Pokémon and Digimon have long fought for the hearts (and wallets) of the young, the old and the nostalgic. But whilst Pokémonhas gone on to enjoy success from its initial launch and grow exceptionally popular, Digimon never really found its footing and has dithered off into the background for most people outside of Japan.
Digimon All-Star Rumble hopes to change that – and it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.
All-Star Rumble is a Super Smash Bros.- and Power Stone-like affair, allowing up to four players to duke it out in an arena brawler. The problem is that the arenas are pretty small, the controls are at times unresponsive, and the game as a whole feels highly unpolished, even for a now ageing Playstation 3 title.
The game itself isn’t terrible, but the simple combat and poor controls turn your emotions to frustration rather quickly, and seeing as Digimon is over two decades old, the character roster is appalling, with only 12 base Digimon to choose from (once you unlock them in story mode), making you feel there really isn’t much replay value unless you really must try out all 32 forms of the dozen characters.
Which, contrastingly, is a shame, because each Digimon‘s move set is unique. With their basic combos, power attacks, and special moves all very simple to pull off, there are times where learning the little critters’ play-styles can be rewarding; but that small glimmer of light is shattered by the sporadic response times of the controls.
On top of your Digimon‘s moves, you can also Digi-volve once your meter is full (or if you collect a power up) and once in said form, you can inflict more damage, cover more ground and withstand attacks a lot better.
The game’s single-player mode is not that of your standard arena brawler, taking somewhat the form of an RPG/platforming adventure mode, with a very thin narrative about a fighting tournament, but this is easily one of the game’s biggest downfalls. Environments are poorly designed and bland, with exceptionally simple puzzles and overly generic enemies, some of which can auto-lock you in place and attack until death is your only option, sending you back to the start of the level. It’s an unnecessary mode and I genuinely believe the game would have benefited from the removal of the story mode and the placement of more focus on the arena brawler mode that makes up 95% of the game.
Outside of the single-player, the only other mode on offer is Versus, which, poor controls aside, is reasonably fun. I had a friend try it out with me and surprisingly, it wasn’t a complete bust. We played a few rounds and actually enjoyed a good 10 or 15 minutes before the poor controls got the better of us.
All-Star Rumble also offers no online mode, so if you do fancy a few rounds with friends, then local play is the only option, but, to its merit, I do actually prefer to play these kinds of games locally, as they generally are more fun when you’re surrounded by friends, as opposed to listening on a headset.
Graphically, whilst nothing mindblowing, All-Star Rumble is as bright and vibrant as you’d expect from aDigimon game, but it’s certainly nothing special, and just because this is a Playstation 3 title, there’s no reason it couldn’t have looked better. Seeing as Namco Bandai made the gorgeous Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, released a few months ago, this was a real shame in the looks department. The Digimon on hand all look like their anime counterparts, but the poor voice and sound effects are of the ‘three line, repeat’ variety.
It’s hard to recommend Digimon All-Star Rumble to anybody, even diehard Digimon fans, seeing as it’s released right when Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, a far superior brawler, has launched – but even if Smash Bros. hadn’t been released, there’s really not much here, which is a shame, as with more polish and focus,All-Star Rumble could have been a really fun game.
Digimon All-Star Rumble is an accessible brawler that younger gamers may enjoy, but a poor single-player mode and frustrating controls ruin the fun.
☆☆Two Stars out of Five:
Digimon All-Star Rumble
Summary : Digimon All-Star Rumble is an accessible brawler that younger gamers may enjoy, but a poor single-player mode and frustrating controls ruin the fun.
Digimon All-Star Rumble was reviewed using a review copy provided and sent to us by Bandai Namco.