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Fuga: Melodies of Steel (戦場のフーガ, lit. "Fugue on the Battlefield") is the latest installment to the Little Tail Bronx series. This game is in the perspective of 12 Children who commandeer the Taranis, a large tank, as they take on the Berman Empire.

A standard and deluxe edition are currently available and are both digital. The deluxe edition includes a digital art book, soundtrack and bonus DLC.

A sequel to the game currently titled Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 is in the works and more news is to arrive around July of 2022. This part of Little Tail Bronx overall is planned to be a full trilogy.[1]

Story

Story is under construction.

The story begins in "How it All Began", where the children stumble upon a cave home to the Taranis. Nobody knows of what the tank actually is, though, with Mei and Malt thinking it could be God. The adults of the village warn the children to never approach the cave again.

As news spreads of the Berman Empire's rising dominance over the Free Lands of Gasco, Malt & Mei's grandfather reassures the two that Petit Mona would remain safe. However, the empire soon destroys the village and take the adults hostage. Luckily the children are hid away from the army thanks to Ms. Yona. She instructs the trio to run back to the mountain cave.

On their way there, Malt, Mei and Hanna meet up with Boron, Kyle and Socks. All of them continue rushing to the Taranis's cave, with Socks being the first to identify it as a tank. Upon this realization the boys swiftly investigate the control room and manage to bring the massive vehicle to life. The Taranis immediately makes its way to Petit Mona where it nearly tramples over the Berman army. This immense amount of power shocks Malt, though despite witnessing how destructive it can be he continues to refer to it as God.

Secret Movie

A secret movie is available to view in the game after unlocking all of the title screen's gears. The short movie features a series of rough drawings and a vague prologue.

The children's struggle continues when the Taranis reawakens with a few hostages (who appear to be Socks, Boron, Hannah, Mei, and Britz). In order to save them, the remaining few children board the Tarascus and wage war with whoever has kidnapped their friends. At the end of the secret movie, Malt mutters vengeful words of hunting down & killing whoever has hurt his loved ones.

A new unknown Caninu child is introduced in this movie and Wappa is absent. The main antagonist appears to be Jeanne's counterpart.

Gameplay

Unlike the other two entries in the Little Tail Bronx series, where the player controls a Robo that can walk around a 3D space & toss enemies, the player instead takes control of a squad in side-scrolling, turn-based combat with prominent JRPG elements.

Battles

Fuga SS EN 04.jpg

During battles the player must ward off a number of enemies who come in waves. To do so, each available child takes turns attacking with various abilities. Children can be paired together in three available turrets, each featuring two seats. The key to battle is to both stagger the enemy and lower their defenses, all of which can be seen by both the color-coded clock icons and numbered shields next to their life bars. Using the correctly colored weapons on the tank, which are assigned to specific children, and utilizing special attacks that lower defenses, can make battles a smooth victory.

Attacks & Abilities

The children of the Taranis come with an arsenal of normal attacks, special moves, and multiple types of status ailments. Each child is assigned one of three main weapon types; machine guns, grenade launchers, and cannons. Machine guns excel in speed & accuracy at the cost of effective normal damage, cannons deal heavy amounts of damage while having lower accuracy, and grenade launchers fall in-between while also featuring more status inflictors.

Special moves can be performed as long as the player has enough SP. While many of these moves are focused on inflicting damage, there are also healing abilities and status ailments. Some special attacks can inflict extreme damage upon the enemy at the cost of inflicting fear upon the children, so these moves must be used wisely. As the player progresses through Gasco they can obtain items that can perform the same effects as lower-end moves, making for cost-effective alternatives.

Affinity is key to unlocking the children's unique passive effects amongst each other, all of which can be unlocked at Affinity Lv. 2 and further improved upon up to Lv. 10. Affinity can be slowly raised between two children through battle if they're paired in turrets, though the most effective way to raise this is through conversations during Intermissions and eating food that boosts it. To activate a pair's Affinity ability, the player must seat either of the two into the backseat of a turret for their desired effect. Children with no Affinity between each other will not grant any passive effects.

Link Attacks are powerful moves that can be charged between a pair of children during battles. Once one is charged, the attack can be performed at any time and will need to be recharged after a single use. Link Attacks can inflict damage to all enemies and sometimes also grant the team with special buffs. The Link gauge will increase slowly after each turn normally but can be sped up through eating the proper food in Intermissions and specific Link-related special moves.

