Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is an indie adventure visual novel game developed by Fiction Factory Games and published by PQube. The game is a story of the players character that goes on an adventure to become the best FOD2 player in the world! Along the way you also given many options to develop friendships, rivals and loving relationships. All of this is going on while in the background shadowy figures and business’s are moving pieces that could prove to be something you must deal with.
While I am admittedly not the usual target audience for a game of this genre (visual novel/dating sim) I had my doubts and I came into this with a bias towards thinking it would be cheesy, but I found myself thoroughly invested into the story early on into the game. As a gamer who has in the passed thought “What if I tried to go pro in esports? What if I were to train and get on a team? Could I do it?” The whole story of a pc gamer that is looking to go pro got me early on and I was never able to get out Arcade Spirit’s clutches after that. From PC shut in to being convinced to go to an arcade to join a team of “casuals” in an arcade that is connected to a pizza place/laundromat mind you! ( I swear this makes since when you play it) I got hooked!
With very brightly colored backdrops of arcades that WILL have you wanting to relive the memories of back in the day playing in those old dingy arcades that most of us remember from roller coaster rinks or new a blockbuster around the corner. Having a future set where arcade cabinets are the pinnacle of the esports was a fun idea to think about. I really liked how well done the world building was in this one.
The game of choice for your character and team is a fun mini game called Fist of Discomfort 2 a what the game calls “two on two strategy and fighting game” The full description you get is more along the lines of a fighting game mixed with something along of the lines of the critically acclaimed game League of Legends, made by critically acclaimed Riot Studio that led to the critically acclaimed Netflix series Arcane. The portion of the game that you play is more of a rock-paper-scissors where one thing beats another but another option beats you. The minigame itself plays very well and it isn’t a hassle to do. To me it felt more immersive to play it out but the game does let you forgo playing this minigame altogether if that is something you would be more interested in. I really that felt more involved by playing it and even if you don’t win you do have the option to go back and replay the game if you do not get the outcome you were looking for.
The whole esports and greatness dream is a large aspect of the story for AS: TNC it is not the only part of the game. As you are of course part of a team with other cast members and those cast members might be my favorite part of the entire game. Each character has their own very unique personality ranging from shy, brash, reserved and then one that even speaks the Kings English!
AS: TNC is a very fun and at times serious story that will having you laughing, worrying & possibly thinking about issues that are deeply rooted in real life’s gaming scene and views that people also take into daily life. With a VERY inclusive cast of characters from all aspects of life that are so incredibly well acted and portrayed, learning about them and getting to hear their point on everything was amazing. I thought this was so well done by the team.
Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is by far one of the most unexpected great times I have ever had in a video game. From gaming culture to social issues this game covers a lot. and I cant wait to go back and play through for more endings. I really enjoyed literally ever aspect that I got while playing through it, and cannot recommend this enough to everyone. Easily a 10 out of 10 in my book. You can find Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers on Steam for $19.99