3! 2! 1! Let it rip! (Or "Go Shoot!" if you're from Japan) Yes, those tiny fighting tops from Japan are back with more metal than ever. It's Beyblade: Metal Fusion for the Nintendo DS.Beyblade: Metal Fusion
Developer: Nelvana Enterprises
Publisher: Hudson Entertainment Inc.
Platform: Nintendo DS
Rating: E for Everyone
I guess you can call this a fighting game of some sorts since you partake in 1 on 1 battles using a small fighting top. Sounds bogus, I know, but obviously this game is meant for people who are a fan of the show of toys. I have tried many video game iterations of the Beyblade toys and I gotta say this is the best rendition of it in virtual form out there.
Story: An evil group called Nosferatu has put up a tournament to steal the spirits of fallen bladers who participate and it's up to Gingka and his group of rag-tag friends to put a stop to them. The story is pretty much the same as the 1st season of Metal Fusion (Metal Fight in japan) but with Nosferatu, its members and their Beyblade being exclusive to this game. You can choose 1 of 19 characters in Story Mode, each having their own version of the same story. You have no choice of where to go but simply just battle and move on until you reach the end boss. Pretty shallow but it's gets the job done. Seeing the villains play their own story has interesting twists at the end so that's a nice addition to the somewhat predictable story line.
No exploration whatsoever
Gameplay: Here's the meat and bones of the game. Gameplay is pretty much done on the touchscreen, battles and menu navigations. The top screen serves as showing stats or dialogues in Story Mode.
Graffiti approach to the background
Upon opening the game, you have access to 3 options. Story, Battle, Bey Garage. In Story you start with either 1 or 2 characters depending on what edition of the game you have. You unlock more by completing each character's story. There are 19 characters in the game. 4 of which are exclusives and can only be unlocked by battling against another person with a collector's edition of another version of the game (Cyber Pegasus, Bakushin Susanoo) or by connecting to the Beyblade: Metal Fusion Battle Fortress video game on the Wii.
In Battle mode you can enter Battle Coliseum which lets you play 2 challenge modes or take part in ranked matches to get the highest winning streak for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Leaderboard. You can also participate in local or online matches but I found the game to have significant input lags even in local battles. It's nice that there is online support but execution wise it could have been better. Bey Survival lets you pick a type of Beyblade (Attack / Defense / Stamina) and see how many opponents you can beat until you lose. An endurance mini game but without any real merit or rewards game wise. Options lets you select a character (avatar) for multiplayer, change your user name and type. Bey Garage gives you access to a shop for parts, a gallery to view all the parts you have, mod you own custom Beyblade and adjust microphone sensitivity.
Maxed stats anyone?
Combat: You pull on a virtual string on a Beylauncher after a countdown. Pulling well maximizes your spin power of the Beyblade you're using. Spin power is like you Beyblade's life bar, once it's out you are done. There is a balance indicator that shows the balance of your Beyblade, the more it wobbles, the faster you lose spin power.
Attack: Attacking is as simple as swiping the touch screen in the direction you want your Beyblade to attack. Hammering your opponent constantly can decrease their balance and spin power or the most obvious merit to attacking is by knocking your opponent out of the stadium and scoring a quick win. However attacking frantically can also be disadvantageous to you as a missed attack can leave you open, have you hit a wall, be to close to the edge for a knock out or even you fly out of the stadium yourself.
Defense: Defending is as simple as tapping your Beyblade. A blue barrier will surround your Beyblade for a limited time but while this is active your Beyblade will stay put and won't get knocked around easily. If your opponent does this, the barrier can be removed by tapping the opposing Beyblade.
Defense vs Defense , mine wins
Jump: Jumping let's you avoid attacks, uppercut your opponent, reposition yourself, or in certain stadiums leave bombs where you jumped. Jumping is as easy as tapping anywhere on the stadium. If you happen to land on your opponent, it counts as an attack.
Recover: You can recover a bit of spin power and balance by tapping and holding anywhere outside of your Beyblade. Doing a recover drains a bit from your spirit meter.
Spirit: By attacking or doing a succesful defense, you gain spirit. Having enough spirit lets you pull off special moves like an electric aura, a strong armor or even animated special moves that call upon asteroids or driving your opponent's Beyblade through planets. It may sound insane but trust me they're in there.
Grinding: Yes, there is a bit of grinding in this game. Aside from earning cash (Bey Points) or increasing your rank, you can assign stat increases to the parts of your Beyblade, these are called Bey Force. Bey Forces can increase specific stats such as Attack, Defense, Stamina and Balance. By leveling up each Bey Force, the over all performance of your Beyblade can improve vastly.
Scoring: There are multiple ways to score wins in battle. You need at least 4 points total to win. Out lasting your opponent awards you a Sleep Out which gives you 1 point. A Stadium Out awards you 2 points. And pulling off a Crash Out which is destroying your opponent by means of a special move awards you 3 points. Multiplayer: As I have said earlier, this game features both local and online multiplayer battles. This game even has game sharing which is rare of DS titles. But horrible input lag and slow match making leaves a lot to be desired. Then again this is better than no multiplayer at all, even if it is an after thought.
Over all I enjoyed this game very much. Obviously this won't appeal to people who aren't fans of the show or toys but this is the best Beyblade video game I have ever played. Physics are great and you actually have control in combat instead of just launching and watching them go until you can do a super move. The grind can be a bit tedious to some but I found myself playing a lot. The game clock says I've spent 32 hours, 34 minutes, and 51 seconds playing this game. Gameplay wise it's very solid and portability is great since it saves after every match. Oh and did I mention that every time you win, be it Sleep Out or Stadium out, your opponent's Beyblade explodes into a sea of parts which is always satisfying to witness.
If you or your child is a fan of the show or the toys / hobby then this is definitely worth a purchase. Aside from the solid gameplay, the collector's edition comes with a limited edition Beyblade (Counter Leone / Cyber Pegasus / Bakushin Susanoo) . If you're just after the Beyblade, it wouldn't hurt to give this a try.