Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle: Card Based App Game Review
In the past week I injured my hand and couldn't enjoy my usual hobby of playing video games, so I did the next closest thing and tried out my first free-to-play app game. Lucky me, Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle also came out in the last week on Android
so at least my first go would be an official Dragon Ball Z Game.
I gotta say, that even though there's not much game here I have been thoroughly addicted over the past few days. You create a team of six characters from your card collection, these can be heroes or villains, and you enter a game board where you work your way through obstacles, minor enemies and loot via dice roll on your way to a boss battle at the end of the stage. Battles are nothing more than trying to line up colored Ki balls, preferably ones that match your active fighter, to build up your power level for your attack. There is a basic color wheel that will make characters of a certain color do more or less damage to characters from another color.
To add some further strategy and flavor, many of the characters will give each other bonuses if you place them next to each other when they come up in your deck. For example, two or more Androids next to each other will boost their defense by 1000, Z Fighters will give each other +500 attack, etc... There are actually a lot of random and wacky teams you can put together and stack bonuses. I like to run Goku Family and the Androids because there is some crossover, like both Chi-Chi and Android 18 get the team bonus "Battlefield Diva" which gives them each +2 Ki and Android 18 also gets +2 Ki from the "Twin Terrors" bonus by being next to Android 17, which also grants them the "Android Assault" bonus as well. You can get pretty good bonuses with the right team line-up.
If you are able to line up enough Ki balls, your character will perform a devastating Super Attack unique to that character, delivering a quote from the show and then a small animation sequence followed by big damage. You can perform an even stronger attack if you build up your Dokkan meter and enter Dokkan mode.
The game pulls from characters in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z (I haven't encountered anyone from Dragon Ball GT yet), and the good news is that they are are relatively comparable to each other in terms of strength. The biggest divider of strength (aside from their level) is character rarity, which falls into one of four categories: N, R, SR and SSR. SSR is going to be the strongest, while you generally never want to really mess with N characters since they'll be quickly outclassed. The good news is, there are multiple different versions of most characters available at different rarities. After that, you level up your characters by either using them in battle or sacrificing other character cards in Training to power them up (which costs Zeni and sometimes other resources).
It actually has a neat set-up with being able to build a unique team that can build each others bonuses up, but then microtransactions come along and ruin everything. There's only a few ways to get characters in the game, and it's all super random. Remember when I told you how I was building an Android team earlier? Well I was lucky to get an Android 16, Android 17 and Android 19 so far. There is absolutely no way for me to influence the game to get the characters I want, including my favorite, Dr. Gero.
The in-game currency for acquiring good characters (re: Rare and up) are called Dragon Stones, and those are what you will be buying with your real world money if you want more characters without grinding. It takes 5 Dragon Stones to get a character pull, and a single Dragon Stone costs about a dollar, so you would essentially be spending $5 for a completely random pull that could range from SSR SSJ Vegeta to a lowly R Sabaimen. You can earn Dragon Stones in game by beating boards, but you only get a Dragon Stone the first time you beat a board on a given difficulty.
You can link up with friends and strangers, but it's a function I'd put in the "Why even bother?" category. You can't trade characters or items, or even send messages or check stats/teams. You just get to use their leader character as a guest on your missions, at which point I just choose whichever random person has the highest level character since it absolutely has no effect on either me or anyone on my friends list.
So my final verdict is difficult to determine. I'm a fan of Dragon Ball and the art is original and looks beautiful. The game is meh, but I really like some of the mechanics like team building and team bonuses. It's a grind-fest that you can't control, but it is a free download (and I haven't spent a dime on it), so ultimately if you're a Dragon Ball fan it's worth a shot.
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