Review

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is competitive, yet accessible to new players

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is the latest action-RPG based on the hit toy and anime series. The game is being developed by WayForward and published by WB Games. Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia will be the first game of the franchise to debut on Nintendo Switch.

For the uninitiated, the Bakugan IP has a rich history as a toy and trading card game from SEGA Toys and Spin Master. It spun off into a Japanese-Canadian anime in the early 2000s. Bakugan: Battle Brawlers was the last mainline game, which released in 2008.

However, Bakugan has been met with a bit of a resurgence, with the Bakugan: Battle Planet anime debuting in 2018.

An accessible look into the world of Bakugan

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is a spin-off from the new anime, but features an original story. Set in its own city, players will create their own unique character and set off on a journey to become a Bakugan Brawler.

Taking inspiration from TSM’s anime, WayForward has adapted models from the series. Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia maintains the cell-shaded animation fans of the series with be sure to recognize. However, the game isn’t only for the die-hard fans. WayForward has developed this game to be an entry point to the Bakugan universe.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is meant to be accessible to players of all ages. As your character, you will be introduced to the wild world of giant battling monsters. The studio promises to ease players into the universe, Bakugans, and battle mechanics. The game is described as an “RPG-lite”, and focuses on melding turn-based action with real-time mechanics.

Bakugan is played in head-to-head battles akin to Pokémon . In the middle of the battle, each player’s Bakugan will face against the other. On the sidelines, the player runs along the field and collects Energy Cores to power their Bakugan. Once powered, the player can command their Bakugan to attack using the corresponding face buttons on the Nintendo Switch.

Building your team of Bakugans

Throughout the campaign, players will build a team of three Bakugan. Each Bakugan has their own unique abilities. These abilities are broken into categories such as damage, healing, shielding, etc. At its core, the systems at play are pulled directly from the Bakugan universe.

The game introduces five factions which can be attributed to each Bakugan. Factions are the basis of building out a team. Each Faction is strong against two other Factions, while weak against one. It become important to create balanced teams and switch between Bakugans during battles to gain the advantage.

Along the way, players can find and befriend additional Bakugan and train them as a part of the team. Each Bakugan can level up, and levelling will help them become more powerful as you progress through the story. As your character unlocks new abilities, they can offer buffs to their Bakugan to assist them in battle.

Tournaments and exploration

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia features a full tournament to play through in the campaign. To become the best Bakugan Brawler, players work their way up the ranks. However, tournament battles aren’t the only focal point in the campaign. As the story progresses, a more sinister threat emmerges.

It has been estimated that a playthrough of the campaign will run around 20-30 hours with another 20 hours to 100% the game.

Familiar faces from Bakugan – such as the Awesome Brawlers – will be featured alongside other characters. In total, Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia will feature 17 fan-favourite Bakugan including Trox, Dragonoid, and Pegatrix. Additionally, Leonidas, another beloved Bakugan, is said to play a critical part in the story.

The campaign is said to be linear, but will feature side quests and some exploration. In each of the city’s districts, items such as clothing, hairstyles, and abilities can be found and purchased. Running around the 3D environments and interacting with the many NPCs will open up options for new missions.

Multiplayer and Competitive

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia will support a full online multiplayer mode. It appears to be ripe for competitive play. As with the core campaign, players will face off in head-to-head battles. All progress and Bakugans transfer over to the multiplayer mode.

The game will feature two multiplayer options, the first being standard online matchmaking. Players queuing up for this mode will be pitted against each-other based on their Bakugan team ranks. The secondary option is to queue into a match against a friend through the Nintendo Switch Online friends list. However, there will not be any local multiplayer support.

If a competitive scene latches on to Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is yet to be seen. However, the game has a lot going on already and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a community blossom based on what has been shown so far.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is set to release exclusively on Nintendo Switch on Nov. 3.

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Steve Vegvari

Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His adoration for everything gaming began very early on in the SNES-era. He’s gone on to write honest content around the web. While not writing about games, Steve is often looking for the next big narrative-driven title. Something with an impactful story, regardless of genre or platform. Bonus points if it has an appealing achievement/trophy list!
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