Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle Review
The Dragon Ball Z anime and manga is better known as fighting series where you get to see characters just face off in giant fist/energy fights. The subsequent spin-off titles have usually been faithful to the “versus fighting” feel to the franchise, but the DBZ brand is still familiar with spin-offs that aren’t fighting games. With a few RPGs and card games under its belt, it seems like Dragon Ball Z has yet again been created into another non-brawler spin-off title.
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle is a free-to-play match 3 title for the iOS and Android platform from Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game puts you in the shoes of one of the time police, partnered with (future) Trunks as you try and find out who is causing the dimensional distortion that is affecting the DBZ world. I’m not too updated with the current DBZ storyline so I’m not sure if the game follows the Dragon Ball Super Storyline, or if it is a unique story.
You are given a task to build your “battle deck” comprised of “cards” that are based off various Dragon Ball Z characters. These will then be used in enemy encounters in instanced areas throughout the game.
Using the game’s story mode, you will have to get through instanced maps facing off with familiar DBZ villains such as Raditz, Cell, and Frieza. You’ll even go as far back as the Dragon Ball time as you face against classic characters such as Mercenary Tao and his Dodon Ray.
When you face an opponent, you are put in match-3 tiles where the colors of the balls in your screen represent one of the five “Ki” that each character in your team has an affinity on. Each round has you cycling off from your team of seven characters as you face off AI enemies in a over the top and really spectacular set of action sequences that is expected from Dragon Ball Z.
The first thing that I really liked in Dokkan Battle is that the game capitalizes on the sheer amount of characters the DBZ franchise has. With the game having a rarity system (with Normal being the most common and SSR being the highest), there’s a large enough pool that you are provided with a lot of characters and heroes to choose from. However, the game does tend to follow the mindset in the anime/manga that most of the stronger units are saiyans, except for the celestial characters like the gods or even Whis who is also acquirable in-game.
One thing of note about characters is that even though the game has a robust set of characters they can use, there’s a tendency to redo the same character with a different “card” version of himself. For example, the Super Saiyan Goku has more than one variety and it can switch from the Agility type to the Strength type. Other heroes also have that kind of design, along with the variety in their rarity. You can even increase the rarity level and the stats of the lower ranking characters by fusing them with similar named heroes as they reach max level, thus at least providing enough reason for you to acquire the same type of cards.
Speaking of getting the same kind of cards, I like that you are not allowed to put the same named cards on your deck. This serves as the game’s balancing system and prevents you from spamming your deck with the same cards.
Battles in Dokkan Battle are an interesting mix of strategy plus match 3 gameplay. Each character in the game has support abilities that allow you to partner up with their teammates that provide additional abilities and skills that help you out in battle. Your “leader” cards, on the other hand, provide your team with boosts that help increase your unit’s battle related attributes.
For full sized teams. Dokkan Battle randomly shuffles the characters into your teams to make things interesting, forcing you to adjust and rethink your strategies on the fly. Sometimes the game gives you the short end of the stick when it comes to the match-ups that were given to you.
Another unique feature in the game is the Dokkan mode for characters. The Dokkan meter is the game system that you can fill as you progress through stages. This gives you a bit more oomp to your attacks and a more extravagant set of attack moves from the usual set of moves outside of the match 3 movelist.
Dokkan Battle doesn’t provide much in terms of interacting with other players except to add them as support members to your team. The game doesn’t even present a normal PvP option. The only time you can interact with other players is the scheduled World Martial Arts tournament that allows you to pit yourself against other player’s decks for a certain time.
This provides you the necessary game replayability and reasons to build up your decks aside from just going through the motions of the campaign/story missions.
Conclusion: Good (3/5)
Overall, the game shows real promise. You can easily jump into the game. The whole match 3 game system is interesting and surprisingly challenging, as you’ll have moments where you are actually forced to make do with the team the game gives you where you might not have the ki circles that belong to their affinity. Deck building is fun, but requires you to be lucky with the game’s RNG system to create a really decent team.
However, one of my bigger gripes with the game is that Dokkan Battle tends to keep on downloading. If you haven’t pushed the “DL All” game feature seen on the home screen, you’ll be spending way more time loading the game than you’d like. This is most apparent on the friends feature. Since there’s no way to accept all requests, you’d have to go through accepting each one manually. This process is really painstakingly slow because the game consistently loads itself each time.
All in all, it is a good free-to-play game that you can enjoy immensely if you’re a fan of the DBZ franchise. While the game isn’t revolutionary, it provides enough fun for a while. If you’re looking for a game that you can spend time on and sink your teeth into, then Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is a good game to download.
Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle Review Screenshots
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