Heart Of The Cards

HIGH It feels like a season of the anime.

LOW The card game isn’t nearly as strategic as advertised

WTF Why does a sticker cost 150000 yen?

When I first saw World Mission on the shelf, I thought it was going to be similar to the Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon card games. In them, players normally build a deck from cards they collect and employ strategies and synergies to beat opponents. Not so with this one – players do collect cards, but there isn’t nearly enough depth to make using them interesting.

Super Dragonball Heroes: World Mission is based on a Japanese arcade card game of the same name. The player takes control of a new kid who moves into Hero Town — it’s a town known for the card game Super Dragonball Heroes (SDBH for short). As new kid gets to the SDBH tower, they register for their first deck and start playing. Little do they know that their connection with the cards will give them power that will help them save not only the town, but the entire world.

As things progress, players will see non-canon anomalies that modify the story of Dragonball as a whole, so every episode of the show can be revisited with a new twist via this game. These “what ifs” are some of the best parts of World Mission, and seeing bitter rivals team up or fights that wouldn’t happen in the normal timeline of the show are great. Nearly every character can be found here, so there’s a ton for any series fan to enjoy.

So, the mechanics. Players start by choosing seven cards. Hero cards are balanced and easy to use, Elite cards attack opponents’ stamina, and Berserk cards have stronger attacks, but are more prone to being stunned. Players will also get to choose a battle module — basically it’s a one-time boost for a fight.

A match is divided into five rounds, or until one of the players lose all of their HP. Each turn, players will organize their cards between a battle and support area, deciding who will fight that round. Cards in the battle area will fight the opponent and grant hero energy to the player (used for special moves) while support area cards will regain stamina to be more effective in the next round.

Once both players have chosen their fighters, power levels determine which team fights first and then it moves to the impact phase where players must stop a moving power bar in a higher spot than the opponent to either defend against an opponent’s attack, or break through their defense. Breaking through defenses will also allow fighters to use their special move for massive damage if enough hero energy has built up.

If both players still have HP at the end of five rounds, the player with the highest life total is the winner. Between rounds, some cards will trigger a minigame where players must move the card in a slow circle or in a pattern to charge up and release a free attack, or to cancel an opponent’s attack.

These are the basic mechanics, but the new kid’s story mode isn’t all
World Mission has to offer — players will be able to use money and gacha tickets obtained in battles to unlock new cards and card accessories from stores, practice skills in training modes, or go online and battle friends. Players will also get different stickers and card pieces that can be used to create their own cards. Between all of the cards that are available to purchase and win in the stores, as well as those from using the creation tools, this title is stuffed with cards… which may actually be the source of a core issue — there’s not a lot of strategy.

While the devs urge players to use all different card types and to carefully plan each move to mitigate HP damage, most of the time I threw all of my players onto the front line and made it through without issue. As long as players can succeed in the impact phase, they’ll most likely win every fight.

While most scenarios require the player’s customized deck in most scenarios, they’ll occasionally have to use an NPC deck which can’t be modified, and these missions feel easier and slower than the rest, as the devs allow for each one’s unfamiliarity. They’re just a drag.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with World Mission even as a casual Dragonball fan, though the gameplay did leave me wanting. Super Dragonball Heroes: World Mission is worth the price of admission, just come to it for the fanservice and not for the deckbuilding.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Dimps Corporation and Safari Games Co, and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment.  It is currently available on PC and Switch.This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 28 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. No time was spent in online multiplayer.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated and contains Cartoon Violence, Mild Language, and Suggestive themes. This is a game about people fighting each other ferociously and throwing large balls and beams of energy at each other. There’s no blood or gore, but there’s a lot of fighting. There is the occasional D***, but not much worse than that. Some of the female characters have some revealing clothing, but minimal at best. If they can watch the TV show, there’s nothing they haven’t seen already.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All of the text is in text boxes since the voice acting is all in Japanese. Some of the card text can be a bit small, and text is not resizable.

Remappable Controls: Controls are not remappable, and there is no guide for the controls. Players will use the control stick to move around, use “A” to select options, hit “B” to cancel options. In combat, players can use “L” and “R” buttons to switch between cards. The Switch version also allows players to use touch to move cards on the battlefield, as well as the minigames each card may have.

Eugene Sax
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