Who doesn't enjoy cute stuff once in a while? Well, retailers, it seems. Cutesy stuff are a hard sale. That's why we turn our perked noses towards over the Pacific, specifically, Yokohama, Japan.
Arc System Works opened their own English site, and who's better to great you than one of the cutest buttons on the BlazBlue roster than Noel? She'll guide you through the swanky/Flash offices where there are some pretty interesting graphs and documents about the company. They're pretty easy to understand, but the real fun is clicking on the random objects (Rachel and Ragna don't like being touched?).
Keeping up with Arc, a promotional video was released for Record of Agarest War 2, and this one has a short dance routine on par with the IM@S gals.
Lastly, I'd like to share my thoughts on Arc's latest, and arguably most adorable, release on the DSiWare, BlayzBloo: Super Melee Brawlers Battle Royale.
As the title suggest, you are thrown into a pit to battle your opponents with your fists, sword, or any weapon that that an unseen but ever present force bestows upon you, 'ala Gladiator. The battles are quick, yet brutal. Why must they fight? Why must they suffer? WHAT ARE THEY FIGHTING FOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAURRRRRRRRGH?
Five characters from the BlazBlue series (Ragna, Jin, Noel, Rachel, and Taokaka) are here to fight in their super deformed glory in a 3D environment. You have a few game modes. In single player you play through five stages; point (collect the most soba bowls), life (be the last one standing), flag (have Litchi Faye-Ling's panda hairpiece, Lao Jiu, on YOUR head before time runs out), a special stage (a variation of one of the previous stages. Invisible flag, melting point, and such), and a boss battle. Boss battle (I'll refrain from spoiling who it is, but it's not someone you haven't fought already) is a single amp-up character, and the game would have had quite a bit more replayability, or at least challenge, if the AI were able to fight on this level more often, but que sera sera.
Free Battle also has two more battle modes; Free Battle to just fight the AI in custom battle matches, and DS Wireless Play. You can play with your friends in Wireless Play, but they must also have had to purchased the game.
Controls: directional pad moves your little fighter, A is your "Drive" attack, B is jump, X to use item, and Y is your normal attack.
Yes, the "Drive" attack! Not quite as brutal as the home console equivalent, but it does add a pinch of depth more than just running around like chickens pecking your foes. Tao's "Dancing Edge" is a piercing dash forward, so aim toward your opponent (or head off the ledge). Noel's "Chain Revolver" has her shoot you POINT BLANK ON THE CHIBI FACE. Ragna's "Soul Eater" is a slash forward of the mighty sword, but I found it as a bit of a disadvantage as it leaves you completely open from the animation action for your enemies to completely pounce you, more so than the other character's Drives from my experience. The reward here is hearing Ragna yell "MOVE IT" like a spoiled kid at a party. Really, pick yourself and three other Ragnas, I always get a kick out of that.
Jin's Drive, Reitou (Frost Bite), is a page taken from Sub-Zero's Ice Blast. IT WILL BREAK YOU. You won't see it coming, either. When it hits you you're screwed. Or, rather, frozen. You can use the directional pad to shake it off a bit, but if you don't shake like hell... Depending on what mode you're playing you can be royally screwed. x10. Not only Jin can freeze you, but if he uses the same Drive you again while you're frozen, you blast back. See ya~
The most interesting Drive to me is Rachel's. "Sliphead" is her controlling the "wind" and blows you in the direction she's facing. It could be towards a ledge, but that wouldn't have much effect. The true purpose of this move is you start whacking your opponent, push the Drive button and send Rachel off to knock down several opponents, and if you're able to land it they get pushed back a further distance. It's tricky, but it pays off, especially since Rachel moves slower than the others. Her Drive by itself is practically useless, otherwise.
To change up the gameplay you have several items you can obtain by smashing open chests. Inside you can use bowling balls, a frog (George XIII), kunai, and bombs. The Arms you can acquire are S-medals, mushroom, curse, bunny ears, and Big B. You can knock down one or all opponents if you're lucky.
There are five stages that appeared in the original game available here in miniature form, each with varying layouts. The Graveyard has a couple moments where the tombstones slide open for you to jump in to avoid getting struck by lightning. What I particularly liked were the remixes for each stage. Nothing fancy, but it's neat.
All in all, BlayzBloo is a little wacky fighter that has a bit to offer for a quick (really quick), simple bout. Serious fighter players who aren't looking to put a little sugar on their tooth won't be sticking around for this too long. That wasn't the intent, anyway. It comes off more like something for fans of the BlazBlue universe to nibble on. You can see there's potential here to become a high tier DSiWare title just by what they presented. What came through was a little short of what could have pleased a lot more people. Even if they added (raugh...) friend codes it would have pushed this game a little farther than where it landed. That said, I can't deny that they brought some elements into the game that made it fun for me. I enjoyed the game and hope to see it continue as a reoccurring series! Maybe even as a complete DS cart game? At the very least we now know what BlazBlue looks like in 3D! (kind of)
BlayzBloo get's a
Light-orange! Burrr-ba-buurr! The energy and ambition of orange, while white sets the tone for a bright beginning!