Bakugan is an action adventure anime created in 2007 that follows the lives of creatures called Bakugan and the brawlers who wield them. NOW Production and Activision hope to capture that magic in Bakugan Battle Brawlers. Is this game worth the fight?
Bakugan Battle Brawlers starts players off with a generic brawler to customize and make their own by selecting a name, choosing a main attribute power, and editing appearance. The customization is not very deep, as it features only preset selections of hair, mouths, clothes and more.
Once the character is created, players are treated to a few cutscenes, and then head into a tutorial battle with the help of Dan, one of the famous Battle Brawlers. After the battle and a trip from the shop to the park, player find a major Bakugan, Lionides. This little guy has somehow fallen into this world and decides to join forces so that he can defeat all the Bakugan.
Bakugans come in 6 different attributes: Pyrus, Ventus, Aquos, Darkus, Haos, and Subterra. The same Bakugan is available in each attribute, so players must decide what type of Bakugan and attributes they need for each battle. The Bakugans acquired through the shop can also be upgrade, giving them a boost to Speed, G-Power (health) and 4 other categories. There are also 6 different colors of cards, and each color gives different boosts, like added G-Power or rule changes.
In battle, each player stars with a deck of 5 cards and 3 Bakugan. The goal in the battle is to win 3 gate cards, which can be won by defeating a single Bakugan in battle. Players start off by selecting a card to throw down on the ground, and the computer does the same. Next, the player throws down a Bakugan and tries to land it on a card by selecting where to aim, the Bakugan and whether to throw a bouncing or power shot. Once selected, players hold the R2 button down and power up the throw, shaking the PS3 controller forward when they want to throw. Players can then hold R2 and move the controller in a direction to guide the Bakugan onto a card. The controls are not the greatest, and players may have some difficulty moving the Bakugan around the board, but it works for the most part.
To trigger a battle, the player and an opposing enemy must both land on the same card. Here is where the game goes into mini-game mode. Upon entering the battle, the player is given a view of each Bakugan’s G-Power and can choose cards to boost power. Once both sides are ready, a mini-game begins. There are only 3 types of mini-games available: button timing, controller shaking or attribute shooting. All three have different difficulty settings, but it would have been nice to see more variety. During the mini-games, which last for 10 seconds, the player gains more G-Power for doing well. At the end of this 10 seconds, the Bakugan with the most G-Power wins a gate card. Another way to win a gate card is to land two bakugan on the same card.
There are two main modes of battle inside the story line: Park battles and Tournaments. Park battles provide a great way to gain experience, which is used to purchase and upgrade Bakugan, and the Tournaments do the same, though in a more structured format. Inside the park is the option to fight 1 on 1 battles, tag team battles, or a battle royale. The 1 on 1 is what it sounds like, a battle against one computer opponent. The tag team is a battle between two teams of two. The battle royale is a 4 person every-man-for-himself melee. The tournments, which feature the same formats, come along during the game and provide a tiny scrap of story progression, though it really isn’t much.
Speaking of the story, well, there really isn’t much of one. The game really just moves from battle to battle with small bits of talking in between. It would have been nice to have a bit of a story to go along with the game, as without it, the game relies strictly on its combat, which, while the combat is good, there really is not a lot of it. Each battle spends a lot of time building up to the fight, with intros for each Bakugan and a lot of flare around every move. Actual combat is really just mini-game after mini-game.
Overall, the game could have used a bit less presentation during the combat and a bit more in the way of actual combat or more varied mini-games. Having said that though, the game does capture the essence of Bakugan and is still a fun game to play. The game lays a solid foundation for future games, but needs more variety. Fans of the anime series with a spare weekend should give the game a try. Those who do not like card games or Bakugan should pass.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Surprisingly fun gameplay
Not enough variety in the mini-games