DescriptionMushi Tarō is best described as a “bug-catcher simulator” – the player basically takes control of a young boy who’s goal is to catch as many different bug species as possible (there are 165 different species total, to be exact).
After the initial screen, we are presented with a 2D world map, depicting the surroundings in a third person perspective. From here on out, the player controls the young boy by moving him up, down, left or right, trying to find bug icons across the map.
Once the character reaches one of these icons a certain mini-game ensues, which involves catching the bugs in several distinct fashions: using one of the boy’s hands to clap them against a tree, using both hands to trap them in, having another insect used as bait, using a net to catch flying insects passing by, among several others. Whenever you catch one, it is immediately put into storage, so you never lose insects once they are caught. Every time one of the mini-games is completed, the player will return to the world map and be able to check out information about the species he’s just caught. Also, a balloon will appear next to the icon representing the stage that was just completed, so the player can distinguish between finished and new stages.
All the mini-games have a certain time limit, and if the depicted number of insects is not caught within that time frame, one of the available 3 attempts will be lost. When all 3 are gone, it’s game over.
These mini-games comprise the majority of the game per se, and it is by finishing them off one by one that new ones are revealed (by having new bug icons appear on the world map), until all different species are collected. Even though there are 165 different species to collect, during each different trial the player will catch several insects of the same species, thus providing the game with more content by extending gameplay time.
Speaking of gameplay, while some of the mini-games are quite feasible, others require a certain degree of luck, since in those you have a very limited field of vision (you can’t see the bugs before you execute the commands to catch them), essentially making your moves blind ones.
The graphics are standard 2D PSX-era graphics, and while there is no music in the game, the sound effects play the role of a fully-fledged soundtrack – from cicada noise to water running down a stream, all sound effects manage to convey the feeling of being surrounded by nature.
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- "むし太郎" -- Japanese spelling
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