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Bandai Namco recently released Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare, making it the first-ever mobile Gundam game in North America. This much-anticipated game brings the excitement of Gundam right to your smartphone.
Gundam fan or not, you can still enjoy Gunpla Warfare without knowing anything about the series. It’s fun for any user—better yet, it’s free! Here’s a rundown of Gunpla Warfare, and you can decide whether it meets your expectations.
As soon as you start up the game, you’ll have to go through a lengthy tutorial. Impatient gamers might not like that idea, but it helps you get to know the whole menu system and controls.
Your character gets greeted by a bubbly girl, Sana, who recruits you as a member of the Gunpla club. The game uses anime-style artwork during the story sequences, which is a nice touch. However, if you’re bored by the dialogue, you (thankfully) have the option to skip over it. Just try not to miss the parts that actually tell you how to play.
There’s not much of a learning curve when it comes to getting a hang of the controls. I’ve struggled with the awkward controls of Gundam games in the past, and I managed to pick up Gundam Warfare in a matter of seconds. You move and dodge by swiping your screen left, right, forward, or back. Tapping the enemy up close unleashes a melee attack, while switching to your guns launches ranged attacks.
The amount of skill you use is really up to you. You can choose to rely on the special attack buttons on the bottom of your screen, which deal a ton of damage to enemies. It’s also easy to rely on button-mashing to deploy deadly combos.
You’ll get the chance to team up with other characters during each mission. If you manage to clear it, you can expect to gain more EXP. Defeating enemies is the main focus of the game—-as you progress, you’ll gradually get pitted against tougher enemies.
The most exciting part about the game is the variety of customization options. If you’re not aware, Gunpla are plastic Gundam models that you build yourself. Gunpla Warfare makes you feel as if you’re building a custom Gunpla in real life. You can choose everything from its head, body, hands, and weapons. The game also gives you the option to change the color of each part of your Gunpla, but you have to unlock the color schemes.
You’ll notice that Gunpla Warfare‘s graphics are smooth and crisp, making it almost comparable to a game on an actual console.
With high-quality graphics come annoyingly slow loading times. I know I shouldn’t expect it to load in a flash, but the game takes a ton of time downloading data and loading the next mission.
The load time gets especially sluggish and buggy if you have an older phone. The app gives you the option to play in Light Mode, which displays the game in a lower resolution. Either way, Gunpla Warfare eats up a ton of your battery, so don’t play it when you’re at a low percentage.
Gunpla Warfare‘s storyline fails to captivate me. It has the dullest plot possible: you work to prevent a high school Gunpla club from disbanding. To do that, you have to win as many battles as you can. You don’t need to know the story to play the game—you’ll become best friends with the Skip button once you encounter the story sequence enough.
Not only is the plot cliche and uncreative, but you also have no way of customizing your character. Instead, you play as a teenage boy with scruffy brown hair and purple eyes. While I understand that the main focus of the game is your Gunpla, it still would’ve been nice if Bandai Namco took that extra step to let you change up your character.
Just like the majority of awful AAA games and mobile apps, Gunpla Warfare has also fallen victim to microtransactions. You get the option to purchase in-game money, or Haro Chips, for prices up to $79.99. Haro Chips allow you to buy part upgrades, as well as capsules (Gunpla Warfare‘s version of loot boxes).
You earn items after completing missions, but that’s not always enough. The early battles in the game are exceedingly easy to complete—and only take up to a minute long—but it gets harder as time goes on. You’ll need better weapons and parts, and the only way to do that without spending money is to mindlessly grind your way through the game.
Overall, Gunpla Warfare is an awesome introduction to mobile Gundam games for North America. I can’t complain—after all, it does give us fantastic graphics, coupled with the customization options and simple controls.
As of now, the game still doesn’t have any PvP options, which is something I’d like to see in the future. Try out the game for yourself, and let me know what you think!