Arcana Heart 3

 

16 cert, Examo, Xbox Live ***

Following recent Olympic events, this is probably a good time to play an all-female combat game. A popular retail release last year, Arcana Heart 3 is finally available for Xbox Live, replete with retro 2D combat, dozens of characters and a blinding colour palette. Arcana Heart 3 is a happy participant in the fighting-game eccentricity arms race: One pugilist has a whale-like creature that jumps out of a briefcase; another sports a halo and brings along a bearded, floating Pokémon-style pet; another has a staff with a monstrous feline head that snaps at opponents. For those who like their characters to move slowly and pack a big punch, Catherine Kyoubashi plays from within a huge robot exoskeleton while another character plays alongside her lumbering, crudely animated pet monster. In the unlikely event that you play this Japanese game for its story, you’ll have the dubious pleasure of reading reams of subtitled dialogue such as “Please relinquish possession of the celestial stone!” Instead, we recommend the fast-paced, old-fashioned (if slightly narrow) arcade and multiplayer modes.

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