Arcana Heart


REVIEWArcana Heart is a 2D fighter featuring an original all-female cast (each a variation of the moe anime-girl archetype). After choosing a character the player then chooses an "elemental alignment" which determines the character's extra special moves. In mid-April of 2007, a patch was released for the original Arcana Heart called "Arcana Heart FULL". The patch fixed a variety of issues, toning-down overly-powerful characters and buffing up weaker ones.

Visually, Arcana Heart is a good looking traditional 2D fighter. The large 2D sprites are the star of the show and are complimented with particularly large hand-drawn backgrounds. Backgrounds are nicely detailed and even have alternate appearances during certain Arcana moves... a nice touch. The "anime-like" animation isn't the smoothest we've seen in a 2D fighting game, but it's smooth where it counts for the most part.


Roller blade girl Lilica vs. Fiona and her humungous sword.


As far as gameplay goes, there's a bit of a learning curve... but overall, Arcana Heart presents a simple and solid combat system. I certainly haven't put the time in to "master" the system like I have in other games, but I do see potential. Characters have your basic weak, medium and strong attacks, and one button is used for dashing in various directions or to start an air combo... It's actually not as complicated as it sounds.   

There are also command attacks and several flashy super moves available for all characters/ Arcana Heart borrows a few elements from the Guilty Gear X series, and at times, feels very much like it due to the fact that all characters can air dash till their hearts content. Personally, I actually prefer Arcana Heart's dashing and combo system over Guilty Gear's. A lot of attacks also seem to hurt more than the Guilty Gear series (ouch factor). As far as character designs though, Guilty Gear takes the cake... but I have come to enjoy a few of Arcana Hearts designs.


No shortage of weird designs... just wait until the sequels.


Arcana Heart
is indeed an ALL-FEMALE fighting game. However, to make things a bit awkward, all of the playable female fighters in the game are indeed under 18... with the exception of maybe Mei-Fang (her official bio doesn't state her age). Yes, it's kinda hilarious this game exists, but at the same time, also a bit wrong. Who does this game appeal to? I'm not sure. Arcana Heart may be directed towards female gamers in some ways, but is definitely also looking to capture the "hentai" art style fans. The artwork of Arcana Heart alone definitely has a hentai overtone. I've never been into hentai and this game isn't going to do it for me, either.

Alright, so I gotta say it... It might be hard to find someone to play Arcana Heart with if you're a "cool / normal guy" like me.  Your friends might think you're a bit weird (or *gasp* perverted) for choosing to play Arcana Heart on any sort of regular basis, but those who choose to play this should know what they're getting into. To the game's credit, it's not a bad 2D fighting game by any means. Solid animation, charismatic 2D character sprites, and straight-forward yet innovative 2D gameplay mechanics will undoubtedly attract some fighting game fans.


Heart Aino & Saki Tsuzura are Arcana Heart's Ryu & Ken.






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Page Updated: January 25th, 2024
Developer(s): Examu
Publisher(s): AQ Interactive (), Atlus ()
Designer(s): Sakuraitooru
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2
Release Date(s): Dec. 22nd, 2006           Arcade
Oct. 11th, 2007
Apr. 8th, 2008
Characters Heart Aino, Saki Tsuzura, Kamui Tokinomiya, Konoha, Maori Kasuga, Mei-Fang, Lilica Felchenerow, Lieselotte Achenbach, Yoriko Yasuzumi, Kira Daidohji, Fiona Mayfield, Mildred

Featured Video:

Related Games: Arcana Heart 2, Arcana Heart 2: Suggoi!, Arcana Heart 3, Guilty Gear X, SNK Gals Fighters, Skullgirls, AquaPazza, Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX: Slash, Kenichi, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 2, Galaxy Fight, Waku Waku 7, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  8.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  6.5 / 10
Innovation  7.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.0 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.0 / 10
Characters  6.0 / 10


 7.2 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version     


Final Words:

An all female cast for a fighting game is bold... Dead or Alive came close to an all female cast but actually threw a few dudes in there at the last minute. However, an all female cast, entirely made up of underage girls, is another thing. Who suggested I play and review this game, again? We need to talk.

At first glance, I pretty much had zero interest in Arcana Heart due to the "cutesy anime girls theme", but I had to try it out to make this review... low expectations and all. Gameplay-wise, the feel of the game reminds me of the Guilty Gear X series and very surprisingly, I have to admit I actually enjoyed Arcana Heart's gameplay system at least as much as Guilty Gear's.

There are a few things, however... that I don't like about the gameplay. The first one being that I "suddenly" cant use certain attacks. I also don't like how easy it is to break out of an air combo. Ohh, and what a crappy and very cheap boss.  SNK Boss Syndrome really started something. 

Arcana Heart isn't a fighting game I'll ever play regularly (and probably won't ever play it again), but I can't say I hate everything about the game. The art style definitely has heart (no pun intended) and some of the character designs are worth checking out for 2D fighting game connoisseurs. Even if it's not your cup of tea... Arcana Heart is an original anime fighter that any 2D fighting game purist should try out.
~TFG Webmaster | @FIGHTERS_GEN

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