It’s not hard to see why the Guilty Gear games have built up a cult following over the years: the animation is impeccable, and the range of fighters is as varied as they come. Our favourite has to be Faust, a tall gangly fellow with a paper bag on his head, although a petite girl sailor who attacks with a huge great anchor ranks second. Then there’s Zappa, whose top half appears to be completely limp. It’s a right old freak show.
Although now scrunched up on a smaller screen, the characters still look the part, even if they’re not as fluidly animated as we’ve seen before. It sounds good too, with the brash rock musical tone still present. Rather than a glorified one-on-one fighter though, this time round you face up to three others in multi-tiered arenas that spread both screens. Think along the lines of a 2D Super Smash Bros Melee.
Sadly, it’s an idea that fails to bring anything new to the franchise. Or indeed the world of fighting games. There’s no depth or strategic elements – you just walk or jump over to enemy characters then tap every button available until they either die or leap to another tier. The story mode makes little sense while the ability to create your own robotic fighter isn’t anything like as exciting as it should be. Some of the super moves are quite flashy, but that’s about as thrilling as it gets.
To make up for the lack of touch-screen malarkey during the main game, the developers have included a host of stylus controlled mini-games. Just like Nintendo did with Super Mario 64 DS. They’re an excruciatingly basic bunch, like guiding a dolphin through some hoops, stacking up boxes as they fall and cutting objects in two before they hit the ground. There is one that stands out, however: a 3D pool sim that kept us amused for far longer than the main game did. A guilty pleasure? Oh certainly.