Arcana Heart


REVIEWArcana Heart is a 2D fighter featuring an original all-female cast (each a variation of the moe anime-girl archetype). After choosing a character the player then chooses an "elemental alignment" which determines the character's extra special moves. In mid-April of 2007, a patch was released for the original Arcana Heart called "Arcana Heart FULL". The patch fixed a variety of issues, toning-down overly-powerful characters and buffing up weaker ones.

Visually, Arcana Heart is a good looking traditional 2D fighter. The large 2D sprites are the star of the show and are complimented with particularly large hand-drawn backgrounds. Backgrounds are nicely detailed and even have alternate appearances during certain Arcana moves... a nice touch. The "anime-like" animation isn't the smoothest we've seen in a 2D fighting game, but it's smooth where it counts for the most part.


Hope you like schoolgirls.... Hope you really, really like schoolgirls.


As far as gameplay goes, there's a bit of a learning curve... but overall, Arcana Heart presents a simple and solid combat system. I certainly haven't put the time in to "master" the system like I have in other games, but I do see potential. Characters have your basic weak, medium and strong attacks, and one button is used for dashing in various directions or to start an air combo... It's actually not as complicated as it sounds.   

There are also command attacks and several flashy super moves available for all characters/ Arcana Heart borrows a few elements from the Guilty Gear X series, and at times, feels very much like it due to the fact that all characters can air dash till their hearts content. Personally, I actually prefer Arcana Heart's dashing and combo system over Guilty Gear's. A lot of attacks also seem to hurt more than the Guilty Gear series (ouch factor). As far as character designs though, Guilty Gear takes the cake... but I have come to enjoy a few of Arcana Hearts designs.


No shortage of "T&A" here... of course I'm referring to "Technique" & "Action". ;)


Arcana Heart
is indeed an ALL-FEMALE fighting game, and to make matters "worse," all the girls are indeed under 18... with the exception of maybe Mei-Fang (doesn't state her age). Yes it's pretty hilarious and at the same time, a bit wrong. Arcana Heart may be directed more toward the female fighting gamers out there and/or towards those individuals who enjoy hentai... it's pretty obvious actually. The art of this game definitely has a "hentai overtone" if you ask me.

Alright, I gotta say it... It might be hard to find someone to play Arcana Heart with if you're a "cool guy" like me.  Your friends might think you're a bit weird (or perverted) for playing this game on any sort of regular basis, but overall it's not a bad 2D fighting game by any means. Great animation & graphics, fun & solid gameplay and yet another fine example that 2D fighting games are far from dead.


There's no shortage of weird designs... and just wait until the sequels. lol.



Page Updated: November 4th, 2019
Developer(s): Examu
Publisher(s): AQ Interactive (), Atlus ()
Designer(s): Sakuraitooru
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2
Release Date(s): Dec. 22nd, 2006           Arcade
Oct. 11th, 2007
Apr. 8th, 2008
Characters Heart Aino, Saki Tsuzura, Kamui Tokinomiya, Konoha, Maori Kasuga, Mei-Fang, Lilica Felchenerow, Lieselotte Achenbach, Yoriko Yasuzumi, Kira Daidohji, Fiona Mayfield, Mildred

Featured Video:

Related Games: Arcana Heart 2, Arcana Heart 2: Suggoi!, Arcana Heart 3, Guilty Gear X, SNK Gals Fighters, Skullgirls, AquaPazza, Guilty Gear XX: Slash, Kenichi

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  8.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  6.5 / 10
Innovation  7.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.0 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.0 / 10
Characters  6.0 / 10


 7.2 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version     


Final Words:

An all female character roster for a fighting game is quite bold. At first glance, I pretty much had no interest in this title due to the "cutesy anime girls theme," but I had to try it out (buy it), low expectations & all. It does remind me a lot of the Guilty Gear X series and very surprisingly, I actually enjoyed Arcana Heart's gameplay system as much if not more than Guilty Gear's.

There are a few things, however, that I don't like about the gameplay; the first one being that I "suddenly" cant use certain attacks and I also don't like how easy it is to break out of an air combo. Ohh and what a crappy & cheap boss...  this "crappy/cheap boss syndrome" in every new 2D fighting game really needs to stop.

Arcana Heart isn't a fighting game I'll ever be serious about (or even close), but there's definitely something I like about the game. Even if it's not your cup of tea, Arcana Heart is a pretty original and unique 2D fighter that any 2D fighting game purist should try out at least once.
~TFG Webmaster | @FIGHTERS_GEN