Cave shmups are traditionally strange, very Japanese, and can be classified as entry level bullet hell games. Among a sea of these kind of games for some reason the Cave ones are pedastaled higher like a beacon at sea. This year CAVE has brought Americans Akai Katana. The plot may in fact be complete nonsense and like all CAVE titles the game play borders from weird to insanity (in Deathsmiles 2X you fight Santa Claus). What separates this title from other CAVE games is the new katana system introduced for this game.
Players can defeat enemies to get metal which charges their red katana meter. Then by pressing X you’ll get floating green energy shaped like an arrow around you, fire that at the enemy and for as many of those energy spears hit you’ll get the same number of katanas floating around you. These can then be chucked by hitting X again for massive piercing damage. Want to do that again? You’ll have to kill enemies with the A button to charge your magic meter which grows larger the less lives you have on hand. Otherwise Akai Katana features three characters, and the standard shmup bombs to attack the entire screen. As simple as this system sounds it is what separates this game from other shmups in the genre. While most Cave shooters just focus on familiars this one requires a bit of planning and strategy as you hunt for high scores.
Unfortunately, the game’s three modes are roughly the same and its as confusing as staring down all of Deathsmiles’ many modes. The plot as aforementioned is nonsense unless you speak Japanese. The bosses are all modeled after Samurais who for some reason open dimensional holes that summon giant flying vechiles that fell out of a World War 2 sim. Trying to make sense of Akai Katana really isn’t the point. Embrace the game play and enjoy what makes sense like blowing up enemy aircraft.
- Katana system shakes things up for a Shmup title
- Graphics are pretty eye catching
- Bullet Hell games are cheap, this one is no different
- Story is a wash for English speakers