Melty Blood: Type Lumina, the Saviour of the FGC! It brings combos back to our fighting games after Daisuke took away our gatlings in Guilty Gear – Strive –. So, I can’t be alone in thinking, “Why is this game so hard at times?“. I can do the combos with Saber online, but my 15% win rate sure says I don’t get the Ws. Yet with Michael Roa, I just ‘bing, bing, wahoo’ with his lightning attacks and auto-combos, and there I am sitting at a 60% win rate with plenty of wins. I just don’t get it.
Ignore my humbling experiences though because Melty Blood is a fun, fast-paced fighting game filled with maids, nuns, vampires and demons all battling it out against a gothic Japanese setting using 2D sprites and an addictive combat system. On top of that, it’s got Rollback Netcode too, and whilst there have been some reported issues on PC, it still holds up. The only thing Melty is missing is cross-play between PC and consoles, but we’re finally reaching the stage with fighting games where Rollback Netcode might be looking like the standard, so cross-play will have to wait for the time being.
You can find our full thoughts on Melty Blood on the site, but now is definitely a great time to get into the game, with character guides, strategies, tips and tricks videos all available and more popping up on YouTube to help new and old players alike. It’s a great way to help yourself learn fighting games, especially when you’re away from your console or PC, and the amount of resources available only makes it easier now than it ever has been.
As it just so happens, I spoke to a few content creators in the FGC, and as it has been a couple of weeks now since Melty‘s release, so they’ve all had time to formulate their opinions and thoughts to judge the game.
This is what the Experts had to say:
“General thoughts? I really like the game! It reminds me of a mix between GBVS, Under Night In-Birth and the older Melty Blood game: simplistic gameplay but a lot of depth when you dive into it. I like those kinds of games. Very strong system mechanics, which is pretty uncommon in recent games, but because it’s uncommon, it feels good to play and unique. Because the system mechanics are so strong, the game is well balanced because of this, in my opinion.
I’ve been playing with Saber mostly, only because I’m a Fate fan. She doesn’t really fit my traditional character archetype, but I’ve been liking her a lot, and I keep finding new stuff to do with her, which is nice. I hope people give this game a try – I think it’s easy to get into while still maintaining depth.”
“Melty Blood: Type Lumina is a refreshing new look at a classic fighting game series! I think the development team did a great job finding a balance between old and new mechanics. This new entry still feels like Melty Blood but with its own twist. Most importantly, the game is just enjoyable to play, with every character feeling strong and unique in their own right. I seriously did not think the developer, French Bread, could make me interested in the entire cast, yet here I am finding myself exploring the options of the Type Lumina roster!
While some defensive mechanics, like shield and Moon Drive, feel a bit too strong, there is a decent amount of counter-play that makes for some interesting mind game interactions versus your opponents. I am looking forward to the future of this title both as a competitor and enthusiast of the Tsukihime/Melty Blood franchise!”
“I honestly think Melty Blood: Type Lumina is a breath of fresh air for fighting games in an era where it feels like every new fighting game is trying to “rebirth the genre” with things like super dash, wall break, etc. Not that those games are bad or anything, but it’s just nice to play a more familiar fighting game with fluid movement, lockdown oki, a more sandbox free-form combo system that makes the game feel fun to play. The auto combos are a great entry point for beginners without removing the ceiling for more expressive combos at higher levels of play.
I definitely understand the complaints about defence being too strong and shield RPS being annoying to deal with. Pressuring people on their wake up in this game can feel scary or like a guessing game, but I’m in the minority that I don’t think it’s quite that bad.
Coming from games where you often have no options and just get mixed to death, it’s nice to never really feel like you’re out of the match, and when it comes to shield, there are ways to play around it, not shielding back at all and B+C follow-up are under-utilized against an opponent who has shielded you, also in order to shield, you have to actually have blocked the high/low mix-up correctly in the first place, and assuming you were correct, you still have to win the RPS on top of that.
I think shield complaints will die down the more the community discovers how to play around it better. Of course, the visuals and soundtrack for the game are godlike, and the netcode has been pretty good for me (not the best but definitely not bad). The PC port absolutely needs some bug fixes, and I think the cast could use some additional characters, but other than that, I’m seriously really enjoying it and plan to play it for a long time to come!”
“First of all, I love that they did 2D HD sprites. Sprite work these days in fighting games is very much a lost art, so it’s nice to see it again with Melty. With the system mechanic, I think the shield system is interesting, it reminds me a lot of guard impact from SoulCalibur, especially that you can get into shield wars with one another. Some people are kind of down on the mechanic, but I think i’ts interesting and gives a layer of strong defence in a game with otherwise massive offense.
