Fighting games are some of the best ways for people to test their skills in gaming. From its humble beginnings in the arcade cabinets to the sprawling and energetic arenas of EVO, fighting games have come a long way. Now, there are a plethora of new fighting games that came out over the years. From Guilty Gear -Strive- to Soul Calibur VI. However, one classic, one legendary fighting game series makes a comeback after all these years, Melty Blood: Type Lumina.
What Is Melty Blood?
Melty Blood is a 2D fighting video game series created by French Bread with approval from Type-Moon. The game’s first release, called Melty Blood, was first seen back in December 2002 on Comiket. Back then, it was shortened to Merubura.
The first game was very unbalanced, with a lot of the characters being very overpowered, or underpowered. However, there was a lot of potential for a really good fighting game in it. This spawned a sequel called Melty Blood: Re-ACT that gave the game some balance tweaks and a lot of polishing. It wouldn’t take long for the series to get an arcade release with Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, which skyrocketed the series’ popularity. After that, the most recent releases before Type Lumina came to be, are Melty Blood Actress Again, and Melty Blood Actress Again: Current Code.
It’s on Current Code that the game stalled for over a decade, as the game’s main visual novel, Tsukihime, wasn’t given some love by Type-Moon. It’s not their fault, though. After all, the Fate series is a serious moneymaker with various animes, films, and games in its pocket, with Fate: Grand Order being the one in the forefront. However, with the release of Tsukihime -A Piece of Blue Glass Moon-, Melty Blood players perked up in hope of a possible Melty Blood release. A few months later, that wish came true, with Type-Moon releasing a trailer for Melty Blood: Type Lumina on March 30, 2021.
What Is Melty Blood: Type Lumina?
Melty Blood: Type Lumina is the fifth fighting game in the Melty Blood series created by French Bread. Of course, with some assistance from Aniplex and Type-Moon. It’s a 2D fighting game that serves as the prequel to Tsukihime -A Piece of Blue Glass Moon-. This is because the events in Type Lumina happen 10 days before the visual novel.
Of course, playing Melty Blood: Type Lumina would pretty much spoil a lot of things in the visual novel, like new characters, and a few other things. But if you’re not able to play the Tsukihime remake, then it’s not a bad thing to go for Type Lumina. Just skip everything about the story and enjoy the fighting.
As stated, the game was announced back on March 30, 2021, and released on September 30, 2021. The game is available on Steam for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
‘Melty Blood: Type Lumina’ Review
Now that we’ve talked about the details on Melty Blood’s history, let’s get started on the review. We’ll start with the game’s combat and controls, then the graphics and sound design.
The combat of Melty Blood: Type Lumina is incredibly fast-paced, and it depends on the player’s current character on how the combat is dictated. Each character has their moveset and flow of combat that can tip the scales of battle.
First off is the fact that Melty Blood: Type Lumina is a 2D fighting game. This means that players can only move forward and back with their characters. It’s not like Tekken where they can move sideways to avoid blows. Still, there’s a lot of movement options on Type Lumina, as players can dash mid-air forward and back to maneuver around an enemy.
In general, though, each character in Melty Blood: Type Lumina has combos that they can perform with light, medium, and heavy attacks. These light, medium, and heavy attacks can be chained together to perform longer combos that deal more damage. With enough skill, players can juggle enemies and prevent them from ever touching the ground. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s the end for them. They can recover by using the Shield button, or by pressing one of the three attack buttons.
Each character also has certain special moves that can be used by pressing certain buttons. These are stronger, deal more damage, and has certain special effects like getting through blocks and other things
In addition to this, there are also two special gauges that the player can use, the Moon Gauge and the Magic Circuit Gauge. We’ll talk about those two below. For now, though, we’ll start with the newest addition, the Moon Gauge.
The Moon Gauge is located on the bottom-right (bottom left for the second player) of the character’s portrait. This is depicted as a yellow crescent moon that players fill up by attacking their enemy. Note that this only applies to the first hit of an attack chain. Thus, it’s usually a good idea to use pokes and other singular attacks to rapidly fill up the Moon Gauge.
However, the Moon Gauge is an extremely powerful tool when used correctly. For one, consuming a portion of the Moon Gauge can increase the power and damage of certain attack strings. With enough practice, players can combo these strong attacks from normal attack strings.
