Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is a free to play adventure mobile game, based on the Dragon Ball franchise. It was developed by Akatsuki and published by Bandai Namco, and was released worldwide on both Android and iOS on July 16th 2015, having been available in Japan on Android since January 30th 2015 and iOS since February 19th 2015.
While in terms of game design it isn’t the most innovative, clearly a lot of work went into it, and it has a surprisingly interesting and engaging story which makes it well worth playing.
The basic story, involved you playing as an unnamed warrior (whom you later get to name) who helps Trunks to prevent issues caused by an expanding dimensional distortion. In broad strokes it’s similar to the plot of Xenoverse, especially the whole part about distortions in time, and being able to fight the Z-Fighters as well as various other characters throughout important and key moments in Dragon Ball history. I do think it still does enough on top of that to make it unique, and most if not all of the Dragon Ball games do tend to include aspects of travelling through important moments in the series to fight Dragon Ball characters, in fact you can click here to read a review of another Dragon Ball game I’ve reviewed.
As you continue through the game, and especially during the introductory portion of the game you are guided along by Trunks and King Kai (both important supporting characters in the anime and manga) who offer you advice and lead you through the plot of the game.
The gameplay is split into two sections, the first part is laid out like a board game, wherre you pick from one of three randomly generated numbers, and whichever number you pick out of the three will be the number of moves you make across the ‘board’, and depending upon what space you land on will dictate the outcome of that turn. For example there are several free spaces, where nothing happens, you just progress, while other tiles, ones with a question mark, indicate a random effect (meaning that a random event will happen such as a reduction in your health, the power of one of your characters might temporarily be boosted or you might gain an item), you also might land on an item tile, which as the name suggests will give you a random item. Finally, you have an enemy tile, which if you land on then you have to do battle. The enemy tiles can be broken down into two categories, those that can be skipped over assuming you’re ‘roll’ is enough, i.e if it’s five spaces away from your position and you ‘roll’ a six, then you’ll pass over it and ones which you cannot skip over, even if you have enough moves in your ‘roll’ to pass over it, you’ll be forced into an encounter. The boss on each ‘level’ is usually the opponent/enemy you cannot pass over, whereas you can usually just skip lower level enemies such as Saibamen and members of the Frieza force.
The board game aspect is usually reasonably short, you can progress alternatively quickly, although since on certain boards you can have the opportunity to obtain a Dragon Ball it’s advised to be careful and calculated in your ‘rolls’ so that you can get it since you cannot go backwards. Speaking of which, once you obtain all 7 Dragon Balls, you can make a wish, which include things such as increasing your inventory, increasing your training items (used to boost character stats) and increasing the team decks you can have. Each board has different designs, based around events in the show, for example some are designed to replicate Namek or the wastelands of earth. There’s also a variation in difficulty, and you can progress through each, from normal, to hard and finally Z-Hard. By completing it at harder levels, you can open up different paths on the board which are blocked off otherwise, gaining you new items, more exp for completing it, and occasionally Dragon Balls.
Now the second element of the gameplay is colour matching, this is part of the battle aspect and will be very familiar to Pokemon players, because it’s similar to type matching. So in the battle part of the game, your screen will fill up with a variety of different coloured ‘Ki’ balls, which when clicked on can be used to damage an opponent. Each of the coloured balls corresponds to an alignment, for example blue is agility, and green is technique, with each alignment being strong against one and weak against another, for example in the above colours, blue (agility) is weak against Green (Technique) and strong against Red (Strength). So to improve your chances of success what you want to do is make sure that you keep an eye on what type of alignment your character is, and match them up against an opponent whose alignment is weak to yours. If you do attack an opponent with a mismatched type, then your attack will be at least partially blocked, which is fine when you start out, but as you and your opponents get stronger, it becomes more essential to your progression. It might seem a little confusing but you pick it up fairly quickly and of course there’s a colour wheel in the top right hand corner during every battle which tells you who’s strong and weak against what so you can play strategically.
Next up, the amount of same coloured ‘Ki’ balls you tap affects your power, for example if you only tap just one then its won’t fill up your ‘Ki’ wheel but if you tap four/five then their is a good chance you’ll fill it up and get a super attack.
Here’s a really valuable tip, make sure and save your Dragon Stones, if you are unwilling or unable to make in game payments, these will get rarer as you play. Although occasionally you will be given them as a reward, or as an apology by the game designers for a glitch, or even by the designers to celebrate a milestone. I tell you to save them and use them sparingly because the can be useful. For example, you can use them to refill your stamina bar or revive after dying in battle, to continue fighting, but frankly I think this is a waste, they are much better use to either summon new characters or to buy new spaces in your inventory for new characters.
Now let’s talk about unlocking characters, when you first start playing you have a basic character, but you can unlock others by playing, by paying or as a reward for completing certain goals. These characters can all be upgraded to various degrees. Often starting really low level, and you can make them stronger, although some have a preset maximum limit which you cannot increase past, these will often be base characters, for example the base Goku can only be increased so far, whereas Super Saiyan Goku is already stronger than the base version but can also be upgraded further still. As well as unlocking some characters, there are others you can earn using either friend points (which you earn by including guest characters in your team when battling) or Dragon Stones to buy top level characters.
I mentioned upgrading, this can be done either by training, where you use items and locations to increase your overall character stats, and once they are at their limit, you can Awaken them, to reach a new level, although as I’ve said each character have a preset maximum limit, which once reached cannot be surpassed. Something I will add, your natural inclination might be to make your team as strong as possible but there’s something called a team cost, which basically means the calculated level of each character on your team contributes to this score and it cannot go beyond a certain point, meaning that you might have to drop a heavy hitter from your team to replace them with someone weaker. Oh and if you decide to leave it blank, it will auto fill the spot with a generic weak normal character such as a Saibaman, so it’s wise to be careful. The team cost, however grows as you level up meaning you have more to spend and can add stronger characters to your team.
So those are the core elements of the game, and the massive variety of characters available mean you can build up your idea team, and even collect dozens, if not hundreds, of different variations of your favourite character. For example I currently hold a varation of Vegeta from his base form right up to Super Saiyan Blue. Which does bring me to a point I forgot to mention, when building a team you occasionally get boosts for having characters who are connected together, for example, they are all Saiyans, or are all related, or are all trained by Roshi, the Turtle Hermit.
So hopefully that’s a reasonably in depth analysis of the gameplay, and how it all works, all that’s left to say is that I have had a lot of fun, like a lot of these mobile games you are rewarded for login on daily, you can pay to get ahead but aren’t pushed to do so, and it’s a fun little game that allows you to battle and fight with your favourite characters from all of Dragon Ball. So I strongly suggest you play Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle, and I will give it a 6/10. Follow these links to download it on Android and iOS today.
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