Arcana Heart 3

The third entry in Examu's signature all-girl fighting game series, further revamping the gameplay mechanics of its previous games while building up the roster.


Arcana Heart 3 is a 2D contemporary-fantasy fighting game developed and released by Examu for arcades (using the studio's PC-based eX-Board hardware) exclusively in Japan on December 22, 2009.

The sequel to the 2008 game Arcana Heart 2, Arcana Heart 3 revamps the gameplay mechanics of its predecessor (such as combining both Power and Homing gauges to a single "Arcana Gauge") while adding three new playable characters (and three new Arcanas), and adding a beginner-friendly four-button "Simple Mode" option.

Set two months after the "Great Kanto Incident" (during the events of Arcana Heart 2), the story involves a mysterious demonic organization called "The Drexler Institution" and their involvment in more dimensional disturbances throughout the entirety of Japan.

The game received two major updates, both of which were digitally released via NESiCAxLive for the Taito Type X² platform. The first, titled Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!!, was released on May 8, 2013 and added new game modes and new techniques ("Extended Blast" and "Arcana Eclipse"). The second, titled Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX SIX STARS!!!!!!, was released on December 4, 2014 and added a new character and Arcana (Minori Amanohara / Ichor) among other minor fixes.

All three versions of the game received console ports, all adding online multiplayer support and a unique pillarboxing effect (where it shows character animations and other information outside of the standard 4:3 resolution).

  • The original version was releaed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in Japan by Arc System Works on January 13, 2011. In Europe, it was released by both Arc System Works (for the 360) and PQube (for the PS3) on August 19, 2011. In North America, only the PS3 version was released (in digital format only) by Aksys on April 19, 2011.
  • The "LOVE MAX!!!!!" version was released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in Japan (by Arc System Works on May 29, 2014), in North America (by Aksys on September 23, 2014), and in Europe (by NIS America on November 21, 2014. It was later released for the PC worldwide by Arc System Works on September 29, 2015.
  • The "LOVE MAX SIX STARS!!!!!!" version was released for the PC worldwide by Arc System Works on December 12, 2017.


 Arcana Heart 3 is a 5 button fighting game.
Arcana Heart 3 is a 5 button fighting game.

Arcana Heart 3 is 5 button fighting game which, in comparison to other fighting games, is quite different. The main attack buttons being A (Weak) B (Strong) C (Heavy) and E (Arcana). Arcana Heart 3 forgoes links for an A > B > C > E chain system, much like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, making it easier to pull off impressive combos. The D (Homing) button is somewhat unique to Arcana Heart 3 however.

The D button or Homing Dash is used to propel your character towards your opponent, or away if a backward motion is input beforehand. A lot of Arcana Heart 3 is spent zipping around in the air, making this button almost mandatory if you are to catch your opponent, continue a combo or beat a hasty retreat.

There are a couple of special techniques that can also be executed with this button, each costing 1 bar of your Arcana Gauge, these are:

Homing Cancel

The D button can be used to cancel the majority of normal moves, allowing for longer combos.

Backwards/Forwards Guard Cancel

By hitting the D button and either backwards or forwards while in block stun will result in your character quickly dashing away or towards their aggressor with a large shield. Any attacks that hit the shield will cause a clash, momentarily protecting you from its damage.

System Mechanics

Arcana Heart features a number of fight mechanics, some totally unique to it, and some found in other, similar fighting games. This part may be a little confusing at first, as everything has Arcana in or around its name.

Life Gauge

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As with most fighting games, the health of the characters in Arcana Heart 3 is represented with a life gauge. This gauge fades from orange to red as the character takes damage. The smaller notches below are helpful indicators of what % of health the character has remaining.

Arcana Gauge

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The Arcana Gauge is similar to a super bar in most other fighting games, but works very differently. When starting a round, characters will have 1 bar of their Arcana Gauge filled, using supers, special cancels or critical heats will deplete this gauge; causing the green section to turn red. However, unlike most fighting games, this gauge will regenerate over time without the character having to do anything.

To extend the gauge beyond 1 bar, players must have a full green bar and be attacking or being hit by the other player. If there is any red caused by using supers etc. you must wait for the bar to fully recharge to green before it can be extended.

Force Gauge

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The Force Gauge works similarly to Arcana Gauge in that it is always charging. It can only be used once at maximum when it will begin to flash and will recharge dependent on what Arcana you have chosen and how you previously depleted the gauge. This gauge is used for a variety of things; such as Arcana Bursts, Extend Force Activation and Arcana Blaze.


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Your Arcana is the "Pokémon” type creature you pick after choosing a character. They provide your character with unique ways to expend their Force Gauge using Arcana themed special moves. They can also dictate how fast the Force Gauge recharges; the Arcana you picked will be displayed behind the character portrait.

Arcana Burst

Much like the BlazBlueburst; an Arcana Burst is your GET OFF ME move. It’s activated by having a full Force Gauge and pressing the C+E buttons together. Be warned however, this will cause your Force Gauge to recharge incredibly slowly after use.