Character-wise, I very much like Vlov, who I find very interesting since he’s basically like a stance character, but his stance changes depending on the round rather than any input or motion. Only on a round where you can lose the game, he switches from fire to ice powers (moves are roughly the same, but they have different hitboxes and can lead to different combos). It apparently matches his story in the Tsukihime remake where he hates using ice powers but will bust them out if his back is against the wall.
Overall, the game is just savage in a way modern fighting games tend not to be, like the maid duo unblockable being found so early into the game’s life, yet it’s something I feel is going stay and not be patched out. I’m just happy to see a new instalment of Melty Blood, it’s been a long, long running franchise in the FGC with a level of support many games just don’t get, so having an all new game in the franchise to keep that legacy going is fantastic. All the more so with Rollback Netcode built in versus having to have a fan patch for it lol.”
“For starters, I’m quite surprised that Melty Blood: Type Lumina even exists. I started my fighting game journey with Melty Blood Re:ACT, so getting a brand new Melty Blood game in 2021 was shocking (in a good way). In my opinion, Melty Blood: Actress Again: Current Code was a sendoff for Actress Again – revising some old mechanics and raising the general strength of the cast, along with giving the variants of characters many new tools. It’s one of the many reasons the game still marches on with a tightknit, competitive community – there’s a lot to work with, despite the game appearing to be simple.
The game looks great – I missed sprites a lot. Of course, I’m a fan of Arc System’s approach of making every fighting game look like a shounen anime fight, but there’s something nostalgic about some crisp sprite work. The OST lives up to the series standard as well.
As far as the game, there are only three truly new characters – Vlov, Noel, and Saber (the guest character). The rest of the cast are returning from previous versions. As a veteran, I feel like they did a good job keeping the essence of what the returning characters did before while giving them new tools and making them fit into this new system.
My mixed feelings start from the game’s system itself. French Bread has made a few other fighting games after Melty Blood – the main one most people would know would be Under Night In-Birth. It feels like there is quite a bit of influence from UNIB, which for me has been difficult to adjust to. The most prevalent one would be Moon Drive – this is a mechanic that causes an immediate freeze and gives your character various buffs (the main ones being additional air movement and buffs to specific special moves).
Despite “buffing” your character, the tool is mostly used defensively since it freezes the screen, and you can act out of it immediately. Being aware of whether or not Moon Drive activation is in play is an important part of the game, as well as knowing how much Moon Gauge your opponent has, and what fills it and drains it.
This shares a lot with the GRD system that UNIB plays. To be honest, I found the GRD system to be annoying to play around. At that time, it felt like unlike Melty Blood, the developers really wanted to make sure the two players focused on the GRD system. Moon Drive and the Moon Gauge system gives me this feeling, but unlike UNIB, it doesn’t feel like it is the be-all-end-all battle of the game.
The most controversial mechanic for most people who start the game is shield. Frankly, I do not like how they changed the shield system from Actress Again. It isn’t actually the guessing game/follow ups of the shield that bother me – as people play the game more, they have been finding ways of mitigating the risks around that. For me, the real big issue is that low shield beats mid hitting attacks, meaning you either have to do a jump in, a command overhead, or a throw to beat the shield. This, combined with “successful” shields building Moon Gauge, creates a dynamic where reading your opponents shield attempts snowball the game in your favor (as they won’t be able to use Moon Drive much), or a game where it is hard to mount offense after successful hits (because they’ll have extra Moon Gauge from shielding correctly).
To me, this is that dash of Under Night that bothers me, but the main essence of Melty Blood – the freedom of movement and the liberal cancel system, are still there. To be honest, while the shield system and Moon Drive can be annoying to play against, I do have to say they did a great job with building preventative measures to stop potentially “broken” or over centralizing tactics.
I’ve only been playing Red Arcueid in this version. In my time playing Melty Blood, I’ve played a handful of characters as my main character – first Akiha Vermillion, then Kohaku, and then Archtype Earth in Current Code. However, during that entire time, I’ve always played Red Arcuied on the side for fun.
I haven’t played the Tsukihime Remake (the source material for Type Lumina), but they did a good job redesigning her. She looks great, and has some touches of Archetype Earth in her normals and voice lines. That being said, legacy knowledge is murdering me, haha. Her air dash is longer than I’m used to, her jump B is faster than it used to be (IIRC it’s back to MBAC speed at 5F), but it doesn’t hit as deep. The blood rings aren’t blood anymore😞. The B version doesn’t keep air options, and the A version is much smaller than before.
She did get a bunch of new tools though – a new 6C that side swaps, pretty good Moon Skills, a charge 5B and 5C with armour, and a throw that leads into a combo in the corner, which is pretty valuable in this game. She’s strong, but I wouldn’t say she’s a contender for a top character in the cast.
Basically, I’m pretty happy a new Melty Blood is out, but they added elements from Under Night that I’m not a fan of. The characters are still cool and fun, and I’m looking forward to continuing to play as a fun side game.”
Melty Blood: Type Lumina is available now for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.