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Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare- First Impressions

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With the dominance of games like Fate/Grand Order and Love Live, it seems like any IP with a deep enough roster is getting a mobile game. When it comes to big rosters of iconic characters an a dedicated fanbase, one can look no further than Bandai’s Gundam series.

One of the more popular entries in the Gundam franchise is the Gundam Breaker games, a series of hack-n-slash RPGs where you get to build your own Gunpla (model kits based on Gundam). Naturally, its more mass appeal as well as ability to pander to even the nichest fans of Gundam makes it a shoe-in for the basis of a mobile game.

Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare is that attempt to take the magic of the Gundam Breaker games and put them on mobile.

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Gundam 9:16

The most jarring thing about this game is that it plays in a vertical phone setting. I cannot possibly fathom why, but it makes the whole game feel wholly uncomfortable. Important information feels bunched up, and the controls feel very limited due to the amount of real estate on the screen. Worse still, I can’t think of one good thing from this as a result.

Gameplay wise, it’s important to have some context when it comes to tempering expectations. For one,  Gundam Breaker’s experience definitely wouldn’t be ported over to mobile. That’s fine. However, as a mobile action game, Gundam Battle really struggles with actually being any fun. The missions are very short, and combat feels about as nuanced as a stop sign.

While I’ll admit I haven’t gotten past the first few story chapters, it’s pretty telling if you can complete a game’s first few missions without ever actually remembering what you did. Chances are, it’s a game who’s idea of “hard” is bullet sponges.

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Customization

Of course, the main appeal of this game would be its customization. You get to build your own Gunpla, just like all the characters from Build Fighters. Breaker has a particularly praise-worthy level of customization, and if this game’s meant to echo it, it should too, right?

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Customization in this game is pretty simple, with all your gunpla’s parts being swappable with each other to make the mecha of your dreams. Each one of these have stats for you to promptly ignore while you make the Super Wam Buster Zaku. On this level, the game’s customization is inoffensive.

However, the game seems to have locked color customization out from the player’s hands. Rather than having a whole palette to choose from, you’re stuck choosing from pre-made color schemes (the start of the game only gives you a GM and Zaku-themed choices).

On top of that, you can’t really control what parts you’re going to get. Now, I want you to think about mobile games and wonder how you get new parts if not from grinding.

Yup, Gacha.

The end result is a customizable fighter where you can’t control what parts you get, you can’t control what colors you want and the actual gameplay is so lackluster you wonder why this app is still on your phone.

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Final Thoughts

Honestly, the one thing I wanted from this game was some sense of fun in building my gunpla. Not having the ability to set colors may sound like a nitpick, but for a game like Gundam Breaker it’s a really important part of the experience. Charging into battle with only the colors the game allowed you to choose instead of your own gaudy beast may as well be no color choice at all.

The combat’s also boring, and can’t really hide behind “but its on mobile” as an excuse since Honkai Impact does combat really well.

Literally the only thing this game has going for it is that it’s on mobile, but between the weird loading for new parts and uncomfortable resolution even that’s a barely-positive. I give this game the same thing I give any bad reiteration of another series: at best, you can use it as a gateway drug to get your friends into the good stuff.