Hey everyone, and welcome to the latest Android Amusements. Today we’re doing a quick overview of Asura Cross, which Gamevil has just released on Google Play for Android devices. Yup, we’re really up to date this week. I bet you didn’t expect us to jump on a new release this quickly. Though really, I couldn’t resist. Once I heard Asura Cross had a story mode where you could choose what would happen next, just like Arc System Works has been doing with BlazBlue‘s story mode and Persona 4 Arena, I had to give it a try. The fact that the game is also free made that decision a lot easier.
Asura Cross is actually an old game. It was originally released for the GP2X portable gaming system back in 2009. Back then it wasn’t a free game. From what I can see, it originally cost $29.99. Aside from the price change and move to make it a freemium game, not much has changed. It still is a 2D fighting game with Story, Arcade, Versus (over WiFi or Bluetooth) and Practice modes, the ability to improve/upgrade fighters to make them more powerful and add new abilities and the ability to choose the path you’ll follow in Story Mode to earn different endings.
If you want a really weird anime-style fighting game, Asura Cross is made for you. The story is absolutely crazy, but in a good way. Jin goes to visit a friend’s gym after he gets out of the army. This leads to craziness. Aliens show up to abduct and fight people, there’s a school girl assassin, there are vampires getting involved in the whole plot. It’s just crazy. You can even play a part in how weird things get, as players get to choose what Jin does and how the story proceeds and different endings can be unlocked depending on the actions taken. You earn experience from matches, which allow you to unlock skills from one of three skill trees.
What’s neat is that Asura Cross characters have recovery and breath gauges to make players think strategically. Your character can get winded if you go overboard, causing breath to run out. If that happens, your character becomes exhausted. He or she just stands there, taking more damage than usual as he or she recovers. The recovery gauge below the health gauge allows health to recover if it remains full and undamaged, allowing you to fight longer. There is also a Tension gauge which allows stronger attacks to be used.
Playing Asura Cross should be familiar for those used to Android fighters. It has an on-screen, virtual joypad. This blocks a bit of the action, but is across the button so it doesn’t obscure too much. You move around and launch attacks with button presses. It works pretty well, though I thought it responded a bit slowly compared to, say, Capcom’s iOS fighting games.
Now, I want to point out that Asura Cross may be free, but it does have in-app purchases. You can use real money to purchase Asura Points (AP). This is when Asura Cross starts to disappoint. The only things that are free in Asura Cross are the characters Jin, Yuuka and Kent. If you want more characters, different colors schemes, upgrades or power-ups for characters, you have to pay for them with AP. While you can earn a small amount for playing, you’d have to play for hours to earn enough for to unlock DeeDee, Baihu, Faith, Nemo or Hanin.
If that was it, that’d be fine. Some people could get by with just Jin, Yuuka and Kent. Except it isn’t. I’ve just started the second chapter with Jin and I have hit a wall. No matter how good a player I am, Jin isn’t strong enough to beat the opponents I am now facing. It feels like I’d have to resort to buying AP to upgrade him and move forward. It’s frustrating and has resulted in my quitting after only a few hours.
Also, I have no idea who designed Yuuka. Seriously developers, you need to grow up. I can understand fan service in fighting games. It happens. But Yuuka’s outfit is just ridiculous. She’s wearing a Judo uniform, that is completely open in the front. I’m amazed she’s not spilling out of it. Which means Asura Cross could be considered a teensy bit mature. There’s no blood, but the fact that Yuuka’s barely dressed means parents may want to keep this game out of kids’ hands.
So Asura Cross players beware. This is a fun game and I do enjoy it, but the use of in-app purchases has turned me off and I doubt I’ll play it again. Unless you don’t mind spending real cash on the game or hours grinding, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
Product Page [Google Play]