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Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds
On sale through Xbox Live Marketplace through February 3, 2014
Available on the Xbox Live Marketplace currently for $5 (must be Gold Member)
Originally released in 2013, Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds will be 50% for the next few days. If you missed out on the game the first time around or for those unaware of what the game is, Phantom Breakers: Battle Grounds is a spin-off of Phantom Breaker, a 2D fighting game that as far as I can tell has been stuck in localization purgatory for years. Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds retains the 2D part but the art style is more cute with chibi-style sprites and is a side scrolling brawler.
As someone who grew up and loved those kind of games I’m always happy to see another, but what sets Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds apart from the numerous other beat-em-up games of this type, like Charlie Murder, the Scott Pilgrim game, Dragon’s Crown, and so on. Part of the unique appeal of this game is that due to the connection to a fighting game it shares similar controls and features to that of a fighting game instead of a beat-em-up. For example, the characters have light, medium and strong attacks that vary with additional directional inputs. Another additional feature of the game is that the levels can be transversed by the characters on multiple 2D planes by moving either into the fore ground or into the background, similar to games like Code of Princess or Guardian Heroes.
In the game you choose from one of four female warriors who try to rescue a friend that has been kidnapped by demons that are infiltrating our dimension. There are eight different levels to punch, kick and slash through, all of which carry a strong pixelated retro theme throughout both in the backgrounds and in the character/enemy designs. 8-bit music provides a counterpoint to the sounds of the violence on screen and really cement the old school theme they were trying for.
The game like many in the genre isn’t very long, for $5 you get an interesting Beat-Em-Up with little bit of a fighting game flavor to it, multiple characters to be levels up, four player local and online Co-Op, and an additional versus mode to round out the whole package. The game will only be half off for a few more days for those who want to get their 2D brawler on for cheap. If you prefer this type of game on the go it also appears that it will be released in mid-February on the PS Vita.