A whirlwind mix of anime girls, mecha-style air battles, and cute cosmetics is coming together with the English release of Alice Gear Aegis CS: Concerto of Simulatrix on March 16, 2023 on PS4, PS5, and Switch. An offshoot of the memorable smartphone game Alice Gear Aegis, this franchise puts players at the end of humanity’s lifespan, after Earth’s defeat by aliens known as the Vice.
Only young women, known as Actresses, are able to utilize the mechanical augmentations of Alice Gear to take the fight back to the Vice. Alice Gear Aegis CS refines the intense combat of its phone game predecessor while taking a laid-back approach to the story, putting the Vice aside to focus on cute character-driven episodes and simulation tournaments between Actresses.
Perfect for newcomers to the franchise or veterans, this console release for Alice Gear Aegis flaunts the personalities and voice talents of its Actress cast while offering compelling gameplay mechanics and visuals. Alice Gear Aegis CS provides simple and accessible battles with plenty of depth to discover, as you compete in online bouts and master the game’s many different weapons and special abilities.
▍Deceptively Simple Gameplay That Requires Solid Strategies
The gameplay of Alice Gear Aegis CS revolves around a rock-paper-scissors system of basic counters. Each Actress has access to a basic project weapon with limited ammunition, as well as two special projectile attacks that slowly recharge.
Both the basic weapon, “Firearm Gear” and the stronger attacks, which are named Torso Gear and Leg Gear after your equipped armor, may be charged for stronger strikes. The Actress’ shield deflects these weapons, gradually depleting, but will prove less effective against each Actress’ melee weapon, known as a Clash Gear. On a basic level, shields beat weapon attacks, putting you in a position to counterattack, while swords will rapidly deplete or break enemy shields.
Luckily, combat in Alice Gear Aegis CS can’t be dumbed down into a triangle. I was pleasantly surprised by the strategy required, as each offensive and defensive option always has advantages and disadvantages. Swords decimate shields, but still leave a player vulnerable when blocked, offering huge benefits but huge risks. Shields deflect bullets but will still let damage through, forcing a player to carefully choose when to strike and when to block.
▍The Art of Offense and Defense
A central aspect of strategy within Alice Gear Aegis CS is limited ammunition. Bullets and special attacks must be carefully preserved; blowing your clip into a shield will leave your Actress vulnerable for a painfully long span of seconds before an ammo recharge. This design decision rewards smart combo plays, in which a player connects all their basic and special attacks together for massive damage.
Defense must also be mastered, given ammo limitations. Alice Gear Aegis CS equips the player with a limited Boost Gauge, expended by moving around the arena or using a dodge ability. 3D, vertical, and horizontal movement allows for complex dodging, and dashing just out of the path of projectiles proves incredibly rewarding. The playable maps offer obstacles that can block projectiles, further incentivizing the game’s fun movement and defensive options.
The limitations on ammo and boost work perfectly with the game’s tag team battle mode, which grants you control of three Actresses. Characters may be switched in order to replenish resources, heal some damage, or bring out a weapon that counters your enemy’s attack style. This incentive to try out new characters and weapons suits the game’s huge variety of gear, with vastly different benefits and effects.
▍Switch Between Guns and Swords for Different Situations
Is your enemy charging a slow, powerful projectile for massive damage? Great—switch to a character with a spear and skewer them with your huge melee range. If an enemy is dashing around the battlefield, light the whole arena up with a huge AOE Torso Gear attack to counter their evasion. A player’s ability to control three Actresses with different Firearm Gear, Torso Gear and Leg Gear creates limitless opportunities to counter opponents while having fun with the game’s many different weapons, which vary widely in their rate of fire, ammunition, AOE, and homing ability.
The ability to charge Firearm Gear and Torso Gear ups the antics, consuming more ammo for stronger, riskier attacks. Yet this equipment is far more than simply a source of damage. Torso Gear and Leg Gear can shoot projectiles that steal HP or lower enemy stats, and the characters’ defense and offense can be raised by three Skill Modules, which bolster stats like combo damage or ammo recharge time.
Alice Gear Aegis CS lacks the ridiculous button-pressing combinations of fighting games; a player can get by with shooting and dodging, yet there is a wonderful depth to the game’s strategy, gear selection, and character swapping.
