Game Review: Bakugan: Defenders of the Core
Release: November 2, 2010
Developer: Now Production
Available Platforms: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E10+
My expectations were set firmly to “low” when I started up Bakugan: Defenders of the Core. Fortunately, the game was able to meet and then exceed my expectations, making me feel a little better about the state of kid’s games these days. Not that this is Crono Trigger by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a respectable battle game that’s accessible and fun.
Bakugan starts you out in a character creation mode. You’ll be able to choose your character’s face, skin tone, hair, eyes, clothes, etc. Once you’re happy, you’ll be dropped into a battle with your new dragon Bakugan. Upon winning that brawl, you’ll get to explore your apartment, which will act as a hub between missions. Here is where you can level your brawlers, change your features, and launch missions.
Bakugan follows a formula for each level. You’ll start out confronting your enemy in a cut scene. Once you get control of your character, you will have to run through an environment filled with cameras, guards, and robots that are all looking to spot you. You will need to get passed them and make it to your objective, the battle. Each of these enemies have a cone of vision that is clearly displayed, so avoiding them is not usually a problem. Sometimes you’ll have to throw your Bakugan ball at a nearby barrel or button to get passed them. It’s a stealthy snack before the brawl main course.
Once you reach the end of the stealth segment in each level, control will change to your brawling monster. You start out with a dragon, which is pretty powerful. You battle in real time, so there’s no card battle system. You can find cards to enhance your monster, and different monsters can be unlocked that have different strengths. Battles will normally pit you against one or more enemies. You use the face buttons and D-pad to attack and move. The touch screen is used, but not very often.
The DS version allows for two players to battle via DS download play with only one game cartridge. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, the game does not feature any online play, so don’t expect to take your leveled up Bakugan online to show it off. Also, the story is simple, which is fine. It’s just nothing that blew me away. Of course, I’m an adult. I could easily see someone that’s into the whole Bakugan universe being very entertained.
If you’re looking for a good DS game for a ten year old, this is it. The battles are fun while not being too challenging. The lack of online play is a bummer, but single cartridge download play helps ease the pain a bit. This won’t keep you busy forever since it’s not a long game, but Bakugan fans will surely overlook this and enjoy it anyway.