Greetings true believers, Valkor here. And I'm back with another round of hands on impressions of titles soon (or in the near future) to be hitting the shelves. The folks from Rising Star Games paid a visit to the NYC area and they brought a long a selection of titles for me to wrap my grubby mitts around. I was very happy to oblige. Check it out!
Akai Katana (Xbox 360) – I can probably list on one hand all the shoot em ups I've ever played, with my favorite being the 1941 series, Gradius was another, along with the R-Type series. That's not to say I'm not a fan, but I've raged many an afternoon after losing tons of quarters to those games (and broken man a controller on teh home versions). Well Rising Star is unleashing a popular fav from Japan with a host of extras making this disc worthy of a purchase. If you're unfamiliar with the Akai Katana, here's a synopsis taken from the press release:
The story of Akai Katana is set in a parallel world resembling Japan's Taisho period, where the people have discovered the powerful Blood Swords. Requiring human sacrifices to unleash their immense destructive power, these swords have been used by the empire to crush neighboring countries. However, all the bloodshed and power gained through sacrificing close family members has made some of the swordsmen think twice. With new fighter planes and the powered up swords at their disposal, this small band of rebels now fight back against the tyrannical empire.
The game features three modes of play – Origin (straight port of the original arcade game), Slash (Adds a new level exclusive to the Xbox), and Climax (which mixes Origin and Slash). Everything is hand drawn with very fluid animation. The game will be presented in 16:9 HD (except for origin which will keep its 4:3 aspect ratio) showing off very sharp, crystal clear graphics with amazing array of colors that leap from the screen. And holy shit does it get crazy on screen and I mean it can get really, really chaotic. However thanks to all that chaoticness, the game tends to slowdown at times, giving you that much of a needed break to help you clear the level. Controls were on the money as I flew my ship gracefully between enemy ships and enemy fire. My overall impression: I thought it was an amazing experience and very easy to jump into; what works most are the controls, which once you know the layout, then you're all in. This is a beautiful port and I can't wait to get the full experience.
To-Fu Collections (Nintendo DS) – I hate tofu. Not the game, but the food. However the game looks to be something special. Fans of the iOS game will be treading in familiar waters. However DS owners will get the chance to help little To-Fu become the "master of chi". To-Fu Collections brings together the two iOS games in one fantastic bundle. You'll stretch and ping To-Fu through 200 levels of play dodging and bouncing through an array of booby-traps to meet your goal. Gameplay is very simple, easy to get into, and very addicting. If I had the chance I'd still be playing it.
Cradle of Rome 2 (Nintendo 3DS) – There are actually a couple of games in this series that are worth mentioning: Cradle of Rome, Cradle of Persia, and Cradle of Rome 2. Each game follows a similar play mechanic (you have to match 3 or more symbols to break blocks and build your civilization). The bottom screen is where all the action takes place and requires use of the stylus and the top screen is where you can check the progress of your land that's being built. But don't take too much thought on matching those symbols because there's a clock winding down and once it drops to nothing its game over. However you'll be able to gain an assortment of power ups to assis in your progression. Just as I said about To-Fu, it's very simple, very easy, and loads of fun. The Cradle games will see a mid to late summer release. *nudge, nudge* how about some Vita love? Eh?
So it looks as though Rising Star Games is all about keeping it simple yet very entertaining. Save for Akai Katana, which will joyously wreck your brain as you bob and weave your way through bullet hell, the rest of the titles are all about bringing the fun. Stay tuned for more on these titles as we get them in.