▍Combat Combos for More Fun
Alice Gear Aegis CS offers various multiplayer gameplay modes; a player can compete online in Ranked or Casual matches with friends or strangers, in single, simplified battles controlling a single Actress, or in three-on-three all-out bouts. The single-player story mode offers a mix of the two battle types so that you can master one Actress while improving your team plays, but I had the most fun with the tag team battles.
The fun, central strategy in which the game incentives are combo play. Stunning an enemy with projectiles creates openings for your stronger, slower melee or ranged attacks so that a player is able to decimate enemy HP with a single sequence of moves. I had a great time capitalizing on enemy mistakes and learning how to string together damage but did find that some equipment felt a bit weak while pursuing this strategy.
▍A Few Rough Edges with Balance
Weapons with a fast rate of fire and plenty of ammo come in handy, while weak ones create opportunities to string together combo damage, which you can boost through Skill Modules. Focusing on fast attacks which guaranteed hits, over slower, more damaging skill shots, garnered the best battle success. Spears, with their long reach, proved my melee weapon of choice, able to quickly follow up on ranged attacks.
During the battle, the player’s SP gauge slowly charges, able to perform powerful, character-specific attacks faster reload, or assist moves. To keep up the combos, you can focus on character assists, and the occasional character-specific, high-cost SP Skill to finish an enemy off and prevent healing.
However, it is a bit disappointing that slower, stronger weapons, or Gear with limited ammo, feel underpowered, against the variety of defensive options and strength of counterattacks. Similarly, Clash Gear can vary wildly in effectiveness. Because melee attacks require lengthy, awkward animations, I struggled to make use of many close-range attacks to realize the full potential of the game’s varied weapons and skills.
▍Just a Taste of the Alice Gear Story
A strong draw for the franchise is its assortment of drastically different female Actresses. Character personalities shine through in the game’s story mode, which features voiced interactions between your chosen character, two teammates, and enemy Actresses as you compete in a tournament for prize money. The animations and character models within the story mode are compelling, and you will be impressed by the translated dialogue and unique character traits for each route you go through.
However, this single-player experience ends up feeling like a teaser for the Alice Gear Aegis franchise. The story mode offers cute scenarios and a glimpse into the girls’ lives but it is way too short. Each route may be completed in around an hour, forcing a player to look elsewhere for a more serious Alice Gear Aegis story and characterization.
The story mode does provide cosmetic unlocks and currency used to purchase new weapons, gear, and outfits. The huge amount of items to unlock and purchase, coupled with the game’s fair rate of providing currency, provide strong reasons to play through different story scenarios and explore other game modes.
▍Alice Gear Aegis CS is a Well-Rounded Arena Fighter With Rough Spots
Alice Gear Aegis CS may lack in story and balance, but the title’s strong fundamental mechanics ensure that a player will have a blast testing out the huge variety of weapons and skills, which are at times delightfully bizarre and unconventional.
Shimada Fumikane’s character designs for the series are stellar, which is unsurprising given his past work on Strike Witches; Yanase Takayuki, who in the past worked on mecha titles like Gundam, has nailed the gear and weapon designs for Alice Gear Aegis. The design of the Actresses and their mecha battle gear stand out even with this console release’s limited story, which offers a great entry point for the franchise, before the April air date of the anime adaptation Alice Gear Aegis Expansion.
For its low price point, Alice Gear Aegis CS: Concerto of Simulatrix is a strong buy for anyone interested in proficient, team-based arena fighters with good movement options, and strategic restrictions on offensive and defensive moves. Great anime girl designs, fun outfits, and the potential to color-coordinate your Alice Gear are all equally valid reasons for breaking into the Alice Gear Aegis world on PS4, PS5, or Switch.
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Alice Gear Aegis CS: Concerto of Simulatrix Review - Fun Arena Fighter with Charming Mecha Girls
Charming Mecha girls collide in intense space battles in Alice Gear Aegis CS: Concerto of Simulatrix, an arena fighter that refines the intense air combat of its phone game predecessor.
Operating System: PS4, PS5, Switch
Application Category: Game