Review – Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

Bakugan was always one of the more wild tabletop games available. Being a mix of actual figures and a card game, it’s not too hard to tell why it never exactly took off in the west. The actual show was a different story though, and the idea lent itself nicely to video games. Now, for the first time in nearly ten years, the games have received a new iteration to go a long with the newer version of the anime, Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia.

Champions of Vestroia is a bit different than someone familiar with the series may expect. You still have a team, you toss out little balls that summon large creatures, and they still fight. The actual gameplay though, is out of the ordinary. In order to fight, you need to run around the battlefield collecting glowing tiles. These tiles vary in potency and how much they charge up your attacks. All attacks need to be charged up to a certain point to be able to be used, stronger attacks obviously need more charge than weaker ones.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

The loading times aren’t the issue, its how boring this loading screen is.

Your team consists of three Bakugan. Usually received for winning battles or finishing quests. Each time you win a battle, your Bakugan earn experience and after a certain level, they can evolve. Kind of like Pok√©mon. Each Bakugan has a colour associated with it, red, green, blue, light blue, or purple. The different colours are strong or weak against others, but it’s not a simple red is good to green, green is good to blue, etc.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

Most, if not all, Bakugan are available reskinned in every colour.

The overworld is a bit larger than expected, with a variety of areas opening as you progress the story. With the game being semi-open world, there’s quite a bit to explore, side quests to do, and people to battle. Although, the battles can get a little bit repetitive if that’s all you’re doing. Which for the first few hours of the game, it is pretty much all you will be doing.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

Hi Dan, you pop up at the most inopportune times, please go away. I’ll figure out how to play on my own.

Surprisingly, the online multiplayer is actually quite smooth and definitely more difficult than the base game. While against the AI, you can read their movements and steal their tiles. This tends to just make them stop dead in their tracks for a moment. Against a human player though, it’s harder to predict how they will move or how they will choose to fight, making this a pretty fun game to play against your friends for a few rounds.

One of the more dynamic stages with cars in the background.

The art style of the anime lends itself well to the game, and the more simplistic design means even on Switch it looks pretty nice. The main issue here though, is the fact that there is a huge lack in arenas to battle in. Very quickly, it gets pretty boring seeing the same background over and over again simply based on where you are on the map.

The music in Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is pretty well on par with the anime as well. Using a lot of similar music between the two makes it feel like home to anyone who may keep up with the show. The Bakugan themselves don’t exactly sound menacing though. More like someone yelling with a bunch of filters layered on top. Plus, the game features little to no cutscenes, so it’s hard to really care about the story without wanting to fall asleep from all the reading.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is a pretty enjoyable few hours and certainly fun with friends. Just make sure they’re around the same area as you since you use your single player team to fight them. It’s not a massively long game if you just aim to play the main missions, but if you’re in it to tackle everything, you’ll add a fair bit of playtime.

 

Graphics: 7.0

The anime style lends itself nicely to the almost Kaiju style of battles that are happening at all times.

Gameplay: 5.0

Simple and easy to master battles are fun, but become more and more repetitive as the game progresses.

Sound: 3.0

The music is good, but the distinct lack of voice acting is an odd choice when this is a series focused around its characters relationship with what are essentially aliens.

Fun Factor: 5.5

All around fairly fun and definitely a game that lends itself more to playing against friends. The single player is a good way to get the hang of the game, while the multiplayer is the real star.

Final Verdict: 5.5

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is available now on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia was provided by the publisher.