The arcade scene came into existence many decades ago, and Japan is pretty much the only place left in the world where it is still well and alive. The latest and greatest games will make their debut here first and maybe if we are lucky we may see a cabinet or two down at our local arcade. If you ever make your way down to Japan, here are the top arcade games in Japan that you need to try.
Love Live! School Idol Festival: After School Activity Next Stage
While not entirely a new game, Love Live! School Idol Festival: After School Activity Next Stage was updated late last year to include girls from the Aquors school idol group to complement the µ’s lineup. If you have played the smartphone version, you will know pretty much what to expect here, although there are some several arcade-only features.
Select your song, set up your team and you are good to go. Unlike other similar games, you can choose other gameplay modes, which dictates how you will be making button presses. There is drum mode where you only need to press one button at any given time, while combo would be more familiar to people who play mobile rhythm games where you press buttons in accordance to the beat.
And as a sign of the times, it is no longer sufficient to be simply good at the game, as you are able gacha for characters to make your experience a lot more enjoyable. Granted, it is not exactly necessary, given the nature of this game, you will want to gacha anyway. If there one advantage this game has over its mobile counterpart is the fact that you are able to print out cards to keep, which is always nice.
Many arcade games fight your attention and money, but the one that seems to have music game fans most enamoured at the moment is Ongeki. Again, not entirely new, but with constant updates and collaborations with popular franchises, Ongeki manages to stay fresh and enjoyable.
When you interact with the Ongeki board at first, it may come across as rather daunting, given the number of buttons and even the seemingly odd inclusion of a joystick. However, once you try the game out yourself, it will all start to make sense. Prompts fall in a vertical fashion, and occasionally you will need to nudge the joystick left or right depending on what is required.
Also drawing influence from mobile games, you will also be assembling a team of characters here, each with their own unique stats and abilities. This makes more sense in Ongeki, despite it being at its core a music game, due to the fact your team is also a party who battles an on-screen boss. And in case you are wondering, yes you will also need to gacha for girls and you can print them out as physical cards if you so choose.
Sword Art Online Arcade Deep Explorer
It was only really a matter of time before this insanely popular franchise would find its way to the arcade, having already spawned countless console and PC games. Taking less of a less traditional RPG approach, the arcade game is by far more action-oriented.
You form a three-man party from a pool of familiar faces, and because few modern arcade games are safe from the corruption of mobile games, the only way to recruit new party members are to gacha for them. Back to the game itself, the gameplay is fairly straightforward. You move around a dungeon which you must clear under an allotted time. You control only one character at any given time, and you switch between them with a press of a button. Each button also corresponds to an attack, so you will be able to chain them together.
Characters aside, you will also have to take heed of your loadout. Weapons drop at the end of every dungeon clear and you can equip them to your character to bolster their combat ability. Some drops are better than others of course, and you will be able to feed stronger weapons with common junk.
Fate/Grand Order Arcade
Up to this point, we have only covered music games or mobile games ported to the arcade. While unfortunately that is what the arcade experienced has devolved into essentially, there is still a glimmer of hope for those who go to such places for something more. First released in November 2018, Starwing Paradox is Square Enix’s take on the battle robot simulator.
While such games are not exactly new to arcades, Square Enix takes it to the next level with its production values. Dual joysticks and a fully-functioning cockpit which corresponds to the pilot’s movements, this is the latest and greatest in terms of simulation games. Following in the footsteps of Gunslinger Stratos, the emphasis of Starwing Paradox lies in its eight versus eight PVP mode. The goal here is to capture points and work your way towards destroying the core located at the enemy’s base.
The controls can be rather overwhelming at first, but you can always go through the tutorial mode which is really fun and could probably warrant being a standalone arcade game. It’s that good. While it will take you some time to learn the game itself, it will not be too long before you get the hang of it. It is all about getting good, and the only way to get better is by playing more. No pay to win mechanics or anything of that sort. This is the true arcade experience in its purest and unadulterated form.
Here are our recommendations for the top arcade games In Japan! Be sure to try them out if you got a chance to visit Japan 😀