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Akai Katana

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
Cave/Rising Star Games
Star Rating: 
8 out of 10

Sushi and shooters, that’s what Japan does.

The Pitch: Akai Katana is the first shmup (shoot ‘em up) from Japanese Developer, Cave, to make its way to American Xboxes courtesy of Rising Star Games, offering 2D, side scrolling mayhem and lots of bright colors.

What It Really Is: It’s like dropping acid and then pumping 40 bucks into a Galaga machine that always starts you on level 20. The category that Akai Katana falls into isn’t exactly huge here in the US anymore, a surprising fact when you consider it’s intrinsically linked to phrases like “shoot em up” and “bullet hell,” but that doesn’t mean there’s not room in your collection for a game that’s teeming with intensity and chaotic action. And AK doesn’t just deliver a frenzied experience, it seems to take pride in unrelentingly pumping it in your eyeholes. Luckily, there are a few modes to be found in Katana that make it a bit easier for newcomers to segue from an Xbox amateur to an arcade assassin...unless you’re prone to seizures, in which case you might wanna have an ambulance standing by. Ready-Made Press Blurb:Akai Katana makes foaming at the mouth cool again!”

Fun Fact: Akai Katana offers two Xbox  achievements per level and extras for completion of the game. Take note, gamerscore whores.

Who’s It For: If you yearn for the days of carpal tunnel brought on by frantic arcade button-pressing then Akai Katana will deliver the manic dodge-and-shoot strategy that triumphed in the 80s but doesn’t require a roll of quarters. Nipponophiles should also take this as a sign of things to come because Cave has a big backlog of games that are just itching to infiltrate American living rooms.