In addition to this, players can enter Moon Drive, which steadily depletes the Moon Gauge. In exchange, players can string several Moon Drive attacks at once. Being in Moon Drive also replenishes the Magic Circuit Gauge, which is a good thing if you’re looking to make a counterattack. In addition, players get to triple jump, as well as dash more times in a row.
Do note that to activate Moon Drive, players need to have 50% of the Moon Gauge filled. However, a low Moon Gauge means that the Moon Drive depletes faster.
Magic Circuit Gauge
Magic Circuit Gauge is the gauge that players use for Super Moves. It’s here that most of Melty Blood: Type Lumina’s combat resides.
The Magic Circuit Gauge has three bars with one filled at the start of a fight. Attacking enemies and getting hit fills up the gauge and players can use this gauge to perform several Special moves of varying power. When the player is defeated, they gain an extra bar on the Magic Circuit Gauge.
Using a Special move consumes a bar on the Magic Circuit Gauge and performs a hard-hitting special attack. This can be used while doing normal or Moon enhanced attacks to combo and juggle opponents. With enough practice, you can essentially 100 to 0% an enemy’s HP if you have enough Moon and Magic Circuit Gauge. Though that’s difficult to master, and even do because of several mechanics in the game like the dashes, shields, and others.
When there’s at least one full bar on the Magic Circuit Gauge, players can enter Heat Mode. In this mode, they regain some HP, and the Magic Circuit Gauge steadily trickles down to 0. This is a pretty good thing if used correctly as players can use multiple special attacks at a time if used in quick succession. Players also gain access to Arc Drive, a Special move with flashy visuals and high damage. This can also be combined alongside normal attacks and all the other things. Players can also activate Heat Mode/Blood Heat to interrupt a combo.
If players have four full bars on the Magic Circuit Gauge, they enter Blood Heat, which gives access to Last Arcs. Last Arcs are the most powerful special attacks in Melty Blood: Type Lumina.
Graphics and Character Design
Graphics-wise, Melty Blood: Type Lumina is a massive improvement from the original games. There is a bit of charm lost due to the improvement as the character models become more defined, but that’s the price of progress. Still, the characters are more defined, there are a lot more details on the environments, and there are even half-body sprites of the characters for cutscenes. The game’s improved since then and it’s a real treat to see.
In terms of Sound Design, the Melty Blood: Type Lumina took away some of the goofier sound effects. They will be missed, but the game does sound a bit more professional this way, though others won’t see it like that.
Other than that, there’s nothing to say much about the game’s sound design. The voice acting is still stellar, with names like Kawasumi Ayako for Saber and Ryōsuke Kanemoto for Tohno Shiki. There are a few newcomers, like Hasegawa Ikumi for Arceuid Brunestud, but the quality is still stellar.
In terms of character balance, Melty Blood: Type Lumina is pretty balanced in terms of its characters. French Bread has been good at it from their previous Melty Blood iterations and on Under Night in-Birth. There are a few hiccups here and there, glitches, and maybe some nutty things like the Shield game. However, all in all, the character balancing of Melty Blood: Type Lumina is solid.
We’ve dedicated the next session to get to know each of the characters in the game. Only time will tell if French Bread will add DLC characters into the mix, and we hope they will. Some players were even disappointed that several characters weren’t on the roster.
‘Melty Blood: Type Lumina’ Characters
Tohno Shiki is the main character of Tsukihime alongside Aceuid Brunestud. He’s a member of the Tohno household and possesses the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. This allows him to see and interact with the various lines of death that all things possess. With this, he can sever limbs, and even kill with a single stab.
In Melty Blood, though, he’s a character that wants to rush his opponent and beat them down with fast attacks. With enough skill, he can straight-up stunlock his opponent with his strikes. He has a pretty long range due to his high movement and a lot of ways to disengage if he doesn’t want to fight. However, his attacks are pretty light and can be avoided with practice. When this happens, he can be punished fairly easily.
Shiki’s Arc Drive is “Boundary Peek,” and his Last Arc is “Testify – Seventeen Dissection.”
Arceuid Bruenstud is a vampire of great lineage as befitting of her position as a True Ancestor. Due to a traumatic event, however, she lost quite a bit of her power and some of her original personality. Now, she’s a bit childish, and a very free-spirited young woman with a few princess tendencies. However, don’t let her façade fool you. She’s still an incredibly powerful vampire with the strength to match.
