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SEGA Astro Mini V review | Egret Mini II has serious competition

From Batsugun and Out Zone, to Truxton and Armed Police Batrider, the SEGA Astro City Mini V is packed full of vertical goodness

SEGA Astro Mini V

£229 View Deal

Launching with a vertical screen that’s ideal for shoot-em-ups, the SEGA Astro Mini V contains 22 games, including Raiden, Batsugun and Gunbird.

What we love

  • Superb selection of vertical shoot-em-ups
  • SEGA games joined by Toaplan and Psikyo releases
  • Excellent build quality
  • Vertical display perfect for the games line-up
  • Ability to play titles on TV via bundled HDMI cable

What we don’t

  • Maybe a bit too small to play comfortably
  • Comes with a USB cable, but no plug
  • Fewer games than rival miniatures
  • Varying reports of lag
  • UK version is pretty expensive

SEGA Astro Mini V Review…

The original Astro City Mini is a wonderfully authentic miniature gaming machine with some fantastic titles from SEGA’s enormous library of arcade gems. While not every game is a stone cold classic, the likes of Shinobi, Shadow Dancer, Space Harrier and Thunder Force are excellent examples of why SEGA is held in such high regard. Even more exciting is that it contains the very first home port of Golden Axe – The Revenge Of Death Adder, which is a must-play for fans of the fantasy beat-em-up franchise. Newly released in the UK and Europe, the Astro City Mini V is a follow-up to SEGA’s original pint-sized arcade machine. More than just a straightforward successor, however, the Astro City Mini V contains one or two features that are sure to please fans of the shoot-em-up genre. Read our review to find out more.


Unlike the original Astro City Mini – with its 3.9-inch screen and bizarre insistence on displaying games in widescreen – the Astro City Mini V contains a 4.6-inch vertical LCD monitor.

The screen orientation is tailor-made for vertically-scrolling games where the action goes up and down instead of side-to-side.

Because of this, the vast majority of the Astro City Mini V’s games library is made up of vertical arcade shooters.

Despite the device itself standing at roughly the same height and width as the original Astro City Mini, the use of the proper aspect ratio makes the V feel much bigger in comparison. 

While the widescreen original only uses a fraction of the overall display, the games on the Astro Mini V utilise the entire screen. It’s not as big as the Egret Mini II, but you won’t need to squint to make out what’s going on.

The display (and how SEGA utilises the space) is a big tick in the win column for the Astro City Mini V.

The image below shows vertical shoot-em-up Sonic Boom on the original SEGA Astro City Mini (left), compared to vertical shooter Sonic Wings on the Astro City Mini V (right). The difference is huge. You can barely see what’s happening in Sonic Boom, while Sonic Wings takes up the entire screen. The Mini V is how vertical shmups are supposed to be played.

The other big difference between the Astro City Mini V and its predecessor is that the games aren’t all SEGA originals.

In fact, the best games on the system are from developers like Toaplan, Raizing and Psikyo.

If you read my recent Toaplan Shoot ‘Em Up Bundle Vol. 1 review, then you’ll remember how much I enjoyed vertical space shooter Truxton, as well as run-and-gun action game Out Zone. 

Not only are both of the aforementioned games playable on the Astro City Mini V, but SEGA’s mini arcade also contains Toaplan hits such as Truxton 2, Grind Stormer, Dogyuun, Fire Shark and the excellent Batsugun. Hugely influential, many fans of the genre believe that Batsugun is the finest Toaplan game ever made. I’m certainly yet to play a better one.

There are also some headline-grabbing games from developer Raizing, including Kingdom Grand Prix, Armed Police Batrider, and Battle Bakraid Unlimited.

Elsewhere, you’ve got highly-respected shooters like the original Raiden, as well as solid Psikyo efforts such as Strikers 1945, Gunbird and Samurai Aces. (It’s just a shame there’s no room for Gunbird 2.)

The downside, however, is that the Astro City Mini V only contains 22 games, compared to 37 for the original Astro Mini, and 40 for the Taito Egret Mini II.

On the plus side, while the Astro City Mini V contains fewer games than the competition, there aren’t really any stinkers.

Interestingly, it’s the SEGA games that are arguably the weakest of the bunch, even if none of them are outright terrible.

SEGA’s Action Fighter and Desert Breaker are fun to play, just not quite on par with many of the other games featured on the system.

I’ve never particularly enjoyed Wrestle War, but I had a much better time with the Astro City Mini V release, especially compared to the old Mega Drive version. This is the sort of game that really benefits from that vertical display.

Outside of the games list and the vertical screen, the Astro City Mini V looks and feels a lot like the original. The back of the device is identical, right down to the headphone jack, as well as USB and HDMI ports for plugging in accessories and playing on the TV.

The build quality is superb, featuring outstanding components that do justice to the Astro City brand. 

The biggest drawback is that the Astro City Mini is a bit on the small side, to the extent that people with bigger hands might struggle with the button spacing.

For a more comfortable experience, customers can pick up the officially branded arcade stick and controller that launched alongside the original Astro City Mini, although this is a somewhat costly solution.

Speaking of cost, the Astro City Mini V is currently listed at £229 on Amazon, making it one of the more expensive miniatures on the market.

The fact that it costs so much makes it even more annoying that it comes with a power cable, but not a dedicated AC adaptor. If you don’t want an ultra-laggy experience (and more on that below), you’ll need an AC adaptor with a USB Type-A connection and a power outlet of 5V/2.0A or higher. 

They’re pretty common in the UK (I used my old iPhone adaptor and it works perfectly), but it would have been better if one was included in the box, just to avoid any confusion. 

SEGA Astro Mini V

£229 View Deal

Launching with a vertical screen that’s ideal for shoot-em-ups, the SEGA Astro Mini V contains 22 games, including Raiden, Batsugun and Gunbird.

While the Astro City Mini V is far from perfect, the ability to play some of the greatest (and rarest) shooters in their true form is a massive selling point.

Yes, the price tag is a little steep, and the size might be too small for some, but the build quality and overall look and feel of the device makes it easier to overlook these flaws.

This is especially true if you’re a fan of vertical shoot-em-ups. When it comes to shooters of the vertical variety, the Astro City Mini V is an absolute treasure trove, featuring games that don’t appear in every run-of-the-mill retro gaming compilation.

From Batsugun and Out Zone, to Truxton and Armed Police Batrider, the SEGA Astro City Mini V is packed full of vertical goodness.


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