Kururin's siblings have wandered off and got themselves lost, and now he must hop into his Helirin (a spinning blade with a cockpit stuck in the middle) to fly around a number of worlds to rescue them. There are tutorial levels available in Kuru Kuru Kururin, but the game is straightforward enough even if the gameplay is quite different from other titles available. The action is viewed from a top-down perspective, making your Helirin craft appear as a stick. It is constantly rotating and using the d-pad (or left analogue stick if you prefer) you manoeuvre it from the start to the end of a serious of increasingly tricky courses.
Certain sections of the courses are narrow, and so you will have to wait for your stick to be positioned a certain way in order to pass without hitting the wall. Hitting a wall adds 3 seconds to your time (not a concern on your first playthrough) and also reduces your health; three hits and you fail the course, your craft shattering along with your dreams of becoming a stick-navigating superstar.
There are times where you will need to travel a bit faster in order to clear a section before the rotation of your craft sends wing colliding with wall; in order to do this you simply hold either the A or B button down whilst holding both lets you travel even faster. Tapping either L or R will trigger clown-like carhorn sound effects - a good touch but not something that affects the gameplay. The controls are responsive and work well, but as always button-mapping can be set up in the Virtual Console menu if you'd prefer to have - say - the Z triggers controlling your speed.
Ignoring the tutorial levels, there are ten worlds, each containing three levels each. It sounds a lot but once you get the hang of the courses you can work through the game quickly. There are some cute character designs in the game, viewable in the intro sequence, when you rescue a character or whenever Kururin jumps into his Helirin at the start of each level. These look good but moving a stick through a series of top-down viewed courses does not lead to the most visually impressive Game Boy Advance title that was produced. It is, however, a colourful and cheery-looking game with each world having its own theme; a jungle, a cave and the stars being three of the locations visited - there are feature in each environment that make them stand out from the others such as dinosaur fossils or whales. As you progress you can pick up customisations for your craft, altering its shape and colour; you can even have rescued family members ride on the wings.
Like the visuals the music alters between worlds, providing a variety of catchy tunes; some are chilled out while others are waltzy, whilst the ghost house goes for a funky but spooky track. The music is very good and sound effects work well too, with a few instances of sampled speech (“start" “goal") and a nasty sounding effect when you bump a wall.
The game starts off a little too easy but the difficulty is fairly well judged. To begin with you simply move through the course occasionally stopping to be at the correct angle to fit through an opening. You are soon introduced to springs that alter the direction your craft rotates, whilst later on you have to avoid canon balls and be wary of pistons that threaten to crush you. Despite these extra difficulties the biggest challenge remains avoiding the walls, with gaps getting increasingly narrow and some tricky turns to work your way around.
To help you out there are heart points to be found on the courses that restore your health, and there is a practice mode that gives you auto-replenishing health and lets you tackle a section you may be having trouble with. If you still struggle the game has two difficulty settings, with the easier one giving you a smaller stick to attempt the game with.
As well as the main mode of play there are 50 challenge levels. These are very short but also tough to beat. One mode that isn't available to Wii U owners, however, is the VS mode that back in 2001 allowed up to four GBA owners to race each other through those short courses. Its inclusion in this eShop release was always unlikely but it was something that provided good entertainment back in the day.
There's still a lot of fun to be had with the game, however, as you steadily move around turns, navigating a tricky section or rushing through a narrow gap and getting out the other side just in time to avoid clipping the wall. Even once beaten the game is replayable due to a couple of reasons. Clear a course without smashing into the sidewalls and you will be awarded a star; acquire a star on each level and you will unlock a few more. It's not much of a reward but if you like a challenge getting through each level without incident is no mean feat. The main replay value comes from trying to set a fast time on the various courses; you can just try to beat your own time or head to Miiverse to see how you compare with other gamers.
It may start off a little too easy but there's not much to fault with this title. It may not take too long to clear the levels but doing it without error is a tough challenge. There's a variety of environments visited in the game, accompanied by some terrific music; there's a lot of enjoyment to be had by slightly improving your times on the various courses. If you're looking for a fun game that's a bit different, Kuru Kuru Kururin is certainly worthy of your consideration.