Before playing Bakugan: Battle Brawlers, I had no idea what Bakugan was. I then learnt what it was and tried to forget all about it. I’m not a fan of generic anime card games. I enjoyed Pokemon as a kid more for the TV show and games than the “collecting all the cards” business, I just never got anything out of it. Bakugan is pretty much exactly the same except you get to throw special marbles at the cards. Sound exciting? You might like this game. Sounds like your idea of hell? Stay as far away from this as possible.
The Bakugan in the title are small marble sized balls that, when touched, the magnetic “Gate Cards” pop open to reveal the Bakugan inside. The aim of the game is to use your Bakugan to fight for the right to own the Gate Card. The first person to gain three Gate Cards is the winner. There are some more rules to it but, in all honesty, I was too bored to care.To fight for the Gate Cards each Bakugan has a separate amount of attack to each one. Depending on what the attributes of the Gate Card your Bakugan landed on, the card itself can help to raise the attack rating of your specific Bakugan.
The transition from table top to video game is relatively simple. To throw your Bakugan, you take part in a golf style shooting mechanic, in which you pick where you want your ball to go and then get the right amount of power you want. Once your Bakugan has been thrown, you can control where the ball rolls. This is extremely useful if you want to collect more power-ups to raise your attack rating or if you miss a card and want to roll back to it. When your opponent has thrown their Bakugan, you have the chance to shoot at it to either slow it down or steer it off course so it doesn’t reach the card they want.
Once all the Bakugans are in place, with one of your Bakugans and an enemy one on the same Gate Card, now comes the battling. I wish this was more exciting but it just isn’t. The game calculates the overall attack rating of your Bakugan, after taking into account the card the Bakugan is on and any extra boosts placed on it. Just to add a little more “fun” to the proceedings, to boost your attack rating even more, you get to take part in one of three mini-games. The first of these is the shooting mini-game in which you must “shoot” your Bakugan’s attribute symbol (which I had no clue as to what it was until the third battle). The second is a timing game in which you must press the buttons in time to what happens on screen. The last simply involves you waggling the thumbstick. That’s it. If you want variety, this is the last place you’ll find it. It managed to make the more exciting part of these types of games dull and repetitive. By about game 6 I just gave up, switched off my console and went to do something more productive to cleanse my mind.
The main focus of the game is the story mode, which is essentially just a bunch of skirmishes where you can upgrade and swap your Bakugan around. There is a very weak, flimsy story that I didn’t really care about and I spent as little time as possible upgrading my characters because the menu is so ridiculously complicated to navigate.
Now Productions definitely know their fan base. Unfortunately for them, it’s definitely not people like me. Fans of the Bakugan series can find a lot to love here. Characters from the series pop up here and there and it stays pretty faithful to the series. If I’ve learnt one thing from this game however, is that I’m too old for this stuff. The market is pretty saturated with all these collect ’em all games and it’s just become a sea of crap. Bakugan: Battle Brawlers is yet another addition to this sea of crap, floating along like a dead fish, rent if you really have to.