Akane – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade Action, Survival
Developer: Ludic Studios
Publisher: Ludic Studios
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Akane – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Challenging, balanced, beautiful
Bad: Misses some content to keep it fresh
User Score
8.5
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (4 votes cast)

What do you get if you pick up random elements from previously released movies and games, put them in a giant jar en shake them till they are firmly mixed? Well, with the right elements, you might get something very artistic that comes around as a new game. So sharpen your katana and dress for the future as it was imagined in the 80s as you will probably slaughter thousands on your road to God knows where. 

Story

There’s a very small amount of story going on in Akane, and it’s just enough to set the mood before you start playing, provided you also do the tutorial. Akane is a girl who has been training since she was very young to become a powerful samurai. A samurai who does not only master a sword, but also a gun. Judging by how the game starts, she somehow got involved with the mafia, possibly yakuza by the looks of it. As a true 80s inspired heroine, the game starts as she finds herself surrounded by four bad guys. She shouts into the night that she will probably die, but she will take every one of the bastards with her. Other than that, we know nothing about her story, and that’s kind of okay. It’s the things you’ve seen yourself in the past that add up to the environment and the characters that allow your fantasy to run wild.

Graphics

A beautiful little piece of art Akane is. With the emphasis on little. All the attention is focused into an arena-like battleground full of neon lights, probably in the middle of Japan. It’s all made up out of high-resolution pixel art, and what’s there to see is pretty at least. Still frames don’t do the game justice though, so check the game’s trailer below the concluding section of this review. The characters and their animations are high quality as well, but, like a lot in this game, a lot of it will get repetitive by the ultimate lack of variation.

Sound

The entire game revolves about high-paced fighting and survival and is accompanied by upbeat electronic music. There’s a variation of about four or five songs that are on repeat, and it’s enough to just be satisfied because it disappears in the background a bit while playing, since you will be focused on the game. After all, taking your eyes off the battlefield will force you to start over. There’s also an array of sound effects available that are timed ungodly well to the movements you make. And nothing beats the sound of your screaming enemies as you slice through them.

Gameplay

Akane could best be described as an arcade game where high-paced action and survival are paired together. Make one mistake, just one, and you are done for. Meanwhile, at the same time, the same goes for your enemies. This means that you will easily slaughter ten of them in a few seconds. And sometimes, when the field is filling up with what seems to be a vast army, every second is what you will need. First, let’s look at how the game is built up. Your goal is to survive as long as possible, and there probably is an end to it all at some point. The game gets harder with every hundred enemies (plus one boss) you kill, and if you die you will have to start at enemy number one again. On your road to the top, you have five different challenges to complete, every one of them linked to an item. These items, shoes, sword, gun, accessory or smokes, are equipable. This means that every time you complete a challenge you will unlock a new item, corresponding to the challenge, that alters your gameplay slightly. It’s how the game stretches what initially seems like a mini-game to literal hours of gameplay.

That being said, the game does get repetitive and it’s still a small game. Besides the regular mobs that die with one hit, there are three special kinds of mobs as far as we encountered. They take some more tactics to take them down, and especially in a battlezone filled with tens of mobs, this can be a real nuisance. The same goes for the boss that comes around after every hundred mobs. It’s the same boss but just with a higher level (defeated the boss lvl 1, killed a hundred enemies, boss lvl 2 spawns), which seems a bit weird story-wise but also does not help the repetitive aspect. The game doesn’t really have any rogue factor though it desperately needs one. The only noticeable difference is that sometimes there are more special enemies of a certain type and less of the other. The game’s previously mentioned items do make a difference because of the way i.e. the guns shoot and you will find the shotgun with a wide spread and higher damage more comfortable than the basic pistol.

Eventually though, besides the challenging aspect of the game, the unlockables that might help you and the nice balance that’s been built in, the game really simply could use some variation by either rogue aspects or multiple maps/levels. For now, for a full price of only $5/€5 for the game as it is on the Switch and $4/€4 for the PC version, it’s more than a fair trade compared to what you get. But it has such a nice potential that, as it stands, is still going to waste in terms of what could have been.

Conclusion

Akane is a beautiful little piece of art, and it does some things very well. A proper challenge, some mystery, and balanced gameplay, it’s all there. For the small price tag, it’s a fair trade. Yet the game feels unfinished in ways such as only a single boss is implemented or playing the same level over and over again does get a bit tedious. It’s good, it’s enjoyable, but it’s just not the best it could have been.

Go to 1:20 to see what the gameplay is actually about

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Rating: 8.5/10 (4 votes cast)
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Akane - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen


Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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