It might seem a little odd to be talking about location tests right now, but not everywhere is locked down, as Japan has mostly recovered from the pandemic. Various locations have re-opened their doors (whether or not people are electing to go out to the arcade is another facet that I’m sure locations have been facing), which allows testing to resume. Let’s get up to speed on some brand new arcade games that will soon be available not just in Japan, but in other parts of the world including the US and Europe, via the Exa-Arcadia platform. More tests of some of these games as well as others are expected to be forthcoming, although this all depends on what happens with The Virus in Tokyo.
Strania EX (G.Rev)
I haven’t had much luck in finding player feedback on Twitter on this one yet, except for this tweet talking about the Exa-exclusive HELL mode. Another test for Strania is expected to take place soon.
Vritra Hexa (Neotro)
(Btw, click on the “Play” button on their website to play a fun little shoot ’em up in your browser)
Initial testing for Vritra was similar to Strania, but held at a different location. There is a lot more feedback to glean from this on, possibly in part due to Strania already being familiar to more players, while Vritra had gone under-the-radar. To quote one translation: “Stage branching and armed select are added for a different finish from the PC version. seems interesting! Unlike the PC version, you can solidify with 3 kinds of favorite weapons, so it’s easier to play and recover the boost while rotating the weapon items steadily, which feels more exhilarating. I was doing red, orange and purple. The BGM can be selected from two types, the original and the arrangement, and the arrangement has a clear sound usage that (probably) was conscious of the arcade game, and the tension increased. But the original solemn feeling matches the view of the world and I like it, so I’m worried. The new boss’s turtle was so strong that I want to make a pattern with the product version as soon as possible.” Another was short and sweet: “Vritra Hexa!! It’s really fun!” Small Room Aries also checked this one out.
The last sentence on the first thread sounds like it is referring to the new boss that was added just to this version, which looks like a turtle. Fans really like the ability to choose which version of the soundtrack you want, along with the new weapon and route selection system.
Vritra will also be back on test soon, so stay tuned for news there in case you are interested.
Blazing Chrome AC (Joymasher)
With those two tests complete, Exa-Arcadia is launching two others today in Tokyo. The first is Blazing Chrome AC, developed by a Brazilian team by the name of Joymasher. The test will be held at Mikado Arcade in Tokyo. I wrote up a preview of this Contra/Metal Slug-like game back in May of 2019, but one new thing that we’ve discovered from the test announcement is a 5th character – a sword-wielding guy. We don’t know anything else about what has been changed/added/enhanced to this one, although I did reach out to Joymasher for a comment. Haven’t heard back yet, but if they do respond I’ll update as needed.
Nippon Marathon Turbo (Onion Soup Interactive)
Last but not least is a second test for the intentionally oddball/tongue-in-cheek multiplayer marathon game, Nippon Marathon. This is the second up-to-4-players game for Exa, following the release of Lightning Knights; NMT was tested in Japan last year, so I imagine that this will be the final (or close to final) test. Site friend Wilcox Arcade has written up some great info on the Exa version of Nippon Marathon, so I’ll defer to him on that one, which does have new characters as well. Here’s the trailer:
No release dates have been announced for any of these games at this point, as it’s still a dynamic situation. Hopefully by August/September more of these titles will be available, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Which game are you looking forward to from the batch?
Personally, since I have an Exa-Arcadia with three games, I’ve been looking at every release for considering my 4th game. As it stands at the moment, Blazing Chrome might be a good game to fill out my selection, although I’m also tempted by Vritra and Gimmick! Depending on how things shake out (July has returned to May levels of business as the panic has returned), I’ll be seeing if it might be prudent to get a 2nd Exa or not.