In Melty Blood, Arceuid’s a pretty balanced close-range fighter that can also rush down her enemies. She mostly goes for staggers, throws, and a few mixups to beat her opponents to the ground. With a good range and decent movement speed, she can easily take down most opponents that don’t pay attention. However, zoners like Akiha, Roa, and Vlov can easily kite her attacks and pummel her with range. Still, she can easily beat them to the ground when she corners them to the wall.
Arceuid’s Arc Drive is “Melty Blood,” and her Last Arc is “Marble Phantasm – Seal.”
Ciel is an executor of the Holy Church, specifically their specialized force, the Burial Agency. Her job? To hunt down heretics and defeat the enemies of the Church. Her real reason for doing this though is to hunt down and kill her mortal enemy, which led her to Souya, and the events of Tsukihime. Still, she’s a force to be reckoned with, though one with a peculiar weakness to curry bread.
In Melty Blood, Ciel is very versatile, able to rush down enemies or zone them with her Black Keys. However, her versatility is also her weakness, as she’s more or less a jack of all trades, master of none. In addition, her specials are very susceptible to punishment if used incorrectly. Thus, it takes time to master Ciel to use her at a good level. Still, with enough practice, and a lot of hard work, Ciel can and will carry you.
Ciel’s Arc Drive is “Seventh Holy Scripture – Final Judgement” and her Last Arc is “Seventh Holy Scripture – Divine Judgement.”
Tohno Akiha is the new leader of the Tohno family after the death of her father. She’s a year younger than Shiki, her brother, and is pretty much the definition of a Yamato Nadeshiko. A strict disciplinarian, she imposes guidelines upon herself to project a flawless image, almost to a fault. Still, she continues to uphold the Tohno family name in all things, which led her to investigate the mysterious happenings on Souya.
Akiha’s gameplay is someone that wants to knock opponents while they’re down. With great combo execution, set plays a mile ahead, and reliance on movement, she’s a very technical character. However, she can’t zone as well as others on this list and needs good movement to punish her opponents. However, she can pretty much knock down enemies constantly if given the chance, and her mixups can and will combo together alongside her area-denial and combo extensions. A well-played Akiha can turn her opponent’s world upside down, and deal them a beating of a lifetime.
Akiha’s Arc Drive is “Scarlet Mistress – Cage Hair,” and her Last Arc is “Scarlet Mistress – Crimson Hammer.”
Hisui is one of two maids in the Tohno Family household and is the one responsible for cleaning the grounds. That, and taking care of Shiki. She’s the younger twin of Kohaku and is the quiet one of the two, as well as being a consummate professional. However, don’t let this maid’s unassuming form fool you, she’s a tough contender.
Right now, there’s almost no change to Hisui’s kit or fighting style from back in Melty Blood Actress Again: Current Code. To be more specific, it’s almost a piece-by-piece recreation of her Crescent Moon style there. She uses her zoning tools and the bento mat attack to kite out enemies before shredding their HP with attacks. If you’re not careful with Hisui, she can, and will, kill you.
Hisui’s Arc Drive is “Hisui Dark Punch,” her Last Arc is “Tohno Blade – Shramana Tree.”
Kohaku is the older twin sibling of Hisui, with both siblings working for the Tohno family for years. Aside from assisting her mistress, she does the chores, looks after the garden, and is pretty handy with pharmaceutical know-how. This means that when Shiki falls ill, she’s the one taking care of him with various concocted medicines. She’s a cheerful and ever-smiling young woman. Just don’t mess with her in a fight.
Kohaku in Melty Blood: Type Lumina is incredibly reliant on several special moves that take bars from the Magic Circuit Gauge. However, she’s very strong and has a lot of good knockdown capability. Her set play is also one of the best, with some of her abilities having a lot of ways to lock down opponents and pressure them. With enough aggression, Kohaku players can take over the game entirely.
Kohaku’s Arc Drive is “Chinese Kohaku Cuffing.” Her Last Arc is “Drawn Sword Technique – Comet Sweep.”
