Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Review – A Unique Dragon Ball Experience Perfect for the Switch

    Title: Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission
    Developer: Dimps
    Release Date: April 4, 2019
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Genre: gacha RPG

As someone who spent plenty of time playing Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh growing up, I’m no stranger to trading card games. Which means I’m honestly going to say that Bandai Namco’s newest title Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is absolutely nothing like these trading card games from my past. However, that’s not a bad thing given that the game is easily approachable and doesn’t require too much knowledge of the Super Dragon Ball Hero trading card game to enjoy.

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission introduces a normal boy named Beat who discovers the Super Dragon Ball Heroes card game and has a dream of becoming the very best. However, after his first match, it’s become clear that he is somehow special and is required to save the world. From what you ask? Well, from Dragon Ball villains who are invading the real world and attempting to take it over. The only way to stop this is to enter the digital world and stop the dangerous villains before they become too powerful.

The game is split up into chapters, which include battles and story scenes. With that said, even battles have fairly lengthy story moments before the fight. Sadly, the game lacks an audio track so expect to read through everything. Thankfully, the story’s plot is kept pretty light and can be easily read through quickly or skipped entirely if you wish. The story itself features different eras from across the Dragon Ball series so fans of any generation will easily recognize a handful of these characters.

The story itself is corny as ever and I found most its linear nature to be nothing special given that it falls into a repetitive state where the characters simply run into a group, proclaim how they will never lose, and then initiate a card battle. I’d also like to point out that the character’s names are very strange, you’ll meet characters named, Beat, Froze, and Note while traveling across the game’s various boards, and they only getting stranger in the later parts of the game.

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While Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission’s story never really finds a good balance. The actual card battling gameplay is something to marvel at as it is strangely addicting. Players build decks of seven cards that embody characters from the Dragon Ball series. Even though the game has you fighting against villains, decks can include villains and heroes alike, now, there’s a reason for this but it doesn’t really matter.

While in battle players have the option to customize their decks to their liking with support and attack cards, but the game goes beyond that in terms of complexity. There are four rows where characters can be placed, the closer to the line of battle drains stamina and the line furthest away from the line of battle will regain stamina.

This review will not be a guide on how to play the game, but while there are a lot of moving parts, it’s not as complicated as it looks. You see, a lot of the game is fairly automated so events play out without having to do anything special which made battles more approachable. However, later battles do require some skill and you can’t simply throw all your characters up front and expect to win.

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Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission has a few interesting systems that make it perfect for the Nintendo Switch. For starters, the game can be completely played using the Switch’s touch screen and it encourages this method given that some special attacks and actions require the player to interact with the screen. However, even though the controller works just as well, there’s something cool about moving around your cards and charging a spirit bomb using your fingers.

Furthermore, the game has a gacha system, yes, the same gacha system that is extremely popular on mobile devices. After matches, players will be rewarded items and gacha tickets. These tickets can be used in exchange for new cards, while some of these cards are rare, they are received at random. The game features all the decks from the series including promotional and extremely rare cards. After spending time building decks and drawing cards, I fell into the gacha trap and did everything I could to get as many gacha tickets as possible to acquire newer cards.

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Other ways of getting cards and items would be to buy or create them. However, getting zeni in the game doesn’t come too easily, but there are means outside of battles that grants you zeni. Other gameplay modes available include an online mode that had me doubting the skills I had while fighting my way through the story.

In Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission, players can’t force wins by simply creating a deck with the strongest and most rare cards. Support and assist cards must be added to help the attackers charge for their more powerful abilities and debuff the opposing team. There’s a nice balance to be found in these cards and it’s evident that it’s a series that has been going on in arcades and received a handful of updates for quite some time, albeit not so much in the west.

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Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission requires the player to ask themselves if they’re up for a haphazard and unique Dragon Ball experience. The game won’t feel right to players expecting something more along the line of a typical trading card game, but that ends up being alright. I found enjoyment in building decks and finding a meta during the battles with the cards I had acquired. The story begs much to be desired, but it could be shrugged off as just a corny buffer between battles.

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is strictly for fans of the Dragon Ball series who want to battle with friends and build a team of their favorite characters. The game is made perfectly for Nintendo Switch and is one of the few games that utilize the Switch’s touch screen to it’s highest potential. While there are certain features that could be improved on in Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission, the game ends up being entertaining and simply okay at best, and that ended up being okay with me.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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