Akane Review

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After a couple of years of cyberpunk dystopian settings, I would imagine many people are getting tired of it. Personally, I love the aesthetic and I don’t think that will ever change. Especially when it’s combined with an anime aesthetic that’s reminiscent of the ‘90s and early 2000s.

So when I booted up Akane and was greeted with an aesthetic that reminded me of late nights watching adult swim when I was younger, I was excited to give this arcade hack and slash a try. They say never to judge a book by its cover, or in this case a game by its art style, but what’s the point of hiring a graphics artist if you don’t let that sway your influence at least a little?

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Thankfully, Akane doesn’t disappoint. It’s an arena arcade-slash game, where you play as Akane, a young woman who is seeking revenge on the Yakuza who killed her parents while she was only a child. I chose to complete the tutorial before diving into the game and it was cleverly set-up as a glimpse into Akane’s life as an orphan training at a dojo; learning how to fight, so she could avenge the loss of her parents. As exciting as I am trying to make it sound, the combat itself is nothing too fancy.

Most enemies throughout the game can be defeated with a single strike. There are a couple of exceptions, such as the boss and the larger enemy variant, but the majority of the time, one hit is one kill. The same goes for Akane – it’s an unforgiving game where whenever I messed up an attack and opened myself up, I usually paid for the mistake with my life.

Akane’s move set consists of a simple dodge, a sword attack, a gun attack, and then a special move. This special can be performed after getting enough kills and there are two variants of it. There’s the basic version, in which Akane dashes in a straight line across the screen, killing anyone in her path, as well as the advanced version, whereby mashing the attack button, she dashes to every enemy on screen.

The basic version of the special move actually took me a little while to get used to performing. Due to the fast-paced nature of the game, I would fixate more on using basic attacks and trying to survive. Usually, by the time I remembered to use the special move, I was able to just use the advanced version of it.

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I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t just enjoy the feeling of mashing a button and killing everything on screen.

The entirety of the game is confined to a single arena in which Akane fights endless waves of Yakuza. There are five enemy types that spawn, one of which is the game’s boss. Every 100 kills causes him to spawn, despawning any other enemies and allowing you to focus all of your attention on him.

Beyond that though, there isn’t much else in terms of gameplay. There are challenges presented, such as hit X combo, or defeat X number of enemies in a specific way. These challenges will unlock new gear that changes Akane’s appearance, as well as her weapons and damage.

It’s a cool, if not basic system. But for the price point of the game, I feel there isn’t much else to expect. I do wish there was more enemy, specifically boss, variety. An extra boss or two would help mix things up, and it would give more incentive to go back and keep playing. The same goes for the arena; while I love the aesthetic of the game as is, some variety would help prevent things from going stale.

But again, for the price point, it’s hard to ask for too much more. It’s a satisfying hack-n-slash arcade game. The music is catchy, the visuals pop, and the gameplay, while there is a slight learning curve, is fun.

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Once you hit 100 kills and defeat the boss, you’ve experienced the vast majority of what Akane has to offer. Depending on how good you are this could take a couple of minutes or upwards of an hour. Everything is fast paced and you do need to focus to play well, but it’s also simple enough to pick up and put down at a moment’s notice.

If you’re the kind of gamer who likes a challenge, intent on beating your previous score, Akane is a great game to play. There isn’t a boat load of content, but for what it costs, you shouldn’t be expecting that much.

Akane is on the Xbox Store

Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor
Grew up playing the Nintendo 64 where I fell in love with the Legend of Zelda series. As I got older though my console of choice changed, first to PS2, and then finally to the Xbox 360, which I've been playing on for over a decade now. And since my first day booting up my Xbox, I've upgraded consoles and even built a gaming PC. Because at the end of the day I just love gaming.
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