exA-Arcadia has released Team Arcana’s Arcade Heart 3 Love Max Six Stars Xtend in Japan, with Western pre-orders now up. Let’s look into the details:
What Is Arcana Heart?
The Arcana Heart series is a fighting game where all of the characters are female, drawn in anime style. While on the surface the cute aesthetic makes it seem basic, it has deep mechanics to the point where I feel like I’m supposed to study a manual, or take a class, before playing it. I couldn’t tell you what the differences/advantages are between all of the different “arcanas;” There is a wiki on Fandom about them which you can delve into, if you are so inclined.
Designed by a company called Examu and Team Arcana, the first game was released to arcades back in 2005 and subsequent versions have also seen arcade releases. However, these have been mostly restricted to Japan. An exception was when Andamiro USA sold Arcana Heart 2 in the States, back around 2008/09. Otherwise, it also has seen console releases and the latest version is available on Steam.
Arcana Heart 3 Xtend On exA
It has been a while since this new arcade version of AH3 was announced, originally intended to land on the exA-Arcadia platform back in 2021. Delays aside, it has arrived, so let’s look at what this game is all about.
Here are the features for this “ultimate version” of the game, per exA, then after this quote, some additional details:
26 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS + 25 PLAYABLE ARCANAS
All of your favorite characters from the ARCANA HEART series are here with brand new characters: Pistrix No. 29 and Dark Heart.
BRAND NEW GRAPHICS RENDERING
Completely overhauled to look better than ever before! Every single pixel is now clearly and beautifully rendered!
2 FRAMES INPUT LAG RESPONSE
Faster than any previous installment for Maximum Performance! Play like you’re meant to. Never miss a combo again.
4 PLAY MODES: STORY / SURVIVAL / SCORE ATTACK / TRAINING
NEW STORY MODE
Newcomers now have their own story and can be used in every mode.
Every story mode sequence is now fully voiced for every character.
Regarding the characters, those two it mentions are available as DLC for the Steam version. I’m not sure if the “New story mode” mentioned is something that is unique to this edition or not, however. The new graphics rendering and 2 frames of input lag certainly are, which are also apparent in the version you see played in the video at the top of this block.
The Arcana Heart 3 Xtend Kit
As you see above, the game is available as a kit for the exA-Arcadia platform. If you’ve not heard of that before, exA operates like the old Neo Geo MVS. Games are available on cartridges and the packages include relevant art. This particular kit is showing that it is around $1575USD, however, pricing might vary upon region and distributors. The cartridge is also hot pink, instead of the black that some exA carts go with. There is only one kit, so no LE package like they’ve also done on occasion.
For the arcades out there which still operate some hardcore fighting games, I think this would be a great addition to their mixes. Casual locations, not so much. But if this particular game doesn’t float your boat, stay tuned. ExA has quite a few new games launching Q1 2024 and several of them are fighters. Also of note, this might be the last arcade release of 2023, barring any sudden surprises, or last minute changes (many we saw at IAAPA are either already available or coming in Q1).
What do you think about this release? Would you like to see your local arcade grab one?