Extend Force Activation

Extend Force Activation is activated by pressing the A+B+C buttons; doing so will power up your character for a short period of time, improving either their attack or defense and activating Arcana specific abilities. Extend Force Activation will also cancel the characters current animation when on the ground, allowing for extended combos.

Arcana Blaze

During Extend Force Activation you gain the ability to use Arcana Blaze. This is a very powerful attack based on which Arcana you picked. It’s activated by inputting 236 A+B+C.

Critical Heat

This is the characters ultimate move, dishing out a lot of damage. Critical Heats can only be used when a character has 3 bars of Arcana Gauge, the input and situational requirements for these moves vary on a per character basis. Critical Heats are also influenced by the activation of Extend Force, allowing them to do even more damage.


New Additions

  • Scharlachrot (sub-boss, playable with a cheat code, unlocked from the start in later versions)

Returning Characters


New Additions

  • Gottfried, Spirit of Tyr - Default for Weiß.
  • Saligrama, Arcana of Luck - Default for Eko.
  • Baldur, Spirit of Fenrir - Default for Scharlachrot. Playable with a cheat code, unlocked from the start in later versions.
  • Ichor, Arcana of Blood - Default for Minori. Added in "LOVE MAX SIX STARS!!!!!".

Returning Arcanas

  • Partinias, Arcana of Love - Default for Heart.
  • Bhanri, Arcana of Lightning - Default for Saki.
  • Dieu Mort, Arcana of Death - Default for Yoriko.
  • Ohtsuchi, Arcana of Earth - Default for Maori.
  • Tempestas, Arcana of Wind - Default for Lilica.
  • Anutpada, Arcana of Time - Default for Kamui.
  • Lang-gong, Arcana of Fire - Default for Mei-Fang.
  • Moriomoto, Arcana of Nature - Default for Konoha.
  • Niptra, Arcana of Water - Default for Kira.
  • Gier, Arcana of Darkness - Default for Lieselotte.
  • Orichalkos, Arcana of Metal - Default for Fiona.
  • Zilrael, Arcana of the Holy - Default for Petra.
  • Almacia, Arcana of Ice - Default for Zenia.
  • Koshmar, Arcana of Retribution - Default for Elsa.
  • Sorwat, Arcana of Sin - Default for Clarice.
  • Medein, Arcana of Magnetism - Default for Catherine.
  • Heliogabalus, Arcana of Mirror - Default for Dorothy.
  • Phenex, Arcana of Sound - Default for Akane.
  • Kayatsuhime, Arcana of Flower - Default for Nazuna.
  • Mildred, Arcana of Halo - Default for Angelia.


ArcanaPassiveExtend Force
DarkAbility to turn opponent into Dark slime for 60 seconds.Faster Arcana specific attacks.
EarthGuard point on charged E moves.Hyper-armor, slowed movement, no block.
EvilCharged E moves poison the opponent.Normal moves poison the opponent.
FenrirCharged E moves cannot clash.Baldur takes up residence on the screen.
FireCharged E moves become un-blockable.Extra damage on normal attacks.
FlowerCharged E moves deplete enemy arcana gauge. Invalidates counter hits.All plants on stage level up.
HaloCharged E moves summon Mildred. Increases jump height.Mildred takes up residence on the screen.
IceCharged E moves slow opponent. Faster forward step.Normal moves freeze the opponent.
LoveCharging E moves reflects attacks. Slower fall speed.Ability to cancel super moves.
LuckRandom effects including the ability to nullify KO hit.Passive abilities increased.
MagnetismCharged E moves draw opponents in. Faster fall speed.Continually pulls opponent in.
MetalCharged E moves do more damage. Arcana gauge must be charged manually.Increases Metal's level by 1.
MirrorCharged E moves cause a mirror image to attack.Player becomes harder to see.
PlantE moves restore health.Gain health while Extend Force is active.
PunishmentCharged E moves cause hit stun.Attack and Defense increase. More special hits.
SacredReduces E move charge time. Ability to regain health.Ability to regain health.
SinCharged E moves become projectiles, but cause damage to you.Lower health increases attack.
ThunderCharged E moves have full body clash. Forward step will clash.Every action will now cause clash.
Time-SpaceCharged E moves cause a double that allows you to attack opponent on command.Double speed.
ToneCharged E moves cause a cannon to take up residence on the screen.Cannon will appear for all attacks.
TyrE move charge time decreased.Extend Force time increased.
WaterE moves block/hit stun increased. Nullifies chip damage.All moves cause increased block/hit stun.
WindIncreases number of air movements by 1.Ability to cancel moves with air dash.

Special Editions


 JP Limited Edition
JP Limited Edition

Standard Edition: 6,680 ¥

Limited Edition: 19,800 ¥

  • Game disc.
  • 24 lapel pins.
  • Collection of art cells.


 EU Limited Edition
EU Limited Edition

Standard Edition: 30 €

Limited Edition: 36 €

  • Game disc.
  • 144 page art book.
  • Official Arcana Heart soundtrack.
  • 12 Arcana and character guide cards.