Review: Bakugan Battle Brawlers

on October 23, 2009 4:53 AM

Before I get into the review let me just explain the game objectively. You begin the game by entering your name and choosing an attribute. These attributes include being fire, water and dark, almost like any strategy game I suppose. You are then recommended to take a tutorial to learn the game and then you can jump right into the story. The story is about a boy (you) wanting to become a battle brawler, and so he begins his journey. There is a menu of four different places you can go when you are in story mode. There is your house which is for options and stuff. You can battle through the tournaments to rank up. You can go to the park to battle random people (who tie in with the story) and you build up more strength and BP (Bakugan Points). And you can buy more cards and Bakugan from the store with your BP. The matches in the game are won when you have won three of the cards placed on the field by battling for them, or by landing two of your Bakugan on one card. There are one vs. one matches, tag-team matches, and battle royale matches.

Think the game sounds good? On paper it sounds decent. But the game to me was repetitive, bland and stale. The biggest gripe I have with the game is that it doesn’t have a true overworld. It would have been nice to have something to tie everything together, rather than have the whole game go from menu to cutscene to match, then cutscene to match, then cutscene to match, over and over. Additionally, the matches are far too flashly and not very fun. Let me compare this to something like… Street Fighter IV. You know those super moves that kind of go into a mini-cutscene? Now imagine every little thing you do triggered one of those cutscenes. Mildly cool at first, really annoying the 50th time around. That is how Bakugan Battle Brawlers’ matches work. The little cutscenes are skippable, but man there are so many throughout a single match… I felt like I was pressing start throughout the game more than I was actually playing.

The only time you actually feel like you are playing a game is when you throw your Bakugan, and the small mini-game that happens when two opposing Bakugan land on the same card. You throw your Bakugan by flicking the stylus and control your balled up Bakugan by rubbing it along with the bottom screen. The mini-game that occurs when two Bakugan from opposing teams is the highlight of the game, which is sad because they last about 15 seconds. There are 6 different mini-games and they range from tracing, rubbing, and tapping better than your opponent.

The strategy in the game is almost non-existent. Each monster has a G-force which gets higher as you level up, and temporarily boosted depending on what kind of attributes you are using, what kind of monsters you are using, along with what cards you use for the field, what kind of field your on, and what cards are used during the mini-game. The strategy is to make sure you have more G-force than your opponent to get a better advantage during one of the mini-game sessions. Sounds complicated, but all this really didn’t matter for me, because no matter how much of a disadvantage I had during a battle, I traced, rubbed, and tapped way better than the computer. I guess facing real people should be more fun than single player. Only towards the end of the game did I really find myself with much trouble winning matches. No that’s a lie, because something else stopped me from winning a few times. Your computer partner during tag-team matches does not know what he is doing, and it’s really frustrating. That’s all I’m going to say.

How about the sound in the game? The music didn’t bother me nor wow me, so I guess it’s okay. More voice-over would have been nice. Graphics were a bit choppy, but I saw everything quite clearly so that’s really all that matters. Is this a good game? Not when there is such a great library of games available now on DS. This would have been okay as a first generation DS game, but being an okay game now, this late in the system’s life cycle isn’t going to cut it. Along with nothing fresh to offer this game is very easily passable.

  • Title: Bakugan Battle Brawlers
  • Platform Reviewed: Nintendo DS
  • Developer: NOW Production
  • Publisher: Activision
  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Release Date: October 20, 2009
  • Review Copy Info:This Review Copy was sent to DualShockers Inc by/or on the behalf of the Publisher/Developer for Reviewing Purposes
 /  Community Manager & Editor
Working on the DualShockers staff as both an editor and community manager since late 2009, François is absolutely no stranger to the videogame industry. He is a graduate from the City College of New York, and has his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising. His next step is to obtain his Master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before starting his career, François has been gaming since the age of 2 with Super Mario World, and he has never looked back since. Gaming may be his profession, but it has always been his passion.