TGS 2023: Hands-On With ‘Toaplan Amusement Arcade’

One of the things I wanted to make sure I tried out at the Tokyo Game Show this year was a recently announced app from Tatsujin, the company that currently holds the rights to the Toaplan catalog of games. While the company name might not be familiar to you, gamers of a certain age will certainly remember hits like Tiger-Heli, Twin Cobra, Snow Bros., and Truxton. Tatsujin has been licensing out Toaplan’s games to a variety of products but has also recently been taking the initiative to develop its own releases. One such is the mobile app Toaplan Amusement Arcade.

Toaplan Amusement Arcade is essentially your one-stop shop for just about all of Toaplan’s games. And I really do mean just about all of them. Everything from 1985’s Tiger-Heli to 1994’s Snow Bros. 2 is in the app, with twenty five games in total on offer. The app comes with Tatsujin/Truxton playable for free, with limited demos of five other games. Each game is purchasable a la carte, and you’ll naturally not have to deal with ads or anything of the sort. If you like shoot-em-ups, this app might be a little slice of heaven for you.

Well, the app was fully available to play on the floor of the Tokyo Game Show, so why not give it a go? And that’s just what I did in the video you can see here. I tried out Twin Cobra, which I kept calling Tiger-Heli. Don’t mind me, I was very hot and tired. Also, I was completely terrible at the game. I tried out a few more games off-camera, and what I will say is that at this point, the emulation wasn’t exactly perfect. Some of the more demanding titles like Batsugun had some noticeable frame skipping among other issues, and I’m hoping that is just a consequence of the app not being finished yet.

Assuming the technical issues are taken care of, this is going to be a must-have for arcade fans. Being able to pick and choose the games you want, buy them for a fair price, and play them without any added nonsense, complete with controller support for those who want it, is a beautiful thing in the current year. There are no specific details on when we can expect to see Toaplan Amusement Arcade released, but if nothing else its full English support in the present build suggests to me that it will probably hit the App Stores globally when it does come. You can be sure I’ll be there with bells on when it does release, as I’ve spent a heck of a lot of money to have these games in various other forms and I’m prepared to spend even more to have them on my iPhone without weird hacks thrown in to monetize them.

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