I was given Akihabara – Feel the Rhythm the other day, despite it not being anything like a game I’d normally play. Instead of shying away and casting it aside as a game I’ve no interest in, I thought it’d be a good idea to sharpen my gaming (and reviewing!) skills by plunging into the unknown. What I was met with was an anime styled Bejeweled-meets-Tetris-and-not-in-a-good-way type game. Despite my initial reservations about it, I did give it what I think is a fair crack.
Without wanting to start with the negatives, I will say that if people enjoy anime-styled games, then Akihabara provides that. The artwork is clean, fits the style of the game and is generally interesting to look at. The backgrounds especially, have a lot going on, and provide a decent stage on which to complete the puzzles. There’s also a fairly decent soundtrack to listen to as you progress through the games, though obviously it can get a little repetitive. These two core principles of the game are well made and definitely two of the better features of Akihabara.
Jack of all trades, master of none
Unfortunately, it is plagued with a number of less good features. The first of which being how painfully dull it is. There are only two mechanics, and it never really gets any more difficult. The only thing you need to do is hit up to change the shape and get it to match up with what lies below. It’s not a difficult concept, neither is it a fun one. It’s not aided by the surroundings of the game board. While I did compliment the backgrounds, they’re completely static. So it’s a good thing they’re interesting, because you’ll be staring at them for a long while.
Aside from the mundanity of Akihabara, you also have the issue that it has quite possibly the worst user interface I’ve ever seen. I’ll admit UI can be a challenge, and occasionally it’s easy to fall into some obvious pitfalls, but there are simple things that have been missed here. For all the decent artwork in the background, it is all undone when you look upon the menu. It is simply hideous, and there can be no forgiving that. Even as you start the game for the first time, it’ll show you a “how to play” the game, which is dead silent. Given the music is the same on the menu screen and the first level, I’m not sure why the developers thought it would be important to mute it at that point.
The last issue I found with Akihabara is that it is riddled with bugs. I was playing the game for all of two minutes before it locked up and crashed. I don’t believe I was even doing anything overly complicated – just trying to read the “how to play” section, and I think I hit enter once too many times. This caused it to try to re-open the help section, only it got stuck about half way through. I could hit enter and hear the “page turning” sound effect, but there would be nothing appearing on my screen. All of these issues are so, so simple to fix and yet they were left in the game.
The Final Word
As a game, Akihabara is terrible, especially for the price they expect you to pay. £5 for a dull, buggy game looking to capitalise on the overused anime aesthetic is nothing more than a joke. There’s very little worth more than a quid in this game, and even that I’d argue is overpriced. I said at the start that these types of games aren’t my cup of tea, but I had hoped that I’d be swayed a little. I’m certain there are better games out there than Akihabara, because if this was the pinnacle of the genre, then I’m not sure who would play it.