Fighting games are a hard niche on their own with many relying to popular icons like the Marvel brand and/or DC to sell the game. Still, we have great games that seemed to rise out of their own merit like the Tekken series, Soul Calibur, or even the oddball Dead or Alive games. Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! (what a mouthful) is a hidden gem in its own right and despite it being based almost solely around teenage school girls… its a very fun 2D classic fighting game. Nearly every character is unique in respect and the controls are so smooth and fun to work with that you’d think you were back in the old arcade days, rolling through quarters on a gem from yesteryear. No, that doesn’t mean it is perfect but if you were looking forward to Dragon Ball Z Fighter, you might want to take a look at this beforehand.
GRAPHICS AND PRESENTATION
Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! has some nice art for each character select screen and even for stills in the story mode. Its kind of head-scratching though when the in-game sprites and backdrops feel and look of lesser quality. The actual in-game match screen is limited to a 4:3 ratio due to bars on the side and you can’t help but think this game might be trying to go for an “old-school” feel with this design choice. If you don’t view it that way, it becomes odd with aforementioned blurry and lesser quality sprites of the actual fighter characters and the stages they take place on. This doesn’t kill the game presentation but its something you should be aware of since it seems like an intentional design choice to mimic the arcade or NEO GEO feel.
On second thought, it feels like an early Gamecube or PS2 game. That is not a bad thing at all. The main menu is sort of basic but it reminds you of that time period and the main music is catchy as all get out. That goes for the rest of the musical score. Its very 90’s in its design and just everything about this will send you back to your childhood in ways you never thought.
GAME-PLAY AND MODES
Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! consists of a roster of 24 characters which all tend to be very fun to play and have a unique look and stye to each one. If we had to directly compare the fighting style and fun factor of Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! we’d mostly compare it to the incredible experience you can have playing Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Sure, you don’t have the iconic heroes and villains to cheese off of but Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! doesn’t need that and it proves it with its controls, combo lists, and overall skill ceiling. Like most fighting games, a standard match is a best two matches out of three and if you can beat your opponent two times, you win the round. It all seems basic on paper but just playing it lets you know it is more than just that.
Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! consists of the following modes:
- STORY / AFTERSTORY – Pick a character and experience the story of each character as Japan faces entire annihilation!
- VERSUS – Play against bots or local friends offline in a standard match of 1 V 1.
- SURVIVAL SCORE ATTACK– Take on the entire roster with a twist! Your health doesn’t reset after a match!
- TRIAL– You must complete a specific objective while engaged in a fight.
- TIME ATTACK– Complete the match in the fastest time possible! Come with a leader-board.
- TRAINING- Become the very best at your character and learn their moves.
- NETWORK– Connect with others and battle it out in 1 V 1 matches.
- REPLAY THEATER– Manage and playback data from past matches.
- GALLERY– View the illustrations, music, voice clips, and video from the game.
This is coming from someone who dabbles in fighting games here and there but mostly played them as a child; Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! is incredibly fun based just solely on how fun every character is to play and fight with. Sure, you get a LOT of generous modes and that is always a bonus, but its the overall package that makes you really sit back and make you wonder what other gems you haven’t played. The art direction and very Japanese game design might turn a lot of people away (since the target audience seems to be so niche) but its definitely one of the better fighting games you can play right now. While games like Mortal Kombat X put more work into the shock factor than the fighting mechanics, Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! delivers a game that kicks you back to the past with its insanely fun combat above anything else stacked on top of it.
Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! is a must get for any serious fighter fan.