Akka Arrh – The Review

March 29, 2024 ·

Imagine something that was supposed to be, wasn’t. Something that you hoped would see the light of day, but yet, kept in the dark per se, only to be nothing more than a prototype. If you discovered it today, would you take the time and effort to be experienced? If so, how would you make it something special as of today? It’s kind of interesting when you think about how something so many years ago could be interesting for the new eyes out there. So does the developer Llamasoft along with publisher Atari, give us the fast-paced, addictive, and arcade shooter experience. Let’s find out with Akka Arrh for the PlayStation VR2.

A cascade of words, colors, shapes, and sound flows around your turret as you desperately fight off swarms of inbound attackers. If enemies penetrate your perimeter you need to zoom into close-range combat and beat them back, adjusting to a completely different perspective in the blink of an eye. Welcome to Jeff Minter’s Akka Arrh.

So before entering the sanity that you will witness, you should be aware of a couple of things. First, you will want to find your favorite place to sit. Things can get crazy and you will want to be as comfortable as possible. Second, if your eyes tend to become dry, make sure you have your eye drops ready as may want to play longer than you first thought. Third, please make sure you have your Sense controllers charged. Make sure to charge your controllers so they don’t die on you while trying to achieve that high score during chaos. And finally, have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

Now, before you can begin to realize what Akka Arrh is about, you have to understand its origins. Back in the 80s, there was a prototype that, for whatever reason, just didn’t get published. So there it sat for all these decades with no one to play it in the masses. But because of the mind of one, Jeff Minter and Llamasoft, saw the potential in it and brought it to life in a new and immersive way.

In case you have been wondering what Akka Arrh means, it’s the name of your star cannon, which you control from a fixed turret called the Sentinel. Your mission is to keep enemies from penetrating the Sentinel’s perimeter. Just try not to let any of them slip through, if they do, you will need to zoom into the lower field and take them out, and once cleared, zoom back out and continue defending. I know, sounds easy enough, right?

As you take control and blast away at hordes of enemies with strategically placed bombs. The explosions create chain reactions, encouraging strategic thinking and fast reflexes. The VR immersion adds another layer, placing you in the middle of the frantic action as you go between layers, trying to protect and wipe out all the enemies you can. Nevertheless, this is the point where you might want to employ strategic thinking. Shooting certain enemies will trigger a helpful shockwave, but be cautious when enemies begin to fire back.

Some foes can turn into a ‘Sacred Boy’ when bestowed with a ‘Blessing’, and shooting them can trigger a chain reaction of lightning. Embrace the chaos that’s headed your way. It’s all part of the fun. Not only do you need to worry about enemies that come near you, and they will, but creating these chains that the exploding enemies produce to rack up the points and your score. Remember, if you let all the chaos cause you to lose your rings aka life force, it’s game over. But don’t be too sad as you can pick up where you left off, just keep in mind that you may need to go back a few levels to get the pods.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. In playing the game, there is something about the colors that have this flow. But when you can play it in Virtual Reality, you “Begin to observe.” Jeff Minter’s and Llamasoft’s touch of sweetness. Allow yourself to be enveloped by the welcoming embrace of colors that are meant to be experienced. There is a psychedelic feel to the sound with electronics from the synths to the retro-feeling vibes that work very well with the overall presence that it delivers.

There are just a few things that I would love to see. First, a few more modes. There is Pure Mode, where you go from the beginning to the end. And then there is Atarification Mode: This mode is unlocked after completing the game once. It would be fun to have a timed mode for the different levels. Additionally, it would be fantastic to have the option of viewing online global leaderboards, enabling you to gauge your progress against players from around the world.

Akka Arrh provides the chaos and addictive gameplay of arcade bliss that took decades to become another reality. It shows what was once old is new again. In life, we sometimes rush ourselves and become intertwined with the newest things, only to put them aside to forget about them, and then years later remember the love we had for the things we have forgotten. But couldn’t we all hold on to the things that truly make us happy no matter how used they may seem instead of possibly losing what we loved, only to have regrets later?

Akka Arrh is out now for PlayStation VR2 on the PlayStation Store which also includes the PS4 and PS5 versions. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Atari, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

To learn more about Llamasoft, please visit the site and follow them on Twitter.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have a few more trophies to earn.

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