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∀kashicforce - Review

∀kashicforce is a doujin (indie) action, puzzle and strategy fighting game by Endless Shirafu and Fruitbat Factory. The gameplay consists of shooting at coloured orbs, raising shields, and using a variety of different special moves called commands to destroy large numbers of blocks to build up combos, or to send a variety of orbs into an opponent's area that pile up stacking to the top to defeat the opponent.

The story is a bit hard to follow as it uses a lot of terms that doesn't explain things about what is happening in the story. All I can figure out (and this is my best guess!) is that the protagonist Shaty is an Orchid who was summoned by the Orchid Alex to fight against four other Orchids Ageha, Aranha, Hymeno and Hirari. Initially there is one difficulty mode to choose from which is inundation of brigades. A new mode called abused insanity will unlock and become an additional option after completing inundation of brigades. This mode will unlock a harder set of battles, a slightly different story with plot twists, and include a secret boss battle.

It took me about 4 hours to complete half of the missions in mission mode, all of inundation of brigades, as well as the entirety of abused insanity mode making this game a fairly quick play.

While the gameplay was quick, coming to understand things inside the game might not be. ∀kashicforce has a very steep learning curve where reading the manual is more confusing instead due to the incomprehensible jargon in the manual. The missions in mission mode which is supposed to be a training mode for players who are new to the game and will scale progressively to become harder are also equally confusing. Thankfully, the game has the sequence of buttons to press for every command each Orchid can carry out on that character's window panel during battles. Most of the time, I just blindly stumbled and experimented with different commands to clear some of the missions and the channeling mode.

By plodding through the battles in inundation of brigades and abused insanity, the true ending theme is unlocked and actually has a nice theme song, (Katachi no nai Hana - Shapeless Flower). It would be nice if the game had a gallery mode so we could replay the ending theme.

It is worth mentioning that the character artwork sprites for every Orchid is very cute and I would have loved to see more of the story focus on them specifically. Hopefully this game will qualify for Steam trading cards in future so we can see cute Orchids as backgrounds there.

∀kashicforce can be difficult to learn since plenty of technical sci-fi terms are used throughout the game and manual. The jargon often doesn't relate (or I fail to see the connection) to any other puzzle fighting or strategy game. Hence, I ended up stumbling around blindly, trying out various attacks and commands in a let's try this and see what happens approach. Thankfully, this game doesn't have Steam achievements that I would have to learn this jargon for to complete. It is also not too difficult to reach the true ending, unlock all characters for mission mode, see the ending theme, and hear the theme song.

At the same time, save progress in story mode will be cleared after winning the final boss in abused insanity. My fingers really hurt after holding and mashing certain button combinations, and some of the battle segments such as World Enchant and the battle with the final boss can have overly bright and glaring visuals especially when playing the game at night. Finally, the cute and sometimes comical artwork and dialogue in channeling mode was let down by a lack of a decent introduction or opener. Without anything to describe and establish the setting and storyline, it is very hard to feel attached to the story or any of the characters that you meet throughout the game.

Overall, ∀kashicforce is an arcade doujin puzzle and strategy fighting game with cute anime girls, flashy and attractive animation that includes nice techno music and a good theme song. At the same time, the game can be difficult to learn, has a forgettable storyline, can be taxing on the fingers, has overly bright and glaring visuals, and doesn't seem to allow online multiplayer games with friends in Steam. Personally, I'm still glad I managed to finish the story mode in this game to see the true ending but struggle to give this a solid recommendation.

Gameplay video on YouTube by GamingTrendVideos

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