Balls to the Wall – ‘Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle’ Review

GameStop, Inc.

Dragon Ball Z is one of my favorite franchises ever. I equate it to my generation’s Star Trek, there’s a lot of talking and discussing with some splashed bouts of action. This is not a dig at Star Trek as it is a great series that is far more complex than the Dragon Ball Z franchise, but you cannot deny that the majority of the cool stuff is talked about rather than shown. Back to the purpose of this piece, there is a DBZ mobile game that is free to play and it is called Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan BattleI have no idea what Dokkan means, nor do I intend on looking it up, but it’s meaning has little impact on the fact that there is a free DBZ game for your phone you can play whenever you want! Anime is finally becoming main stream in the US, and the existence of a DBZ game on mobile is proof. Enough of the fanboying though, let’s get into the game.

Screenshot_2015-07-26-09-15-44

Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is best categorized as an action puzzle game with a sleight RPG element. Players assemble a team of Z-Fighter and travel across the game board collecting items, powerups, and Dragon Balls, while fighting enemeies along that way and who block the path. There is a unique story to the game, that is not cannon, that is largely lead by Future Trunks as you and he search the Z-World for Goku. You gain some new fighters along the way, but most fighters are gained through the spending of Zeni or Friend Points which you earn for free by playing the game. You are also able to purchase Zeni in app if you are impatient.

Screenshot_2015-07-26-09-59-27Screenshot_2015-07-26-01-01-52Characters level up as you use them, but can only obtain higher ranked levels and abilities through the training, which requires items collected throughout the game. Special items are harder to get and are often placed along treachous legs on the map, or can only be accessed when playing on the highest of the 3 difficulty levels. Special items and characters can also be found by playing the weekly and daily events. The dailly events cycle through every week, while the weekly have a much longer cycle. The most intriguing part about the weekly events is that they are usually based off canon story lines like The Raditz Arc, or Bardok becoming the first Super Saiyan.

The game play is simple, there is a board of orbs, and you click the orb that connects the most orbs of the same color. The more orbs that connect, the more damage you do. The orb colors match the different character types, so you want to match the orbs to the character type to the weakness of the opponent then match the orb color to your character’s type to do the most damage. That might sound confusing, but it’s very simple once you start playing. There is also constantly a legend which tells you the different character types and their strengths and weakenesses.

The highlight of the game is the animation, it really hits that excitement of seeing the Z-Fighters throw down that is kind of rare in the show sometimes. The gameboard is also reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 where you would travel the game board to collect the Dragon Ball and complete the level. I am very torn that you are able to know the exact level a Dragon Ball can be found on by going to the Dragon Ball status/redemeption menu. Mainly because I spent a couple hours replaing levels looking for the Dragon Balls, believing they were placed at random.

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The game does have it’s downside however. As a free-to-play game it does take a mass amount of time to fully evolve and level up your characters. It is great that you can have up to 6 on your team, so even levelling is not hard, or jump levelling for lower characters, but collecting the different items is where it gets painfully tedious. I understand the point, as you either spend time or money, but I don’t like to waste either. I cannot knock the developers for implementing that however. The biggest downer to me, is that you cannot level up your character in a natural progression. For example, if you level up Kid Gohan, he does not become Teen Gohan, or even Super Saiyan Gohan. Just higher rarity card with a higher level limit. So if you have a base level Goku, he can only level up to 20, then evolved to a Rare Goku who maxes out at 40. At a certain point having any cards that start as Basic of Rare become completely obselete. It wouldn’t be bad if the character could fully max out from Basic to Ultra Rare, but every character you acquire can only evolve to one rarity level higher. This adds tediousness rather than replay value.

Lastly, there is no connection or interaction with other players. It is strictly solo. There is no way to connect or compete against your friends via a trading or ranking system. What’s the point of having Super Saiyan 2 Gohan if I can’t lorde it over my friends? Very shallow accomplishment.

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Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is a fun and enjoyable game that does initally offer great replay value. It requires enough skill that it isn’t a cake walk, but not so much that you need time to get a rhythm going. It is a great pick up when you’re bored game and you can get quite far in without dedicating mass amounts of time and energy. However, once you get to the point that the game is to easy to play on Normal or Hard, it becomes frustratingly tedious and loses enjoyment fast. If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball it is a definite must play, and if you want a quaint little game to enjoy while your bored for a few months this is a good one to go with.

Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is available for iOS and Android devices.

Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle
  • 8/10
    Story - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Gameplay - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Mechanics - 8/10
7.7/10

The Verdict

Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is a fun little mobile game that offers a unique alternate story of the DBZ universes. The graphics do the show/manga justice, and the gameplay has a good lifespan before becoming tedious.

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