It would take years before the impact of Psychic Force (Saikikku Fōsu) was truly understood. Released in Japanese arcades in 1995, the Taito-developed title offered a remarkable take on the conventional combat mechanics, putting a pair of players in a zero-G arena. While the archetypal melee and ranged attacks of most fighting game was present, being able to freely move around a two-dimensional environment had an obvious impact on gameplay. Unfortunately, the title was met with only middling success, prompting a couple of sequels, as well as ports to the PlayStation One and Dreamcast.
When a number of key employees left Taito to form G.rev, Psychic Force’s mechanics become the foundation for Senko no Ronde, which maintained the concept of two combatant floating in space, but converted the ranged attacks into projectile-based onslaughts. As such, the series often felt like an amalgam of fighting game and bullet-hell shooter, with participant initiating and dodging barrages of bullets and occasionally trading aggressions up-close. Over the years, Psychic Force’s and Senko no Ronde’s mechanics would inspire dojin circles to craft their own interpretation, resulting in efforts like Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet and now, Acceleration of Suguri 2.
Surprisingly, Orange Juice’s series wasn’t always a fighter, with 2005’s Suguri operating more like a danmaku, pitting a single protagonist against multiple on-screen foes. The release of Acceleration of Suguri X-Edition HD would bring fighting tenets like one-on-one conflicts and character select screens, solidifying the direction of the series. And with Acceleration of Suguri 2, those aspirations are fully realized, as a roster of a dozen adorable anime girls duke it out.
Jumping into Suguri 2 skirmishes without having played the original game or Sora will most likely be an exercise in humility, as you’re beaten into oblivion. Fortunately, there’s both a multi-page, in-game guide, and a practice arena to absorb the basics. Venture through both and you’ll undoubtedly understand the importance of the heat meter, which warms up every time you dart around and gradually cools when you’re not air-dashing and incurring damage. Certainly, you’ll need to keep an eye on the gauge, as any incoming damage is increased when you are overheated. Beyond scooting out of harm’s way, players can also employ shielding to protect against any attacks.
Attacks are executed via buttons for your primary and secondary weapon. Pleasingly, Suguri 2 offers a variety of different strikes, with some chosen by holding a button down and others are automatically issued based on your proximity to your opponent. Additional strikes are also available by activating ‘special’ button along with a weapon, as well as a multitude of different combos for each character. And while Acceleration of Suguri 2 isn’t exactly balanced, with a few characters notable overpowered, credit should be given to the distinctiveness of each combatant’s arsenal.
Like any good fighter, you’ll have to spend time character before any hope for proficiency emerges. Beyond the different loadouts, there’s a multitude of nuances for each fighter, such as the amount of energy every different weapon and sub weapon uses as well as the best time to summon devastating hyper attacks. Learning how to stun rivals is another requisite lesson, as is defensive handling. Pleasingly, there are an assortment of advanced techniques like maneuvering through the middle of an assault or bullet grazing, adding a health amount of longevity to the title.
Study Suguri 2’s intricacies, and you should be able to hold your own again CPU opponents in the game’s arcade and story-based modes. Once you’ve enjoyed the exposition members of the Orange Juice roster, you should be able to hold your own for the game’s online matches. And while the community is unsurprisingly rather diminutive in size, matches at launch were notable for the general lack of lag.
Visually, Acceleration of Suguri 2 favors simplicity. Personality is rooted in the pintsize sprites used for each combatant, which only grow larger when the camera zooms in for a melee-based confrontation. Instead, your eyes will probably be tracking the relentless trade of energy blasts and shells that fill the screen, as you hope to find safety between in the space between a volley of projectiles. Contrasted against the hectic clashes, backdrops are remarkably tranquil, contextualizing the action in the upper atmosphere or just above an arid desert. Sonically, Suguri 2 employs the driving melodies you’d expect, offering a steady succession of percussive electronic. While it falls short of being memorable, the soundtrack undoubtedly suits the action.
Direct a cursory glance at Acceleration of Suguri 2 and you might dismiss the game as simplistic. But like Sumo, there’s a wealth of nuance going on in the circular ring, which only becomes evident upon deeper inspection. Save for the lack of balance with its roster, there’s a lot of like about Suguri 2- and if you’re looking for depth, mastering the game’s dozen characters can offer long-term enjoyment.
Acceleration of Suguri 2 was played on the PC
with review code provided by the publisher.
Developer: Orange Juice
Publisher: Fruitbat Factory
Release date: March 7th, 2018
Price: $8.99 via Steam, Launch price $8.09