Beyblade: Evolution doesn’t need to exist, and it upsets me a little bit have to say that. This is because I quite like the actual Beyblade toy line. My son has them—two arenas and about a dozen actual Beyblades—but neither one of us ever had any interest in the cartoon or anything that tries to attach a story to what is essentially nothing more than a couple of fancy tops banging into one another.
That the Beyblade: Evolution 3DS game is mostly just a virtual version of this is both good and bad.
Beyblade: Evolution contains a bit of a story, but it serves only to toss characters at you as you move you from battle arena to battle arena.
There are no relationships to cultivate, no locations to explore, just battles to be waged. Winning tournaments yields components that you can use to customize your Beyblades, which can be fun for a while. However, the battles are largely the same from start to finish. Beyblade Evolution does utilize the 3DS’s capabilities to bring in some elements that aren’t available in the actual game, but they don’t do enough to break up the monotony.
For instance, you can target exactly where in the arena you want your Beyblade to land, which is kind of the equivalent of just holding your launcher in a certain spot with the real game. Once the battle has begun, you get more control over the outcome via the use of spirit powers. These charge up throughout the battle, and you can unleash them by firing them at your Beyblade.
Timing is key, and can make a tremendous impact on the results. However, it can also be a crapshoot, and the proper timing seems more about luck than strategy.
There are also various minigames sprinkled throughout, which would be a nice way to keep things moving, except that they do nothing to forward the gameplay, they seem to distract you from it, as if the developers knew they needed to mix things up but didn’t have a good way to do it. When you’re playing an action game, do you really it to be interrupted with a pop quiz? The BeyBlade obstacle course makes more sense, but it’s not challenging enough to be worth it. With a little more work, it could’ve been a reason to return to the game even when you don’t want to battle.
So, you’re left with the battles, which grow old quickly whether you’re playing in single or local multiplayer mode. How quickly? Well, after my son had Beyblade: Evolution for a couple of days, we took a trip to visit his grandparents about an hour away. Did he take the game and his 3DS to play in the car? No, he took his actual Beyblade arena, set it up in the back seat of the Mazda 5, and he and his sister played with that for the trip.
I guess that’s the best thing I can say about Beyblade: Evolution…it renewed our interest in the actual game, and some new Beyblades found their way onto my son’s Christmas list when they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Beyblade: Evolution is not a bad game, but without the physical feedback of metal and plastic colliding in spinning fury, it won’t hold your Beyblader’s attention long. Better to take that money and put it towards a new arena and a couple new Beyblades.
Then sit down and play it together. It really is a very cool game.