Japan has always been in love with its culture and mythology and its young creators made sure that these stories played prominent role in their narratives. Take Natsume for example and its five seasons of youkai adventures, hardly the only title with a youkai theme, or The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and other similar films.
I am still pleasantly haunted by the magnificent atmosphere and incredible soundtrack of Okami, the action-adventure video game developed by Clover Studio that combined several Japanese myths, legends and folklore to tell a wonderfully colorful story.
All of these stories though have one thing in common: They were created in Japan by people who have grown listening to those stories like we grew up with Pinocchio and the stories of the Grimm brothers.
Johua Hurd of Sparrow House Games, however, is neither Japanese nor imbued with these stories from when he was a child. Like many of us, he fell in love with the culture at a later age and under different circumstances. After a university exchange in Akita, Tōhoku (Northern Japan) in 2013, he returned to Canada to form Sparrow House Games.
Still astonished by what he had experienced in Japan, he started working on Miyamori, a side-scrolling platform game developed by him, with pixel art from Lachlan Cartland, and promotional art by Kevin Hong. In his own words, ‘I wanted to capture the sense of wonder and adventure I felt while hiking through the Akita countryside. I wanted to take all those stories and ideas I had gathered, and make something that people will have fun playing.’
You just need to take one look at the screenshots to realize that Miyamori draws heavily from Japanese mythology imagery. The game follows Suzume who is trying to find her brother Toshiki after he disappeared one summer night catching fireflies. In the woods she finds the guardian fox spirit of the nearby shrine, Izuna, who is trying to find her guardian fox partner, Gedo. They decide to help each other find what they are looking for.
The game embraces a unique mythos into a beautiful pixel art platformer that wants its players to experience a wonderful story inspired by the Japanese folklore found in the Tōhoku region. If you are even slightly intrigued by Shinto shrines and guardian foxes, then you will definitely fall in love with the screenshots:
The studio recently released their first teaser trailer for Miyamori: