Original games are plentiful on the Wii but they don’t appear as frequently on Xbox 360. That’s why when something interesting comes out on Microsoft’s box I’ll give it a whirl, even if it is in a brightly-hued box and has a 7+ age rating on the box.
There’s a rather unpleasant saying that goes something like this: ‘If you throw enough shit at a wall eventually some of it will stick”. I think this is the line of thinking that the creators of Bakugan abide to as it combines elements from just about every popular toy-line from the past few years. To wit: Bakugans are marbles that transform and battle, with the emphasis being to catch ‘em all. You can also throw down trading cards to boost their stats or affect your rival’s abilities.
What I found enduring about Bakugan is that there are dozens of strategies to use. At the start of a match players pick a battle card and throw it into the middle of the arena. They then pick a Bakugan – which are various beasts of an elemental variety – and launch them. If two land on a trading card then a battle commences which involves playing one of three mini-games. If you land two of your own Bakugan on one card though then you automatically win the match. Some arenas have power-ups and health boost icons which you can try and aim for before landing on a card but the Bakugan can only be manoeuvred for a certain amount of time before coming to a grinding halt. It takes a degree of skill to be able to pick up a load of bonuses and then land on a card.
So, if you have a weak Bakugan it’s best to roll around for a while to try and pick up power-ups so that it’ll become strong enough to fight against whatever is in the arena. If your beast is pretty strong already then the ideal thing to do is to smash straight into a rival as this’ll knock some of their health off and then let a battle commence.
Ignoring the candy coated exterior and cheesy voice-acting, Bakugan is a pretty good game. So much so that the newly released sequel – Bakugan: Defenders of the Core – has made it to my virtual shopping list once it comes down in price.