Hero Mode is a status buff that can be granted to any child seated in the front line of any of the three turrets, and its effect is unique to each individual. The qualification for entering Hero Mode is dependent on a child's mood, which is indicated by the cat mood icon seen in the battle UI and the Intermission notebook. Moods can be boosted through performing tasks during Intermissions and feeding the team well. Once Hero Mode is active it will last for five turns. While Hero Mode can be reserved by seating a child out of the frontline, it cannot be carried over between Intermissions.

In Intermissions, you can talk with teammates & explore the Taranis

Intermissions

When the player isn't in battle, the game enters an Intermission where one can interact with teammates to increase affinities, go scrap fishing, farm food & materials, embark on expeditions, cook, etc.. Each Intermission features 20 AP which is expended in differing amounts depending on which activities the player chooses to do. Once all of the player's AP is depleted, they must move the Taranis forward and head back into battle. AP will fully replenish in the next Intermission.

The most important feature of Intermissions is the notebook, which contains all the tasks and chores the children on board want to perform as well as specific food they want to eat. Fulfilling requests will increase moods with doing laundry specifically being more Affinity-centric. Those who are injured will almost always request sleep and children who are suffering depression can be cured via pep-talk, which also increases Affinity tremendously.

A rare event that can occur during Intermissions is named "Secret Garden". There is no known way to manually activate the event and seems entirely reliant on RNG. When a child can trigger this event, the notebook will have their request as "..." and feature the Hero Mode's red cat mood icon (they can also be seen visibly sweating). The player can then take control of the child in this state and guide them up to the very top of the Taranis which will have a swan potty training toilet, which upon interacting with it will play a vaguely shot clip of them more than likely urinating. There is absolutely no known benefit to this and every child's Secret Garden clip is saved in the main menu.

Upgrading the Taranis

The Taranis is customizable in many ways. The player can upgrade the tank's weapons, health, and defense with parts found through progressing the game, scrap fishing, and explorations. As the player levels up the machine gun, grenade launcher and cannons, all these weapons will show cosmetic upgrades.

Rooms in the Taranis can also be upgraded such as the bunker, kitchen, and farm. While parts for these facets can be found throughout Gasco, they are most commonly found in Explorations and bartering.

Explorations

Explorations are special events that can be both found in set areas throughout Gasco and revisited through the Taranis's observation room at the cost of AP. These events put the player's three chosen children into a side-scrolling mini dungeon full of treasures, traps, and insects. Each dungeon type has three different difficulty levels with each becoming more puzzling. The goal is to grab all available treasure and unlock the large treasure chest without losing all three children.

Soul Cannon

Fuga is difficult to play by design, pitting the player against tough decision making. Losing in a battle will reset the player back to either during or right after the last Intermission. If the player does not want to regress back to the last save point while in a pinch during a major boss battle, they can choose to fire the Soul Cannon. Using this ability will cause an immense amount of damage against your enemy at the cost of a child's life. Sacrifice is the only way to utilize the Taranis's super weapon and use of it will slightly affect the game's ending.

DLC

Fuga features two main DLC-exclusive features - costumes and the Soul Cannon dummy.

The dummy is exclusive to the game's Deluxe Edition (including the separate package version). It can be used in place of a child to fire the Soul Cannon and is replenished for every boss battle.

Costumes are the current ongoing form of DLC and can be changed at any time from the settings menu. The first set is exclusive to the Deluxe Edition and features swim wear for the entire crew. On Jan. 20th, 2022, a Japanese school-themed set was released. The second one, a Samurai-themed set was released in Mar. 24th, 2022. The last costume set pack, a fantasy theme one will release in May 26, 2022.

Development

The conceptualization of Fuga was nearly solidified in just about an hour during a meeting within CyberConnect2. It was immediately decided that the game should be made on a much lower scale than their typical work with Bandai Namco, with this new title featuring side-scrolling and an RPG system akin to classics such as Final Fantasy & Dragon Quest. The concept of children manning a large tank and being put into the mercy of the Soul Cannon was also concrete during this time. The setting taking place in the world of Little Tail Bronx was decided near the end of this meeting.[2]

Fuga was first publicly announced in March 2019 as part of CC2's self-publishing initiative titled "Trilogy of Vengeance", being developed alongside Tokyo Ogre Gate & Cecile. All three games were conceived under the company's "NEXT PLAN" agenda, which aims to have CC2 develop self-published titles for the next decade.[3] Fuga is the first of all three games to release, with it being the biggest priority within the company.

