Melty Blood: TYPE LUMINA Review – Shooting for the Moon

    Title: Melty Blood: TYPE LUMINA
    Developer: Soft-Circle French Bread, TYPE-MOON
    Release Date: September 30, 2021
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Delightworks
    Genre: 2D Fighter

If there’s any fighting game that has stood the test of time and garnered a very amusing reputation all the while, it’s Melty Blood. This doujin fighting game from 2002 was the pseudo-sequel to the visual novel Tsukihime released two years earlier.

Re-released several times later with new characters and updated mechanics, Melty Blood: Actress Again would become known as the bathroom fighter due to its low required specs combined with its popularity and highly competitive scene, leading it to be played anywhere when it wasn’t the main attraction at tournaments- Y’know, back in the pre-COVID days.

Cut to the recently released remake of Tsukihime in Japan this year, and TYPE-MOON has decided to have Melty Blood remade, taking the form of Melty Blood: TYPE LUMINA. So now you don’t need to bring laptops and fight sticks into bathrooms. Well, you still can, since the title is on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but it’s also on Nintendo Switch, so you don’t need that much stuff.

Melty Blood: TYPE LUMINA is a 2D fighting game developed by TYPE-MOON, Delightworks, and Soft-Circle French Bread based upon the visual novel Tsukihime -A Piece of Blue Glass Moon-. This title does have spatterings of a story, but they are nothing more than minor interactions within the game’s arcade mode, so we aren’t even going to start on that.

This is a three-button fighter, utilizing light, medium, and heavy attacks. Your fourth face button is a special shield button that you can use to trigger counter-attacks when struck. To counter that counter, you’ve got throws that can bypass, or you can counter shield yourself to bring out a new counter, which can lead to some insanely fun clashes.

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Each special has three variations; light, medium, and heavy versions. The heavy version is a special attack and costs one magic circuit count, essentially your super meter. You start with a max count of 3, and when you get downed in a round, you’ll gain another for a max of 4.

Your arc drive super costs 3 counts, and your last arc super costs 4. There’s also a ‘heat’ mode which slowly depletes your special meter and allows you to use multiple specials with a reduced cost, allowing for some rapid-fire combos, provided you can land them.

Gone is the ‘Moon Style’ system from Actress Again, instead switched out for ‘Moon Icons.’ You can use these icons to perform ‘Moon Skills,’ which allow for alternative special attacks. They essentially function as a second meter, which adds to the attractive chaos on the field.

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And it’s certainly attractive. While the original Melty Blood was full of fun crunchy pixel art, TYPE LUMINA just looks better. Not too much better, so it retains that classic charm, but it looks smooth as hell in motion. The animations are excellent, and the new music is fantastic.

Composer Raito is just showing off with this soundtrack. And that’s just the gameplay itself. The menus are stylish and sleek, and the load times are next to non-existent. Even when playing on the Switch, it takes less than half a minute to go from booting the game to being in the middle of a match against a friend.

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If you’re a more casual player, you might be concerned about whether or not you’re able to use cool moves without too much practice. Well, then we’ve got just the mechanic for you—Rapid Beat.

By mashing the same button enough times, you’ll trigger an auto combo which will knock the opponent into the air. You can then follow up automatically, which will end with a down throw, or you can insert your own specials or Moon Skills into it for maximum style and damage.

This is also an excellent way to teach new players how to experiment, especially if they’re having trouble performing some of the fancier and more complex tutorial combos. Performing certain specials may be trickier, but the Moon Skills are performed by pressing medium, heavy, and a direction while also functioning like specials.

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That’s just a surface-level scrape of the mechanics this game holds because if I were to explain them all, we’d be here all day. The regular in-game tutorials will do a far better job than I ever will breaking down every minute detail. Once you’ve got a good grasp of everything, you can either run through single-player modes, such as your arcade, time attack, and score attack modes… but we don’t really care about those because this fighting game has ROLLBACK NETCODE. This lord and savior of fighting games will allow you to fight your friends with a solid connection, even on wifi.

In a world of COVID-19, this is incredibly important. If you’re not dedicated enough to have a LAN cable set up, you’re just here to play matches and have a bit of fun. But if you can’t even play matches well without one, then the online modes are going to be dead in the water. But here, I can fight my friends over some terrible Australian internet, on wifi, with a stable connection and minimal to no slowdown.

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Melty Blood: TYPE LUMINA is an incredibly enjoyable fighting game that you will have a good time playing online, even on the Switch. The updates offered in this version make it an even more competitive fighter as it introduces high skill-level mechanics along with accessible options for players looking to play as their favorite characters.

Review copy purchased by outlet or reviewer

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Pyre Kavanagh

Senior Editor - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter