One of the more enticing things about the Exa-Arcadia platform to me, from both a player and operator perspective, is how much content that it is adding to the roster of arcade releases every year. We already have seen more game launches in 2020 than we see on average by February (using the past two decades as a measuring stick) thanks to the Exa, with Aka & Blue Type-R, The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ and Akyrios EXA already shipping out to buyers.
There is more on the way of course, with two more titles shipping hot on the heels of Akyrios. Let’s dive into them:
Let’s start with one of the games that had been announced early on in the Exa life cycle, an STG by the name of Infinos EXA. As a horizontal shooter, this one fits with the style of shoot ’em ups that were popular in the early 90’s, particularly Thunder Force. In fact, one of the primary differences for the Exa version is a completely new soundtrack made by Thunder Force composer Hyakutaro Tsukumo. The game page for this one also states: “Optimized for operator income, the included EXA MODE is a true challenge for players and a winner for arcade owners alike.” For those interested, the game can be ordered here for $971USD (that’s just for the cart; if purchased as a bundle with an Exa board, it’ll be more since you’re also buying the EXA). Here’s my time playing it at CAX 2018:
Now for one that’s a little bit of a surprise for a release at the moment, Lightning Knights. RPG style games are quite rare in arcades, only really found once in a while in Japan and almost never out West. This title was originally released for the PC/PS4/XB1 back in July 2017 (later for the Nintendo Switch) and under a different name – Iron Crypticle. I would describe it as a cross between Gauntlet and Smash TV. I picked up Iron Crypticle on Switch this past Christmas and have really enjoyed it, the procedurally generated dungeon layouts providing ample amounts of replay value. It’s also been something that I’ve been able to play for hours with my kids (I’ve been able to play it single player and with 2/3/4 players), where they also have enjoyed trying to conquer the dungeon. That said, the console version is a bit difficult, so I imagine that the Exa version will maintain this same feel. Here’s footage of the XB1 version, in case you hadn’t seen it before, but keep reading for details on what will make the arcade version different:
As to why the name change, it is because there are several significant changes from the console version that will make this a more focused experience. To fit with the arcade market, the whole game structure has been adjusted to focus on the main action. This does mean that the mini-games (like the sidescrolling “arcade” bonus stage) are gone. This was done make it play & feel like a proper arcade game, with it being optimized for operator usage. The stage paths are still there, keeping it similar to Smash TV, and some enemies & bosses have been changed. Another major change is the addition of voice acting spiced throughout the gameplay, which provides more characterization to the experience than the grunts and yells that the console version has.
Another detail is that the game will work in 1-2 player mode; if you don’t have a 4-player setup (which for an Exa requires 2 JVS I/O boards), then you’ll be ok. If you are interested in this one, it is available to pre-order on the Exa site for $1188USD and will be shipping out some time in March.
Note that all Exa games ship with a poster, instruction sheet and instruction strip, which can be used to promote the games to an operator’s/buyer’s liking. If you’re interested in either game and are an operator, you can use the links provided to order; if you’re a player and want to find one near you, you’ll have to ask your local operator about them.