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Akai Katana Review: Wonderful Bullet-hell Action

Akai Katana Review: Wonderful Bullet-hell Action


Akai Katana Review

Akai Katana
Xbox 360
Rising Star Games
Shoot-em Up

I was very excited to get my hands on Akai Katana and my initial reactions as I started to play where extremely positive.

Akai Katana is a bullet-hell shoot-em up game available on the Xbox 360. This side scrolling shooter that was developed by Cave, features three modes to play in and also a score attack mode for online leaderboards. The three modes include original, slash and climax. Each mode features a different play-type when it comes to difficulty and the ability of your phantom. When you first start up Akai Katana, the tutorial is not displayed, but when you are on the main menu you will want to push the B button and watch the video. It’s well worth watching as it will teach you play style and technique which is very important. Sure, you can dive right into playing the game and try and figure it out on your own, but I wouldn’t recommend that as Akai Katana has a unique play style and scoring system that you will want to learn from the tutorial video first.

When it comes to the difficulty in Akai Katana, there is a novice option for each of the three game modes should you want to select that. It makes things a little bit easier to handle though it can still be pretty tough on you, but if you are someone who usually has a difficult time with shooters, then this will be a welcomed feature for you. After playing on novice, it certainly makes going back to the regular mode more difficult. I spent most of my time playing on regular difficulty before trying novice and it feels as if the game flows at a much higher pace when playing on that setting. It’s still manageable though, especially after you begin to play it over and over again. You’ll eventually get more comfortable with the patterns but it’s still going to be a heck of a challenge. Actually, I should say one heck of an absolutely fun challenge!

The gameplay is absolutely wonderful. It has great shoot-em-up action right from the get-go. There are three ships to choose from, each with their own unique style and each, a lot of fun to play. As you jump into the first level it doesn’t give you much time to ease into the game – it will quickly get intense. There are two ways to fire weapons. One, by tapping on the fire button and two, by holding it down. Each has its own benefit to the gameplay and when it comes to collecting certain items. You also have an energy gauge that fills up as you collect items. When you have energy in this gauge you can summon your phantom. Phantom’s are capable of being invincible when they are in defense mode and they can also help you rack up some significant points for your score when attacking. This is an example where watching the tutorial video will come in handy, or by watching the pilot training videos below. They do a good job of explaining and showing you how each mode works.

Each gameplay mode has different uses for the Phantom which changes up the style of play ever so slightly. Original mode features an ability that allows you to repel the bullets away from you when using your Phantom. However, when it comes to Slash mode, your phantom will collect swords which then allows you to fire upon your enemies creating significant points. All three game modes are similar with the same number of levels and ships. The only difference is how the Phantoms are used. It’s also a big enough difference in the gameplay that you will want to play each mode as many times to do your best and achieve higher scores. The scoring system is also very good and unique, as the phantom ability helps you with achieving a high number of points. All in all, each mode is a ton of fun and you can easily spend a great number of hours playing each mode over again as you strive for higher scores.

I really enjoyed Akai Katana due to its wonderful gameplay and style that it offers. It features six stages that shouldn’t take you longer than 30 minutes to complete. Each stage is well designed with a lot of on screen action and intense moments. There are a few moments where the gameplay slows down due to so much happening on the screen. Visually it comes across as you would expect, though it certainly isn’t anything overly exciting. Some of the artwork is lovely though. The music is fairly sound thoughout. The game features some good enemies, although the bosses are not my favorite. However, the bosses do present you with a very good challenge. The most important factor when it comes to Akai Katana is that even with how short the game is, you will still be spending hours and hours playing this title without getting tired of it, thanks to enjoyable gameplay with a fun and challenging scoring system.

Score: 8/10

Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens is a Guest Editor at FanBolt for Gaming and Technology. He has over 8 years of experience working within the gaming industry which includes time at Bethesda Softworks. His unique view of the industry and passion for gaming can be found within each one of his editorials. Andrew also loves PC gaming and enjoys tinkering with new hardware. He also can’t get enough speed when it comes to racing games and doesn’t mind navigating through swarms of bullets in any shmup. He considers Rez as the greatest game ever. Andrew's opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his place of employment.


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