Hisui and Kohaku
This is both Hisui and Kohaku combined into a single fighting game character. You can swap between the twins and use their movesets together. With enough practice, they’re almost unstoppable with their terrifying set play, unrelenting pressure, and unyielding aggression. However, this leaves them vulnerable to counters, as one mistake can send either of them to the defeat chime. Still, if you’re proficient in both maids, you might want to try them both out in Hisui and Kohaku.
Next on the list is Miyako Arima, the shortest character in Melty Blood, but also one of the hard-hitting ones. She’s the eldest daughter of the Arima’s Branch Family who took in Shiki back when he was a child. Wanting to be a martial artist, she learned Bajiquan in her family dojo, and even if she’s not yet a master, she’s still a force to be reckoned with.
Miyako is a melee-oriented character with a lot of rushdown options. Her various attacks all have ways to get close to opponents, and she can pretty much rip them to shreds if given the opportunity. However, due to her being so focused on melee, she doesn’t have any ranged options at all. The only thing on her arsenal with range is her New Arrival special, which can be blocked and punished. Still, if you’re able to get in close, Miyako can reduce her opponent’s HP to shreds.
Miyako’s Arc Drive is “Ultimate Finisher.” Her Last Arc is “Final Thunder – Smashing Fist.”
Noel is another member of the Church’s executors just like Ciel. She’s one of the new characters introduced in Tsukihime and for now, there’s not much known about her. Still, she does have skill due to her abilities as a Church Executor, though, she’s not as strong as Ciel.
In Melty Blood: Type Lumina, Noel uses her halberd to keep opponents in the midrange. This allows her to punish them heavily if they get too close. In addition, a few of her attacks are disjointed, which allows her to punish any whiffs hard. However, she also has a pretty long recovery time compared to the other characters, and her normals all hit low and not hit enemies that are in the air. This is an advantage to players that use characters that constantly jump around to miss attacks like Red Arceuid and others.
Noel’s Arc Drive is “Time to Repent.” Her Last Arc is “Heavenly Trinity.”
Michael Roa Valdamjong
Next on the list is Michael Roa Valdamjong, a former priest of the Catholic Church, now heretic and Dead Apostle. He’s known as the “Infinite Reincarnator” and the “Serpent of Akasha” because he always comes back alive somehow. His goal? To look for Arceuid Brunestud and gain her power.
Now for those that know Melty Blood from way back in the day, you might shudder in fear at Roa due to his C-Roa version, a.k.a, Warcrimes Roa. However, rejoice, as that version is nowhere to be seen in Type Lumina (for now). The one we get is his H-Roa version, which has some nutty sequences of his own. Still, it’s not as bad as C-Roa on Current Code, but with enough practice and a lot of set play, Roa can and will kick the opponent’s ass.
Roa’s Arc Drive is “Celestial Strike.” His Last Arc is “Seventeenth Transmigration.”
Another new character that was added on Tsukihime. Vlov came from the frozen north and goes to Souya for an unknown goal. A vampire that feeds on blood for warmth, he uses this warmth as burning flames to destroy his enemies. However, it’s in the cold where he’s the most dangerous.
Vlov is an incredibly dangerous opponent when he’s far away from his enemy. He’s one of, if not the best zoner in Melty Blood: Type Lumina. He can change between Fire and Ice forms with each having different attacks. With various projectiles and flexible conversion, with enough practice, he’s going to be a menace. However, his melee is a bit lackluster and he’s very slow. In addition to this, his defense is also lacking, due to his reliance on zoning his opponent. Still, with enough practice, he can be a force to be reckoned with.
Vlov’s Arc Drives are “Mania, Scorching Heat” and “Depths, Northern Sea.” His Last Arc is ” “Javol Kopiy,” which is the longest Last Arc in the game.
Red Arceuid is what happens when Arceuid’s vampiric instincts and desires take over. A dangerous individual, her personality takes a massive shift, with increased selfishness and disdain towards humanity. Still, there are some bits of the real Arceuid in there, just buried, but it’s going to be a bit hard to bring it out.
Red Arceuid is a character that puts a lot of emphasis on controlling neutrals and mobility. She has a lot of ways to do this from her ring projectiles to her teleports. In addition, her pressure game is pretty strong with the ability to combo her throws into several devastating attacks. However, said throw is also pretty weak, with it having a high possibility of whiffing if done in the middle of the arena. However, her options are pretty vast, which experienced Melty Blood players can make use of.
