Game Guys review - BeyBlade: Evolution

7:46 PM, Nov 7, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'BeyBlade: Evolution', a Nintendo 3DS game published by D3 Publisher within the Americas.
  • 'BeyBlade: Evolution', a Nintendo 3DS game published by D3 Publisher within the Americas.

BeyBlade is one of those animes and toy lines that's quite popular with the tween crowd these days - tweenage boys, to be exact.  With its (literal) rip-roaring action, it's no wonder.  Rising Star Games has taken the battle tops product and turned it into a video game for the Nintendo 3DS and while it's mediocre overall, BeyBlade fans should be happy with it.

The player takes the role of a novice Bey enthusiast who, after being greeted and shown the ropes by series mainstay Blader DJ, soon finds himself at the doors of the Bey Arena to take part in a series of tournaments with the intent of becoming a Bey master.  Win the tournament and you'll receive Bey Points (BP) with which you can buy new parts for your Bey battle top.  Lose, and you'll receive some parting words.

In short, that sums up the bulk of any sort of cohesive plot this game may have.  Progressing through side battles and minigames along the way, players compete in one-on-one tournament battles to earn more and more important titles.  Like life, however, these battles can be quite unforgiving.  Lose and you're out.  There are no retries.  Win or lose, you're only as good as your last match and that's the track record that will define your in-game career.

Gameplay-wise, BeyBlade: Evolution is very much a virtual form of the real-life battle tops tabletop game.  Presented in a first-person perspective from the player's point of view, players yank their 3DS as if pulling their top's (Bey's) rip cord and the Bey flies into the concave ring along with his opponent's.  As the two competing Beys bounce off one another one of two things occur: either one gets jettisoned out of the arena or it loses momentum and falls over as a de facto forfeit.  Thankfully, being a video game, there is a bit more to it than that.

During the frey, the player (and the AI opponent) can infuse an extra bit of fighting spirit into the Bey.  The 3DS' lower screen shows the player's Spirit charge and (once filled) the player is able to literally shoot a burst of spirit at his Bey.  It's tricky and the player's aim must be just right, but it gives the affected Bey a great advantage in battle.  Unfortunately, this is the only active way of manipulating the in-arena action and the aiming mechanic feels half-baked.

Outside of the one-on-one battles, a good draw is the actual construction of Beys.  Offering a level of customization that those who play the real-life game should appreciate, players can spend a lot of time swapping out one Bey piece for another in an attempt to build a Bey worthy of legend.  There are also the aforementioned mini games, but they prove little more than a distraction from the main action.

BeyBlade: Evolution's visuals are a two-sided affair.  Outside of battles things are very manga-ish and do a well-enough job of conveying sights and characters associated with the anime.  Inside of battles things are quite plain.  Thankfully this is one of those titles that really benefits from the 3DS' 3D capabilities as it adds depth to an otherwise flat and mildly disappointing presentation.  Of course, due to the fact that the 3DS does need to be tilted and moved around to aim Spirit infusions, the 3D gets in the way and can really mess with the player's eyes.

The game's soundtrack is dated, to put it simply.  In spirit and tempo it works very well for the game, but it sounds like something one might hear in a late-era GBA or early-era DS game.  Likewise, the "clicking" sound that Beys make when coming into contact with one another during battles is lackluster.  It might be true to the sound made from the real-life toys, but the developers missed an opportunity to make them sound "cool" in this video game.

When it comes down to it, Rising Star Games' BeyBlade: Evolution can be summed up with the phrase "It's okay."  The game isn't great.  It isn't good.  It's just okay - and that's alright.  Games are allowed to be simply okay.  Lucky for the developer and publisher BeyBlade itself has a good following and BeyBlade: Evolution should appease the majority of the franchise's fans.

14/25 16/25 12/25 20/25 23/25 73/100

Version tested: 3DS

(Rising Star Games supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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