Ahh, the wonders of licensing. Sure, “If you build it, he will come” might have worked in Field of Dreams, but long before that, there was an unspoken mantra in the toy world: “If you make a cartoon for it, kids will spend.” I remember waking up to my favorite G.I. Joe, Transformers, and He-Man cartoons, then rushing out on the weekends to buy the newest figures with my hard earned allowance. These days, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and He-Man have been replaced with the likes of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Beyblade. Though the names may have changed, the game is still the same. Take Beyblade: Evolution, the latest 3DS release from Rising Star Games.
Beyblade: Evolution is the latest video game based on the popular anime/manga/toyline of the same name. In case you’ve been out of the loop for the series’ decade plus lifetime, the premise revolves around groups of kids battling against each other with customized cosmically powered spinning tops (a.k.a. “beyblades”). In Beyblade: Evolution, players step into the role of a new Blader trying to rise through the ranks and become the new Beyblade World Champion. While on the road to the championships, the player will run into many familiar faces from the anime series, making new friends and new enemies along the way.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had a hard time imagining just how effective a video game about battling tops could be. After all, I imagined that a lot of these “battles” would boil down to watching tops spin and waiting for one to … well … stop spinning. That made about as much sense as making a video game about watching a pot of water boil. Still, I kept an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the game IS actually watching tops spin around and waiting for one to drop, but there’s actually a level of depth and interactivity that I didn’t expect.
What makes Beyblade: Evolution stand out is its innovative use of the 3DS features. For starters, players can use the included AR card to have a virtual throwdown anywhere they see fit. Pop the AR card down, point the camera, and instantly a 3D arena pops up, ready for combatants to duke it out. After aiming at a particular spot in the arena to fire off your beyblade, you pull the 3DS system towards your body, with the game using the 3DS gyroscope to simulate shooting it from the beyblade launcher. Once launched, you’ll begin channeling spirit which you can aim at your blade with the 3DS and fire boosts into for an extra edge during battles.
Beyblade: Evolution is, without a doubt, a game for the fans. Admittedly, newcomers to the franchise will face a steep learning curve. Figuring out the various nuances of piecing together blades, how parts will interact, what tactics to use, etc. are all second nature to Beyblade vets, but stand in the way of rookie bladders hoping to make an impact. Despite this, though, the game does a great job of recreating the Beyblade experience, and deserves a spot in any fan’s collection.
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Developer: Intergrow Inc.
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) 10+