There’s a word in Japanese that people use to describe things that are at once cute and grotesque: kimokawaii. Upcoming side-scrolling adventure game Murasaki Baby is just that. Featuring an adorable protagonist with an upside-down face and a world populated with enemies like giant, hairy-nostrilled noses and razor-toothed bunnies, the game is a blend of the kimochi warui, or gross, and kawaii cuteness, and is due for release sometime this year.

Ahead of the E3 trade fair, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has revealed a series of animated GIFs showing off the game’s otherworldly visuals, which we can only describe as a mix between The Nightmare Before Christmas and merciless indie platformer Limbo.

In fact, developer Ovosonico’s inspiration for Murasaki Baby‘s art design was the work of writer and artist Edward Gorey, whose pen-and-ink drawings in particular earned him a reputation as a surrealist artist. Much like the scenes depicted in Gorey’s works, Murasaki Baby‘s levels are at once charming and nightmarish, combining heart-shaped balloons and flowers with twisted trees, giant, watchful eyeballs, and looming shadows.

Check out these GIFs released yesterday on Sony’s PlayStation Blog.

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The game, which is being developed exclusively for Sony’s portable console PlayStation Vita, tasks players with taking protagonist Baby by the hand (quite literally – Murasaki Baby makes constant use of the console’s touch screen) and manipulating the world around her to help her overcome the perilous levels.

There’s still no official release date for the game, but with E3 fast approaching chances are we’ll be seeing a lot more of Murasaki Baby in the coming months.

Source/images: PlayStation BlogOvosonico h/t Joystiq