Do you even tap-dodge?
This is easily one of the most unique shoot-em-ups in over a decade, with three drastically different gameplay modes, each with their own scoring systems. The abilities at your disposal can seem overwhelming at first, but once they become second-nature, you will find nothing more satisfying than mastering the art of filling your screen with gold and perfecting your game to the best of your abilities. You probably won't top the leaderboards. You probably won't even get into the top 100. But when you're within the top 300 or 400 spots, or better yet, clear the game, you will feel like going out and celebrating. If you consider yourself hardcore, but haven't played this magnificent shooter, ask yourself... do you even number-crunch?
The best horizontal shmup I have played yet.
I have been a fan of shmups for years and love the manic shooter genre, but I am not usually grabbed by the horizontal titles as they don't often have the same sense of speed that their vertical counterparts do. This is where Cave delivers the goods; Akai Katana has the speed, balance, and challenge normally found in vertically oriented shoot-em-ups and they did this at no expense to any other aspect of the game.
Graphically and visually this game is beautiful. The colors are vibrant and it's never hard to tell what's an active part of the battle and what's in the background. The environments, enemies, and bullet patters are all very artfully crafted and appealing.
Sound-wise the game is nice and clear, the Japanese voices match up well, and the music does a good job of filling the space without getting in the way. The only thing here I will say is that some of the music is very cliche guitar-driven and may not be tracks you will want to listen to outside of playing the game. But they aren't bad to the point where they intrude on the experience or detract from the enjoyability of the game.
The gameplay mechanics and controls are an area where the game shines as well. There are 3 different gameplay modes that have the same foundation, but have different tweaks to them to make them unique from each other. The systems in each mode are simple enough to pick up and enjoy within minutes, but complex enough that it will take practice to master utilizing them to achieve max scores. The controls are completely responsive and very smooth. There are a couple of extremely minor things that I would have done differently if I were the one making this game, but they are just differences of preference; not things done badly or that don't work well. It is also best to read the manual to get a firm grasp on the mechanics and how they're different in each gameplay mode.
If you're a shmups/shooter fan, I would highly recommend this title as it's not often we get really good quality games like this released over here in the States. To me, it was worth the price as I will spend many hours honing my skills to clear the game in one credit and get the best scores.
Cave Delivers Big Time
I'm the kind of person who loves seeing classic sprite-based shooters brought to retail, as I'm more of a collector, so these types of games are nice to have on the shelf, with a thick, colored manual, and a disc itself over a download sitting on your Xbox 360 hard drive.
Some may argue that the sprite graphics and game's length doesn't warrant a $40 price tag, but I disagree entirely. I think there's enough room in the video game industry for retail games with sprite graphics, as I find them to be both beautiful and nostalgic. In addition, while some will argue that shooters are short, I believe that there's enough content on the disc to warrant the price. These games are all about replaying multiple times to become better. We used to pay $40+ for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo games, which are likely some of your best and favorite memories as a gamer, so what's the problem with it now?
IGN argues that $40 is too much when you can buy Skyrim on sale for the same price, but why must one compare the two? Can't both coexist, as they're both completely different? Why must I choose one or the other? Why does IGN think a game like Akai Katana should only be sold as a downloadable game?
It's a shame so many people feel this way.
Akai Katana is hands down one of the most satisfying horizontal shooters I've played in a long time. Great graphics, music, gameplay, etc.
Exactly what I have come to expect from Cave
If you are like me, and have already played Cave shooters before, you owe it to yourself to put this game in your collection. For those of you that haven't played an arcade shooter this will be an introduction to Bullethell.
Realistically, this is a very niche game, few gamers in the US will play this, and if you're an arcade shooter fan, you'll end up buying this regardless.
Did not live up to expectation...
This game is not bad graphics wise but gameplay wise did not catch my attention although I'm a achivement hunter I didn't find any interest in this game...
Cave's Latest Shooter to Hit the US!
The only other Cave shooter to see the light of day in North America retail outlets is Deathsmiles. You can buy Guwange and Deathsmiles II on Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Games on Demand, respectively. Akai Katana, much like Deathsmiles, is a horizontal scrolling sprite-based shooter. In addition, some issues prevalent in the import version have been addressed in its US release. This is Rising Star Game's first release in the US, as they're known for bringing niche games to the UK market. Now they're ready to make an impact in the US by bringing over one of Cave's most desired shooters, because the import version was region-locked, meaning it couldn't be played on NTSC consoles. If you're an old school gamer that loves sprite-based shooters, look no further, because Akai Katana has you covered.