Melty Blood: Type Lumina

Year: 2021
Platform: PlayStation 4
Genre: Fighting
Review Date: 4/2/22
Rating: ***

The fifth game in the "Melty Blood" series and the first one to get a domestic release. "Melty Blood" started as a visual novel fighting game and eventually ditched the visual novel aspects to become a dedicated arcade fighting game. That said, like many Japanese fighting games, there are still a lot of deep story elements involved, although the progression is fixed and linear. And truth be told, I don't really understand any of it, except that vampires are somehow involved.

Naturally, what attracted me to the "Melty Blood" series in the first place is that it's an anime fighting game with a primarily female roster. Eleven of the fifteen playable characters are female, although one of the characters is split into good and evil versions, and the two maids can be played separately or as a tag team. "Type Lumina" plays very similar to other games in the genre like "Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late", "Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel", "Aquapazza", "Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax", "Blade Arcus From Shining EX", "Arcana Heart", and the earlier PlayStation 2 port of "Melty Blood: Act Cadenza." The character sprites and animations are gorgeous, and the 3D backgrounds create attractive and visually interesting fighting environments. The writing is good, the voice acting is excellent, and the characters have a lot to say to each other. Also, the hard rocking soundtrack is superb.

Like many fighting games, "Type Lumina" includes a story mode, time attack mode, and survival mode. It also has a score mode if you're interested in racking up points. The tutorial is deep and extensive, and slowly introduces you to the game's numerous systems and mechanics. It's a very deep and technical fighter, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. In addition to the standard light, medium, and heavy attacks, you can also throw, counter, and generate a temporary defensive shield. Simple combos can be strung together both on the ground and in the air, and special moves can be executed if your Magic Circuit gauge allows it. Beyond that, you have EX Specials, Heat, Blood Heat, Arc Drive, Last Arc, Moon Skills, and Moon Drive, which result in some very impressive visuals and heavy damage. However, it's all way too confusing for me to keep track of and I just stick with the basics. Fortunately, the easiest difficulty allows me to do just that, and like the very similar "Under Night In-Birth," the easy setting is actually easy and gives you ample time to learn the mechanics and enjoy the characters' stories.

While the game looks great, sounds great, and plays well, the characters aren't very interesting and I had a hard time engaging with them and finding a favorite. Unfortunately, my favorite "Melty Blood" character, Sion Eltnam Atlasia, is absent from the game, which is disappointing since she was such an excellent guest character in "Under Night In-Birth." In "Type Lumina," a young bajiquan fighter named Miyako Arima is a guest character who is somehow related to Shiki Tohno. Aesthetically, Akiha Tohno is the most attractive and would be my favorite character, but her personality is rather abrasive and I don't like her fighting style. Ultimately, I would have to say that "Type Lumina's" main character, Arcueid Brunestud, is my character of choice. Her personality, look, and fighting style matches my play style most closely. She's also gotten a considerable makeover since the previous games and now sports a cute mini-skirt and boots combo. That said, maid Kohaku is also a lot of fun because her attacks are so silly. While "Melty Blood: Type Lumina" doesn't bring anything new or revolutionary to the table, fans of the genre will probably be pleased.