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 Post subject: Akinofa (XB1 - X|S - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:01 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 403
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time to keep checking those Indie shmups.
This time is Akinofa.

Looks like a promising retro-shmup.

At first, Akinofa looks like a basic side-scrolling shooter where the present element of bullet hell is ditched away for a more old, simple and basic shooter as the gameplay aims for a more relaxed challenge based on strategic enemy placement similar to R-Type, but using a health mechanism similar to E.D.F. Earth Defense Force and The Legend Of Zelda as you start with 3 hearts which can be replenished by killing an item carrying enemy and getting a heart or speding some money in the stage clear shop, hence utilizing the store format from classics like U.N. Squadron but the money system is more luck based like an RPG since money is given by matter of luck like 1 enemy gives you 1 Gold, 3 don't.
They also included Sub-weapons like the Double Shot, Triple Shot and the 3-Way which act like the secondary weapon of Akinofa, which is your undead flying fish. Along with these weapons you're given a Special Attack which summons a gigantic ghost Akinofa that rams through your enemies, however, you'll be relying on it only to destroy long formations or clearing a path to keep you safe for a little while, making it more of a defensive weapon than an offensive one.

Peace sells, but who's buying?

At the end of the level, you'll reach a shop where you can buy any of the items randomly offered. So you don't know if you can get an Weapon Energy refill, hearts or Double/Triple Shot.

However, this game has its problems: The controls are an anomaly of gaming 'cos when you play with the D-Pad, the ship moves very sluggish as if it has to accelerate to move on a specific direction, while the Analog Stick, Akinofa moves fine, but still in the slow-mid speed. This could be quite a problem since the enemy fire is slightly faster than your the flying fish you're controlling. Also, the item carrying enemies doesn't appear too often and they will drop a random item from 4 Gold or a Heart or Weapon Energy refill making life recover a matter of pure luck.

Helen Waite is our new credit manager.
If you need credits go to Hel'en Waite.

Everytime you die and get game over, your unused gold turns in what I call "Death Credits" as they turn into cash for the Game Over Upgrade store where you can buy a particular upgrade and level it up a certain amount of times.
The best strategy by far is to upgrade the "Gold chances up to 20%" (Upper right), then concentrate on the fire rate, life and weapon energy and then the special attack.

You are also given the option of retrying or go back to the Main Menu, but as soon as you select "Retry"...

Get used to that first screen.
You'll be there for a long time.

...The game sends you all the way back to the first stage. Yeah, this is one of those indie games where the developer thinks "Harsh difficulty is fun". I mean, if the game gave me the option of pay 100 Gold for continuing I'd accept that, but the only thing this will result is in quitting from playing the game 'cos you're gonna get killed after making some progress.

There's gonna be some skull crunching dues to pay here.

Have you gave up on reaching the ending because of the difficulty? Well, here's the ending for ya'.
The game consists of 3 worlds of 5 stages and a boss fight level, giving a staggering total of 18 levels, being this "Death Skull" the final boss of the game, it will go down easily with the Triple Shot and...

Is Perfect Play and Game is ov...Wait a minute, kid.
Your nightmare is far from over.

That's the ending of this game. No epilogue, no staff roll, no nothing, just send you back to World 1-1 with your score and gold in a second loop. A game that repeats forever until you die.

The old DOS era recreated faithfully in your new consoles.

Graphically, it looks like a DOS shmup, but those made by small, obscure developers which have average sprite graphics which try to look like Psygnosis early games, Lemmings to be exact but with well-made backgrounds and scenery which can be almost on par with Shadow of the Beast. The main theme of the game is Horror as we have dark colors, skulls, tombstones and dim light around your fish-ship. My only complain is that the graphics look very "Platformer" than shmup-like at the point that the wooden platforms on the background could be confusing for some since they don't look like background decoration and anyone could think they might crash on them, almost like the graphic confusion in Silver Surfer.

The music is quite good, the Main Menu is the best of all as it has a hard rocking tune that has a slight reminiscence to Hotdog Storm: The First Supersonics, but the in-game music is more of a Soundblaster driver of the DOS era. The worst part is that you'll be hearing the same stage theme all the 5 main levels of each world, so you'll be sick of hearing World 1 theme after constant failures.

- The name of this game and the player character is "Afonika" written backwards, which is a reference to the spanish word "Afónica" (Aphonic) which means "Without Sound".
- The game was released on the XBOX Store in June 14, but it was suddenly delisted. According to Pixel Lantern, the game wasn't supposed to be out yet until July 20th.
- If you're planning to buy all the Game Over Upgrades in one shot, you're gonna need 6,175 credits to do that.

In the end, Akinofa is an horizontal shmup that feels like an old DOS-era shmup which had the potential to be a delight for fans of old computers due to the graphics and sound, but Pixel Lantern blew it up with the strict difficulty and terrible controls. It only serves to get 13 quick achievements/14 trophies and end frustrated with the unnecessary strict difficulty as you'll get killed before you make some progress or make it to the end just for realize it was worthless (Unless you are some sort of gamer who likes his games to be "Like an angel with no sense of mercy" and strictness over challenge is his way to have fun). But we can rest assured those quick achievements and trophies were more challenging than any of Breakthrough Gaming's zero-budget games.

Retro graphics and good music doesn't make a good game.
Lea knows that very well.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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