Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is an indie title, classified as a visual novel, coming out May 27, 2022 on Nintendo SwitchXbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4PlayStation 5 and Steam. Developed by Fiction Factory Gamesis published by PQube (responsible for releases like World For Two and Gal * Gun Return) for the price of € 19.99. A paltry cost for a title curated in all its parts, which offers space for multiple endings and lots of special content. Not only that, because it promotes gender inclusiveness in every possible way by breaking down many local stereotypes.

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is a single player game completely in English, but however difficult the language may be for a neophyte, the terms used are quite understandable. Not only that, because within the speeches it is possible to find some terms commonly used by gamers and that definitely make you feel at home; how can we not also mention the different games of the famous 80s mentioned during the game? Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is the apotheosis of POP culture with some more modernity.

Be careful, however, as the reviewed title appears to be forbidden to children under 12 years old for his not exactly calm language: player warned, half saved.

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is the second installment in a small series

In reality it can easily be a stand alone title; it is not mandatory to have played Arcade Spirits in order to fully understand the story. Know, however, that on Steam it is available for € 16.99 and, once played, you can import your choices and saves into The New Challangers. If in the first we worked within a game room with a vaporwave setting, in this new challenge we will play in an arcade with one goal: to make our eSports team win. We start our game by talking to our rival, who is also an avid gamer.

You both have an inordinate passion for Fist of Discomfort 2 Pro: Competitive fighting arcade title. Your desire is to be part of a team capable not only of playing, but also of competing and winning prizes, while remaining in history. The world in which the protagonist lives is futuristic, where video games have made great strides. So much so that they are relevant in people’s daily lives; a dream shared by many and that will make you join a team with a unique personality, fulfilling yours by becoming its manager.

This is not a management system, quiet, even if you will have to make some very important decisions for your team. For example the name or the sponsor who will follow you throughout the adventure e often you will have to deal with situations where not all team members agree. Each choice will result in a change within the story, leading you to one of the many available endings. Also, what comes from what and you will have the opportunity to approach as many as 9 possible relationships. Will it become love or a solid friendship?

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers

A preview of the team is visible on the official website of Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers

If you’re curious to find out more about the main characters of this adventure, just go on the official website of the title; inside, in fact, there is a section dedicated to them where they present themselves as if it were really their personal blog. A choice from the developers that I really appreciated, as it is that little bit more capable of giving life to virtual creatures, after all. Not only that, because you can see the commitment put by the development team in this project, where every single pixel seems to have been taken care of in every little part. An example are working QRcodes present in some scenarios.

Each character was created with its own unique personality, including Iris: the protagonist’s personal life coach software. A very nice thing is that inclusiveness is not only seen in the choice of pronouns as soon as you create the avatar in the game, but also on each of the present within Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers. We, as a player character, we will always know which pronoun to use on others and everything is carried with such a naturalness that it should represent everyday life.

Unfortunately we know that they still exist various issues related to gender identity and seeing this virtual future makes you smile. It gives hope. Returning to the game, character creation is very simple and your pronoun can be changed, as well as different connotations, at each level pass. In reality they would be the chapters of Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers and, upon overcoming each one, it is possible to unlock an extra illustration in the menu. This shows the background of the game, including the first Arcade Spirits.

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers

Vintage, vaporwave, aesthetic

The game environment is extraordinary, with music so overwhelming that you want to linger a few more moments in the game to be able to listen to it. There is Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers merchandise and it is possible to buy the soundtrack separately; the experience is powerful, goes back a long time, precisely to the 80s, and for a person who has not really experienced them it is strange to feel so involved. As if, in fact, we were overwhelmed by a great nostalgia. It’s sure to keep some longtime gamer or aficionado of the aforementioned style glued to the screen.

Also the dubbing is extraordinary; it’s not always there, but those few times the characters manage to talk is incredible. Unfortunately, the voice of the protagonist or his rival will never be heard. Because yes, you will have to create it at the same time you bring your avatar to life and more, as you will be able to immediately decide what type of relationship you will have for the duration of the game. I appreciated that creation, even if aIn the end, the relationships could change during the choice of various dialogues or actions done in the game.

Enemy-friend or sworn rival, he will still have an important part in the story; he will become manager of the enemy team, the one you will face during the eSports tournaments of the hottest game of the moment: Fist of Discomfort 2 Pro. Inside Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers there is a minigamejust the one just mentioned, which he remembers very much Cooperative Street Fighter. You will have to use strategy to win, attack at the right time and defend yourself before the next enemy attacks. Actually I didn’t find much strategy to use, it seemed more like a game dictated by a virtual dice than something real and concrete.

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers

Not bug-free

What I recommend is to keep going whatever happens in the minigame; you could lose, like win, and in case you are not satisfied you could start the minigame all over again. Sometimes the game will ask if you wish to have a rematchotherwise, just save your game before a battle and reload there without any problems. Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is all about player choices and what happens, the last one it is not too fitting advice and it is better not to give it much weight. Sadly, though, Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers turned out to be a sometimes flawed game.

Nothing reaches absolute perfection, by now we know it well, but in this case we are talking about a fairly serious problem. Apart from the fact that some dialogues turn out to be slightly longer (in terms of timing) than expected at times happened to see the text of the dialog box exceed the screen. This means not having been able to read some important sentences of the discussion and, perhaps, losing some important data on the choice of one’s favorite romantic path. Apart from what you have been able to read, the title travels smoothly and it is possible to see it through the free DEMO on Steam. To play it on the PC you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows Vista;
  • Processor: 1 GHz Intel or AMD processor;
  • Memory: 1 GB of RAM;
  • Dedicated memory: 100 MB of available space.