''You have earned a next-generation Beyblade!''
When I was still young and more into watching television on a regular basis, I used to watch a show called Beyblade. Its concept was to pit children against one another by using spinning top toys with magical creatures inside to fight. While I liked watching it, I eventually realized how silly the concept was and grew out of it. Beyblade is back to haunt me, and this game was sadly dull.
The story in Beyblade: Evolution is nothing to be truly impressed by. You are the new Beyblade player in town and ready to show the world what you are made of. On your road to becoming the Beyblade World Champion, you will make new friends and compete in many tournaments. What do you gain by winning these battles? Beyblade parts. These become handy as you give your tools to victory the upgrades they deserve.
At first, everything seems quite functional and even sometimes enjoyable. Before hitting the proper gear, you first do some planning, as you begin by aiming with the gyroscope to decide where your Beyblade should land. Then you pull the system towards you physically and let it rip. The positioning is important, because the different types of blades react differently in certain areas of the environment. For example, If you are handling an attack unit, it is better to place the Beyblade closer to the edge of the field. However, this is risky, as going outside the field means a quick game over.
At the end, though, positioning won't decide your final outcome, and the only real influence you have is with the spirit power on the touchscreen. Here you see the spirit meter slowly increase and, with enough time, it becomes pretty powerful. To use the spirit power, you will have to aim at your blade and give it the energy it needs. The outcome is determined by doing this at the correct time and, with some luck, you will send the opponent's Beyblade out of the ring. They can do the same to you however, so you need to be on your toes and pay attention.
The major problem with the main mode is that the launch positioning and spirit power are the only things you actively do, and this becomes irritating pretty quickly. You will see new locations, but you only select them on the bottom screen; traveling to new locations is otherwise non-interactive. You hop from battle to battle in Beyblade: Evolution, and repeatedly doing the same thing gets boring after a while. In an attempt to break up the monotony, the developers have implemented some minigames, but these didn’t make the game any more fun to me. You will go through simplistic obstacle courses or take quizzes on sections of the Beyblade. Yes, the journey is as saddening as it sounds.
There are other elements to this game, like the option to compete with others. Multiplayer proves quite novel and fun for a little while, as you shout at your opponent in hope that your blade will win. But after a number of rounds and experimenting with as many parts as we could, nothing enticed us to return. Toying around with these options was really interesting though, and surprisingly well done, so the game has the potential to provide a collect-and-change addicting feel. Through StreetPass, you are also able to play against the data of other people. It doesn't really take the same strategies as an actual player would and it is more like something you would encounter during the regular course of play. Of course, you will see the other player's pimped up Beyblade, and that makes it an adequate implementation.
The game really looks impressive when you are playing in the battlefields, as the 3D really pops and sometimes makes the experience exciting. The problem is that you use the motion controls so much, which interferes with your ability to see the 3D effect. The music is okay, but nothing that makes the Nintendo 3DS push any boundaries. You will mostly hear synthesized rock which, like the gameplay, quickly becomes repetitive.
It seems that the developers of Beyblade: Evolution really tried to make a game that focuses purely on an authentic Beyblade experience, but this means they have made a dull and repetitive game. It does look quite impressive and, at moments, some of the features are actually quite cool. Unfortunately, most of the game is underwhelming.