The game was originally slated for a late 2019 release before being pushed into early 2020. While the COVID-19 pandemic served as a factor to the game being pushed even further back into 2021, the true reason for these delays was due to constant revisions to the game and inexperience.[4][5] A physical release was planned for Fuga back in 2019 as there was a significant demand for one from fans.[6] This plan, however, had fallen flat as CC2 would later announce that the game would be a digital-only release.[7]

According to CC2, Fuga, despite being set in the same world of Little Tail Bronx as Tail Concerto and Solatorobo, has no connection with the latter two. It is a completely new work that is independent and complete by itself, so newcomers can play it without knowing any of the lore from the previous games.[8] Fuga still makes fairly frequent references to Solatorobo despite this claim.

Fuga's development time & cost amounted to a total of 3 years and ¥327M. Despite CC2's best efforts to get the game around via word-of-mouth, it has yet to even break half of the total budget, with only ¥120M being made after three months of the game's release.[9]

Development Images

Soundtrack

The main theme to Fuga, titled "Flower on the Trails", is composed by LieN, making their return to the Little Tail Bronx series since Little Tail Story. They also composed the game's ending theme "Memories of the Earth and Skies".

The soundtrack will see an official physical release on April 30th, 2022. It will consist of two volumes and will be available on Amazon JP, Kemoket, and CC2's international storefront.[10]

Spin-Offs

In an effort to promote Fuga before the game's release, CC2 had begun uploading animated comic shorts for the Fuga: Comedies of Steel series. The shorts, while considered their own entity, still link back to the game's story by providing insight to the characters' personalities. It also provides a more positive outlook into the bleak world the main story is set in.

A manga under the same title as the game was teased back in August 10th, 2021 that featured sketches of the main characters drawn by mangaka Takafumi Adachi. Later that year on December 13th, the manga would have its first chapter published for free viewing under Famitsu. The manga, initially, retells the main story of the original game, only to shift perspective to a mysterious being, who calls themselves the "Maestro", who presents Fuga as if it were a musical performance, revealing that the story diverts from the original plot.

Credits

Artists

  • Tokitsu Yusuke (Lead Artist, Character Design, Profile Art, Background Art, Mechanical Parts/Tanks/Etc.)
  • Itsuki Hoshi (2D Graphic Artist)
  • Nobuteru Yūki (Promotional Art & Title Screen)

Guest Artists

WARNING - Artists who create suggestive works are marked with "❗"

Gallery

Concept Art

Trivia

  • Many of the guests artists who created the game's end cards were previous guests in the Kemono Project's Kemono Magazine and/or have worked with CC2 previously on other projects.
  • As with Tail Concerto and Solatorobo, Fuga continues the trend of using a fictitious language in its main theme song. Though this marks the first time that the same phrase is reused in a new title.
  • Fuga, or "fugue" in its original Japanese title, is in reference to a musical fugue, a writing technique where one voice is imitated by others within a song. The concept of one following or chasing another in this musical technique ties into the gameplay and story symbolically.
  • In past titles, the names of most of the lead & supporting casts would come from French pastries and other foods of the same origin. Fuga's cast of characters have a wider range of name origins, many being German, Hungarian, and Italian while still retaining French inspiration. This suits the game as the overall story is based off of World War 2.
  • The game was to feature much more varied expressions and animations with the children's 3D models, however it seems that many of these got scrapped.
    • This includes a small series of unfinished animations that were intended to be used for children chosen to sacrifice themselves to the Soul Cannon. They would be shown anticipating the event and then walking down towards the chamber.
  • A series of removed intermission wishes show that the children would have been able to manage different sorts of laundry and want to read comics.
  • The library was originally going to feature the game's soundtrack much like Solatorobo.

References

External Links

Official Website (Japanese)
Official Website
Official Twitter (Japanese)
Official Twitter
Steam Page
eShop Page
eShop Page (Japanese)
Microsoft Store Page
Microsoft Store Page (Japanese)
PlayStation Store Page
PlayStation Store Page (Japanese)
Epic Games Store Page
Epic Games Store Page (Japanese)

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