has almost an elemental triangle of sorts, the key to putting up big scores. The base elements are Steel and Energy. You can use these in combination to summon your alter ego called a Phantom, who can then harvest Katanas from enemies and rack up the highest possible scores in the game. To really pull this off, you need to perform specific actions against enemies, when you are in the proper mode. Playing this way takes discipline and is more dangerous. There are visual indicators and tutorials around how all this works, but we’d be telling a lie if we said anything about optimizing scores in Akai Katana
was intuitive. You’ll have to learn how to switch modes from attack to defense to summon, in order to time attacks. Get it wrong and you can blow potentially lucrative scoring segments, which you only have in limited supply considering that waves of enemies don’t pause for you to get your act together. As we said earlier, you can mash buttons and enjoy yourself, but if you’re serious about playing Akai Katana
as it was designed to be played, you’re going to have to practice.
The good news? Playing Akai Katana as intended makes the whole experience more fun, at least to those of us still addicted to do-or-die arcade action. If you’re looking for sophisticated character development, slick next-gen visuals, and massive levels of customization, seek elsewhere. This whole genre is about twisting your head and testing your reflexes, not to mention overstimulating your visual cortex frequently. Tsubaki, Botan, and Shion may not mean much to you now, but the brave pilots of Akai Katana should earn their place alongside similar arcade titles in the game library of true fans. For more casual fans, we’ll say that games like Ikaruga are probably better starting points, on the basis of keeping things simpler and going a bit easier on your budget. Akai Katana was built to appease a specialty audience with specialty tastes, which it does well.