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Feudal Red Riding Hood - Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

That's a rather worrisome number of big bad wolves.

American McGee. Now that’s a name. I would give his parents high-fives, but they’re probably eagles who’ve been surgically attached to giant, forever-billowing US flags. McGee’s studio Spicy Horse, however, has a slightly spottier track record. I mean, its most recent big release, Alice: Madness Returns, was chock full of imaginative locales, but it was also overly long, and platforming (kind of important in a platformer) wasn’t exactly enjoyable. So it is with much trepidation that I bring you the first trailer of Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. On one hand, just look at that. An Okami-esque hand-painted style? Glorious. I wish to stroke it suggestively and make everyone feel really uncomfortable. But Akaneiro’s also a click-click-click-a-thon ARPG, and those can become mighty tedious if not executed with tremendous attention to detail.

All the standard ARPG beats, of course, look to be present and accounted for – by which I mean hacked and slashed until they violently rupture, gushing out a tidal wave of randomized goodies. And probably blood. Character progression’s also apparently pretty freeform, although Spicy Horse hasn’t detailed it much beyond saying you can “choose the abilities, specializations, and stat growth that best suit your personal play style.”

The most intriguing bit to me, though, is the overarching theme and plot. Basically, it’s a mythical feudal Japanese re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously. For all McGee’s frequent gameplay gaffes, he certainly has a knack for hitting on some strikingly bizarre aesthetics. I’m pretty excited to see what he and Spicy Horse do here.

It’s slated for release in “late 2012,” but you can register for the closed beta right now. Less optimistically, it’s also headed for Facebook and Android tablets in some capacity, so we’ll see how that affects the version we get. It’s looking pretty solid right now, though. Hopefully it stays that way.

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Nathan Grayson

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