exA-Arcadia kept the arcade news flowing in 2020, but they’ve been a little quiet at the beginning of this year. Now that gets to change as we have our first new exA game announcement of 2021 – Jitsu Squad by Tanuki Creative Studios.
As stated in the headline to this post, this will bring a beat ’em up style game to the platform. The exA has already broken ground by reviving a bunch of genres (in coin-op arcades) including the platformer and the shoot ’em up, so it’s only natural that the iconic beat ’em up also gets a shake here.
Jitsu Squad itself is a “4 Player Co-op Beat ‘Em Up that’s all about INSANE FAST PACED ACTION with COLORFUL 2D GRAPHICS,” per the Kickstarter header description. The current Kickstarter campaign (the second time they’ve gone for it, with the addition of a Switch port helping to drive stronger interest this time around) saw the game reach it’s goal within 24 hours and as of this writing it’s just short of having raised $60k.
It is also on that campaign where we learn that a real arcade version will be available, with the most expensive donation tier offering the game with the exA-Arcadia and coming in a VEWLIX cabinet. You’ll also notice the title screen above mentions inserting a coin; This How To Play screen also looks exactly like standard exA tutorial sequences. This screen is also not present in the PC demo, which I downloaded and played.:
Some more details from the game’s website:
Jitsu Squad™ stands out for its huge cast of unique hand drawn colourful character design/artwork, rip-roaring story, top notch 2D animation, in-depth backgrounds and killer soundtrack/effects.
Challenge the forces of evil in a single quest or join your friends in a up to 4 player co-op action adventure. Become stronger and master new character skills, unleash your inner Fury, collect dozens of powerful weapons and power ups to crush the enemy, defeat memorable bosses, master the difficulty and unlock the many secrets hidden in the game to take down the wicked sorcerer and become savior of the galaxy.
Here’s the latest promotional trailer that shows a couple of tie-ins, such as YouTuber Maximilian Dood and the Yooka-Laylee characters from the game of the same name. This game moves so fast, you’ll want to watch it at 1080p60, otherwise the video gets a bit blurred:
Looking at the style, something about it reminds me of IGS’ Oriental Legend 2, which also included some elements more common to 1v1 fighters than you tend to find in beat ’em ups. That is definitely due to Jitsu Squad integrating a lot of these ideas, as they lay out in their Special & Combat features. There is one comment I saw saying that this game looks like a title called Wonder Blade, but I am not familiar with that one at this point.
Note that the game will be headed to all major platforms; I did reach out to ask about any exclusive features that the arcade version will have for it; So far they have confirmed that they have signed with exA for the release, but I’m waiting to hear back on anything regarding those arcade features. For what all version:
– Epic Super Specials!
– 100+ chain-combos!
– Powerful in-game character transformations!
– Awesome crossover assist characters!
– Run or Dash! No walking allowed in this game!
– A wide variety of unique enemies and stages!
– Up to 4-player co-op fun!
– Unique secondary weapons for each playable character!
– Upgrade system to level up your character!
– Infinite juggles
– Fighting game input commands
– Unique Super Specials
– FURY MODE!
Here’s my playthrough of the free PC demo that you can get here (you can also donate some money to further help their development efforts).
The Kickstarter is putting an ETA for the release at December 2022, although perhaps that can change with how successful the crowdfunding campaign is by the end, assuming that the monetary resource allows them to expand the team and be able to finish things ahead of schedule. Still, it’ll probably be a while before we get to enjoy it, but at least we know it is coming!
What do you think about Jitsu Squad from what has been revealed so far?