Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia – Review

Site Score
5.2
Good: Fairly decent for a younger audience
Bad: Misses finer details, Frame drops, A bit bland
User Score
4.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Bakugan is one of those series that spawned out of the success of Pokémon and Digimon, and tried to do something original with the genre, just like Beyblade tried to do. But if we have to be completely honest, it’s the aforementioned franchises that took home the biggest chunk of followers and of course, revenue. Bakugan was still quite popular and it still achieved its goal of entertaining kids with nice toys and a fun anime-like show. Sadly, it’s only Pokémon that also seems to really entice an adult audience as well, with Digimon following close after. This means that the following game was suspected to be directed towards a younger audience, and this was very much true when playing this Pokémon-clone. While we couldn’t call the following title a champion, it was still a fairly okay experience.

Story

You start off in a very Pokémon fashion choosing the boy or girl character, albeit without actually stating the gender of your choice. You then get thrown in the game at the end of a soccer match, for which you were apparently a top player. Nonetheless, when walking to your hideout with your friends, you come across a mysterious glowing orb in the midst of a crater, eventually turning out to be a Bakugan. In this world, people apparently find Bakugan creatures, with which they can fight battles. You, now in the possession of your first Bakugan, explore the world of brawling and hopefully get stronger, find more critters and become an actual brawling champion.

There is not really much of a plot in the game, but it’s more than enough for a younger audience to enjoy themselves. You get small dialogues, a few events that propel the story forward, but it never really goes much deeper than that.

Graphics

In its graphical prowess, the game does feel a bit lazy. You’ll have very similar character models spread across the different areas you can traverse through. These areas are all actually quite empty or just have very basic assets in them you could probably even find on asset marketplaces for a few dollars. The actual Bakugan look quite good, but they only have a handful of different models available for these, so you constantly see the same ones in battles, albeit with a different color palette. The effects are not really expertly handled, as it often feels like the fire, or other elemental effects, are just pasted on the screen on a top layer, rather than actually connecting with the enemy or even originating from your own Bakugan.

We did notice a few frame drops and stutters during battles, which is quite surprising as the game really isn’t pushing the console at all. This is probably just bad optimization.

Sound

The sound design is okay at best. The game has a few exciting tunes to listen to during battles, but other than that it’s often void of music, except for a few background noises. It’s quite disturbing to see the crime rate in this digital world, as you hear more police sirens than anything else. This game could have used a little extra and it would have done wonders if there was a bit of voice acting present, or at least an occasional grunt from the characters in the game.

Gameplay

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is an adventure title much along the lines of the Pokémon games, albeit missing many of its intricate details. The game will throw you in a world where strange critters are used for battling other owners of said creatures, to eventually become the very best in what you do. The game has you run around different areas, complete tiny quests, manage your team (in a very basic fashion), and battle other players. We could immediately see the resemblance to the Pokémon games, right to the landscape and even the changing room in the stores, and the hairdresser that allows you to change your appearance.

While attacks in battles still correspond with a single button, battles in Champions of Vestroia are actually quite active. You will need to gather energy to actually perform attacks, buffs or debuffs, but running around with your character collecting tiles of energy. When you collect these, simultaneously with your opponent, you will see which attacks become available. Some require more energy than others, so it’s often a matter of choosing which to use and when, while keeping an eye out on your opponent’s energy. While this formula is actually quite refreshing and fun, it becomes tedious quite quickly because some battles can take some time for them to be over, especially when battling opponents that have a full team of three Bakugan.

Unlike Pokémon games, you don’t have much to do except for some gathering quests and actually battling. While this is also true in the Pokémon series, you can actually properly manage your team, occupy yourself catching shinies, actually collecting them all, or even start breeding them if you want. Other than actually battling and regularly getting a new Bakugan, this game doesn’t have that much on offer, as gaining income doesn’t go that fast, thus making it so that many cosmetic upgrades are quite useless, as you need other important upgrades first.

Conclusion

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia isn’t a bad game at all, it’s just a game that’s catered more towards kids and doesn’t have the finesses a bigger franchise such as Pokémon has. We do feel, even for children, this game could have used a bit more bells and whistles in terms of graphical quality, optimization and even some well-needed voice acting. If you wish to introduce your kids to the world of Bakugan, now is a good time, but we’d still recommend waiting until this one goes on sale, as Champions of Vestroia’s price tag is a bit too high for what it’s offering. In the end, it feels like you’re playing that off-brand Pokémon with a peculiar Russian name (Vestroia).

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Rating: 4.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia - Review, 4.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

1 Comment

  1. […] shows designed to sell expensive collectibles to kids, in the same vein as something like Bakugan, Medabots or Beyblade. Few of these have the same staying power of something like Yu-Gi-Oh or the […]

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