XBox 360 Game Review: Akai Katana

Publisher Rising Star Games debuts in North America with the side scrolling game Akai Katana, exclusively for the Xbox 360. Developed by CAVE Interactive has high challenge, online leaderboards, two player option, and non-stop, side scrolling action.

The Hype

Akai Katana is a side-scrolling ‘bullet hell’ shooter game set in a parallel world resembling Japan’s Taisho period. Utilizing the power behind the world’s Blood Swords for leverage, shoot‘em up fans will fight alongside their rebel warrior kin as they seek to regain peace and order by taking on a fierce empire of tyranny.

Requiring human sacrifices to unleash their immense destructive power, these swords have been used by the empire to crush neighbouring countries. However, all the bloodshed and power gained through sacrificing close family members has made some of the swordsmen reconsider. With new fighter planes and the powered up swords at their disposal, this small band of rebels now fight back against the tyrannical empire.

Unleash the power of the Blood Swords. The Empire’s war has ravaged the world the people are suffering in its relentless pursuit of domination using the feared Blood Swords. The sacrifices have been great, their deaths giving power to these blades. Do you have the strength to lead a small band of rebels to victory in the face of overwhelming odds?

The Reality

Akai Katana is a side-scrolling shoot-‘em-up-everything-explodes sort of game released exclusively on Xbox 360. Akai Katana places gamers in a parallel world resembling Japan’s Taisho (a.k.a. Great Righteousness) period (1912 to 1926). Akai Katana puts the sword in players’ hands as they take on a tyrannical empire of bloodshed to restore peace and order to the world they once knew.

If you enjoy side-scrolling shoot-‘em-up-everything-explodes sort of games, then try this game out. The addition of the local two-player co-op mode and enhanced HD graphics are a definite plus. This game also features online leaderboards and replays. The initial setup and mechanics take some adjustment, but be patient because the high octane action is worth the effort.

There are three different game modes with difference scoring mechanics and training for each one.

Origin mode is an arcade-like game version ported to this XBox 360 version. Climax mode, which is an Origin mode variation with a higher difficulty. Climax mode is exclusive to this XBox 360 version, contains an extra stage, and is optimized for high definition 16:9 game play, with gaming balances adjusted for the wide screen mode.

Step up the challenges even more in Slash mode, which has a different set of game mechanics that set it far enough apart from the other modes for an engaging experience.

The side scrolling action is fun while the impressive hand-drawn artwork adds even more appeal. The colorful visual distinguish themselves enough to avoid overwhelming players with different weapons fire and various targets.

The high point system (see upper right on graphic below) requires players hit the 100-million mark for the 1st extra life so the replay value and challenges are high, but so is the time investment in each game session.

Fighter airplane action scenarios transfer into mystical “Phantoms” where your character and plane pilot blows everything out of the sky, land, or sea. Your fighter plane pilot character shoots at everything that moves, collects power-ups and bombs, and uses them on the enemies.

At a certain point you are confronted by another Phantom character and the battle is on! You fire on the Phantom until you deplete his energy and he is defeated. Then you do it again until you reach the end of the available characters.

My cousin Tim Mackley and I collaborated on this review. Thanks Tim!

Review: Akai Katana

Where to Buy: Amazon and other stores

Price: $39.99

What I Like: great level designs, colorfully sharp graphics help distinguish targets/enemies, high challenge level, online leaderboards, three game modes

What Needs Improvement: longer length in main mode

Source: Copy provided by publisher

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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