A Robot Fan’s Dream Come True
HIGH So many awesome robots to choose from.
LOW This game does not care if someone has never played a SRW before.
WTF Did I never notice that Combattler V fires missiles out of its… region?
I robots and mecha unabashedly.
The desk where I’m typing this review is liberally adorned with Voltron, Gunpla, Grendizer, Danguard Ace, and many others. I’ve been an addict since I was a kid with access to the classics on cable.
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of the Super Robot Wars series, and in fact, I own several of the titles already, but loving them has been tough. The difficulty has always been their unwelcoming nature — there’s so much lore to absorb, and the mechanics are not obvious at first glance.
Super Robot Wars 30 finally broke the paralysis I’ve had with the series, and while it still isn’t beckoning new fans with open arms, it’s an enjoyable romp with amazingly customizable difficulty that features giant robots blasting the crap out of each other. How could I not love it?
In this 30th anniversary installment of the franchise, humanity is threatened once again by a mishmash of evil forces, both extra-terrestrial and earthborn. Armed with terrifying giant robots and hideous monsters, these forces move against humanity’s defenses, seeking only to conquer and destroy. After commandeering an experimental Mobile Suit without authorization, our civilian protagonist buys enough time for a rag-tag crew of inexperienced cadets to face these threats. Along the way, strange tears in space-time cause the team to encounter some of the greatest robots and pilots from the multiverse. Is this premise a silly way to say “Here’s a bunch of folks you may or may not know from various anime — now go blow stuff up with your favorites?” Absolutely.
Mechanically, Super Robot Wars 30 is a tactical strategy game where players move various robots around an isometric battlefield to engage enemy forces. Most missions involve straightforward objectives like destroying all foes or surviving a specific number of turns, and losing conditions usually trigger when a specific character/robot falls in battle.
Players generally have a choice of which robots to use in a skirmish, and each one possesses unique weapons with various range, terrain, or movement requirements. For instance, many robots can’t move and fire in the same combat turn, but can move and strike with a melee attack. More powerful attacks require Morale — basically a currency gained by attacking enemies with weaker abilities first. Think of it as a mechanics-based reason why Voltron didn’t immediately form the Blazing Sword at the start of every fight.
Additionally, pilots can earn points during combat which can be turned into even more special abilities like automatic dodging, increased accuracy, or repair.
Each mission introduces players to new characters while providing just enough backstory to prevent them from becoming totally lost. For those who need more info, there’s a glossary of terms and events.
The sheer amount of lore threatens to overwhelm at first, especially when references to wars and characters I didn’t know came flooding out during the first few missions. That aside, the dialogue is crisp, characters are likable, and the plot features the kind of melodrama I love in super robot stories. The game relies a bit too much on women pining over the men that don’t notice them, or men talking about all the “hot women” serving on the crew. Several of the women also appear in revealing outfits designed for the male gaze, but overall the presentation is respectful to the source material and made me want to learn more about it.
Between the robots, the pilots, the lore, and everything that fills our the various systems that I haven’t touched on here for fear of going too far into the weeds, there’s a lot to keep track of. Super Robot Wars 30 ‘encourages experimentation’ by providing almost no in-game guidelines for spending currency, improving statistics, or even the basics of gameplay aside from rudimentary movement and attacks. As a person who gets frozen with indecision when trying to spend points on the average tech tree, the early going in Super Robot Wars 30 nearly broke me.
Fortunately — and to its credit — while SRW30 doesn’t care about easing newcomers into the more complicated mechanics, it does offer a plethora of options for newbies including reduced difficulty modes and the ability to allow battles to self-resolve. After a few hours of struggle the fog began to lift, and I began to understand how best to use my robots, their abilities and support options. With this knowledge I began to feel powerful — not powerful enough to raise the difficulty level, mind, but a sense of competence did grow.
Super Robot Wars 30 is a love letter from mecha fans to mecha fans. It’s flashy, loud, and colorful. It oozes charm, and it’s a delight to play once one gets past the information overload — and in the end, I loved it wholeheartedly.
Disclosures: This game is developed by B.B Studio Co, Ltd. and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 20 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, and Suggestive Themes. The official description reads as follows: This is a strategy role-playing game in which players engage in battles using characters from several mecha anime series. Combat is turn-based, with players moving characters around a grid-like battlefield and selecting attack moves from a menu. While most attacks depict small mech suits/robots shooting at each other, some attacks trigger short animated sequences depicting dramatic flame attacks, laser fire, sword strikes, and large explosions. One sequence briefly depicts a character in bloodstained clothing. Some female characters are designed with low-cut outfits and deep cleavage; camera angles sometimes linger on female characters’ chests and/or buttocks. The dialogue also contains suggestive material (e.g., “I can’t pilot in a swimsuit! My boobs would get in the way”; “Harassing women just trying to enjoy the beach?…Now you’ll have to deal with me, you perv!”). One cutscene briefly depicts characters partially nude during a fantastical transformation sequence (e.g., exposed buttocks, breasts without nipple detail). The words “pr*ck” and “p*ssed” appear in the game.Enter your contextual consumer information here.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. All dialogue and text is fully subtitled. All gameplay audio cues are accompanied by a visual element. Sung music (such as part of the Premium Sound and Data Pack DLC) are not subtitled. There is a mission attached to this pack which means content will be lost for those unable to utilize the pack.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.