Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bakugan Brawler Game Pack Review

Ever since Pokémon there have been a flurry of Japanese properties which have made their way to the West with similar themes. The animal vs animal genre has spawned Yu-Gi-Oh, Dinosaur King, Monster Rancher and many more. For anyone looking at these shows it's easy to write them off as mindless copies, but as with Pokémon these shows have more than just anime behind them, and as it the case with Bakugan, actually have interesting toys and games that expand their Universe.


So for Bakugan, this consists of both ability cards and battle gear which are both included in the Brawler Game Pack. This particular set is based on Gundalian Invaders, the third entry in the series, and focuses on the creatures in that series of the show. Interesting the makers of the toys - Spin Master and SEGA Toys - helped to make this season of Bakugan, so there's a good relationship between the toys and the show.


What this means is you get authentic toys to battle with, and don't have to make major sacrifices in seeing a diluted version in your hand when compared to what you see on screen. These toys are based on the Bakugan of the title, and are spring loaded monsters than can be tucked away in discrete shapes that open when thrown on a surface. They'll also open when rolled over special gate cards which give a magnetic trigger. It's a little like a cross between Transformers and Pokemon, but really reminds me of the transforming McDoanlds happy meal toys I had when I was a kid.

Another influence here is Robot Wars. Your monsters do battle across a silver service, and they can be upgraded by attaching battle gear. Each of the monsters has a trigger that gives it an attacking action, which is good for fans of the show who can relate these to the moves they've seen on screen.
There's a good table top game included in here too, which is played out through the included cards. Each player is dealt three cards which they must keep hidden. On your go you are trying to roll your Bakugan on to a specific spot, called a gate card. It's a lot like marbles. Land on the spot and it's yours. Other players can then battle you for control, which then factors in the power of your Bakugan, ability cards and instructions on the Gate Card itself. These items give you power, and the Bakugan with the most power wins. There's a handy FAQ included with the game that explains this better than I can, but that's the core concept in a nutshell.

The brawler game pack doesn't include enough for a two player session so you'll have to shell out for an additional brawler game pack to play with a friend. For the collector there are extra Bakugan that can be collected, as well as other additions to the playing area that further recreate the show. So if you invest your time in Bakugan there are certainly a lot of extra items you can use to extend the play life, however there's the risk it'll become an addiction so you've been warned.

For those looking for a new table top game it's a clever concept. Fusing the imagination of a card game, with the creativity of the figures is effective and works well for the game. Sure to be addictive for many and a fun past time for others, it's worth a go.

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