Red Arceuid’s Arc Drive is “Erde Seele Seufzer.” Her Last Arc is “Shining Body.”
Kishima Kouma is the head of the Kishima family, the branch family of the Tohno’s. The Tohnos are well known for their mixed demon blood, but Kouma’s is particularly strong, which affects his daily life. Still, he manages to live a somewhat normal existence through the use of meditation and spiritual enlightenment. However, don’t let his façade fool you, Kouma is a strong fighter, and his demon blood enhances his strength by a lot. After all, his fists can and will turn those that oppose him to ashes.
Kouma is a really powerful rushdown/grappler character that uses his holds to turn fights around. Against him, if his opponent isn’t careful, he can and will punish his opponent with incredibly high damage combos. These combos can then be looped over and over again by various grapples, command dashes, and several reversals. Do note that Kouma’s ability in the air is pretty weak, and he’s very focused on melee so ranged characters like Vlov will have an easy time with him if they stay at range.
Do note though that this would still be enough for Kouma players to get in close and punish them hard.
Kouma’s Arc Drive is “Unicorn – Flame Waltz.” His Last Arc is “Judgement of Yama.”
Last on the list is Saber, the first crossover character that came from Fate/Stay Night. Well, Saber’s her Servant Class, her real name is Arturia Pendragon. With Excalibur in hand, she was called to Souya by something or someone. She currently has no idea who or what. But since she’s a knight, she goes forth to find the cause of her summoning and to help those in need.
Saber’s a character that has a lot of variety to her melee attacks. Her swings hit hard, she has a good rapid beat, and her Avalon Arc Drive is straight up a counter to everything. However, she’s pretty limited in terms of ranged options, her anti-air is pretty iffy, and don’t get us started on her air to air. Still, she’s a formidable opponent to face especially if she’s played by someone that knows her in and out.
Saber has two Arc Drives: “The Sword of Promised Victory” and “Avalon.” Her Last Arc is “The Sword of Promised Victory – Sword Dance.”
Is Melty Blood: Type Lumina on Par with Other Fighting Games?
From what we can tell, yes. Melty Blood: Type Lumina is one of the better fighting games that came out for PC and consoles. Its gameplay’s great, the characters look cool, and overall the game can play well online due to its rollback netcode. Most of the time, that is, as there are still a few hiccups here and there.
Still, only time will tell if it can hold its own against other anime fighting games like Guilty Gear: Strive.
Melty Blood: Type Lumina vs Similar Games
Now that we’ve talked about Melty Blood: Type Lumina, let’s talk about other fighting games like it. We’ll start with Samurai Shodown, Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, and lastly, Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Samurai Shodown is another 2D anime fighting game that came out originally back in 1993 as Samurai Spirits. The game takes place in 18th Century Japan and usually has various historical figures as characters. In addition to this though, the game has a lot of emphasis on weaponry, counters, and filling up the Rage Gauge, which makes a comeback in this game.
The game isn’t as explosive as Melty Blood: Type Lumina though. It’s more deliberate, with careful consideration on attacks, blocks, and Rage Gauge resource management. There’s also careful consideration of the weapons that characters are using as it directly affects the range that they can attack with. Still, if you’re looking for a deliberate 2D Anime fighting game, you might want to try out Samurai Shodown.
Guilty Gear -STRIVE-
Next on the list is Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, which takes place after the events of Xrd. The game is made to be a complete reconstruction of Guilty Gear as a franchise, with Arc System Works revamping quite a bit of the series’ mechanics. Most notably, the removal of the Instant Kill mechanic and replacing it with Wall Break.
However, they’re also ensuring that several of the core mechanics and essence of the game still shines through. This, combined with the more casual take on gameplay due to the emphasis on players enjoying the game first, makes Guilty Gear -STRIVE- a huge recommendation.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Last but not least is Dragon Ball FighterZ, one of the best 2D anime fighting games out there due to its explosive gameplay. The game has it all, from loads of viable characters, great OST, awesome looking combos and battles, you name it, it’s here.
In addition to this, the game also has a lot of ways for players to express themselves with its 3v3 mode, which is usually what the game’s Esports scene uses. All in all, the game is a great addition to the fighting game community, though Melty Blood: Type Lumina isn’t far behind. Here’s hoping that the game would also add new characters through DLC’s with some tweaks and balancing to keep it even.