever, before it closes for new content.


  1. Funny review and hats off for completing a (eventually) very very difficult game. Even with save states the game doesn’t like to make things easy.

    Anyone else reading my comment, ignore the ending line. This is a definite must play and you are guaranteed to love. Your life satisfaction will increase by 50%, probably.

    1. Well, if my life satisfaction increased, it didn't stay that way.

    2. Continue KoopaTV and it is I’ll continue to be high. Forever more.


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