Beyblade: Evolution
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2013-11-19 Nintendo 3DS Action E (Everyone) Intergrow / Rising Star Games

Spinning top toys seem like a thing of the past, but Beyblade makes the concept exciting for a younger generation. Beyblade is back in style since the start of the series Beyblade: Shogun Steel, which introduces new characters, new spirits and fresh battles to fans of Metal Saga. Beyblade: Evolution comes to fill in the gap between Metal Saga and Shogun Steel and includes elements from the new TV series.

The story (and I use the term losely) places you in the shoes of a new trainer looking to compete in a series of tournaments, make friends and earn parts. Beyblade: Evolution captures the idea of battling spinning tops very well through clever use of the Nintendo 3DS' unique features. You use the system's gyroscopic sensor to aim at the spot where you want to land, and then by tugging on the 3DS you let it rip and launch your Beyblade at the signal.

Battles are played in Beystadiums: arenas witch distinct properties surrounded by different layouts of wall openings, floor openings, and other hazards that allow for a player to be eliminated from the match. Different kinds of Beyblades will have a better performance in specific areas of the stadium, so a defensive Beyblade will do better if battling in the center, while an attacking Beyblade becomes more effective while circling the edge.

Characters you meet will teach you the basics, however this isn't where winning a battle resides. Being a total Beyblade noob, I was in way over my head with this game.

Beys have stamina, which is shown on the top screen, and is basically their health. They are powered by Spirit, shown in a meter on the touch screen. To use it, you must aim at your Beyblade and fire to give it a boost in power and attack. Waiting for the right moment to do this and aiming properly can even send your opponent out of the arena. You then move the Bey by tilting the 3DS. Spirit gradually increases and levels up, and just as you can use it, so can your opponent, so judging when to use it is the difficult decision sometimes. So even if there is some strategy involved in these battles, there is a lot left to chance, which makes them somewhat unpredictable.

Another way to make your Beyblade more powerful is by purchasing and equipping new pieces. There are over 500 pieces to collect, caps, rings and tips, with special properties. You can learn more about them by browsing the included Beypedia and assemble your Bey in whichever way you choose in the Bey Factory Mode.

There isn't much more to the game other than the battles, so for the most part you roam around the town finding other people to play against, which really makes the gameplay repetitive. There are no opportunities to actually explore, so you just move from one place to the next and enter another battle. There are a few mini-games in between such as pop-quizzes and simple obstacle courses, but not enough to break up the repetitiveness.

The game also makes use of the wireless capabilities of the 3DS by adding a local single-cartridge multiplayer and a Street Pass feature that allows you to replay and view the battles. You can head on to Bey Battle Mode to play local battles, a data battle against characters you have already encountered, or Survival for the chance to unlock rare pieces.

In terms of unlockables, matches have special conditions to win that will give you access to more parts. Finishing the game will also unlock a clip from the TV show, and a "new game plus" where you gain access to a special Bey from the show (Samurai Ifrit W145CF Battle Top).

Beyblade: Evolution does a good job utilizing the 3DS to mimic the toy battles, which is quite impressive, but it is rather limited and repetitive in terms of gameplay. This is what makes it a niche title aimed at fans of the franchise and the show, and not a game for everyone.

Special thanks to David Bruno, MMPR and Rising Star Games for providing a copy of this title.