Battle Fantasia hands-on

If you don't want to use all your power on a single attack, the other option is to activate Heat Mode, which gives them a thick golden glow. With Heat Mode activated your power gauge drains but you have no downtime between moves. It becomes possible to chain together attacks and create custom combos. Some attacks are specially designed to be used in heat mode. We chained a dash attack eight times by hitting our opponent into the air and then dashing around to the four corners of the screen. Without heat mode the attack only moves horizontally, never leaving the ground.

As a 2D game using 3D character models it's easy to just throw a fireball at a character and let the game engine take care of the collision, but Battle Fantasia has taken the time to include character specific animations for certain moves. The miniature knight, Marco, has a grab that lifts the cat-girl, Coyori's, skirt. While the Viking will pick her up by her tail and swing her around. His swing isn't possible against the other tail-less fighters.

The game packs a lot of charm, and the RPG elements are fun, even if they end up being a bit superfluous. When you get down to it, Battle Fantasia is a fantasy themed fighting game. The key phrase is fighting game, but maybe being in a fantasy world will get this game to break all the unwritten rules that require fighting game stories to suck. It's tough to say so far; the game is 99 percent still in Japanese. Anyway, Battle Fantasia is a title well worth keeping an eye on, both because it's gorgeous and because we like fighting against a bunny rabbit with magical star-constellation attacks.

Jul 2, 2008