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Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! (Switch) Review

by Willem Hilhorst - December 23, 2021, 5:00 pm EST
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There’s no heart in these cards

Yu-Gi-Oh! is very near and dear to my heart. I am still actively collecting and battling with these trading cards after nearly twenty years. Throughout the format changes that Konami has implemented, there still is a unique playstyle to Yu-Gi-Oh! (YGO) compared to other trading card games like Magic the Gathering and Pokémon. That said, over the last few years it’s been interesting to see Konami experiment with new formats using the YGO IP for spin-off trading card games. First, there was the incredibly popular Duel Links, using a 3x3 format and adjusted rules for quick playing sessions on mobile devices. That was translated to a physical trading card version called Speed Duels, that used similar rules to Duel Links but has its own card-pool. Japan however, got an entirely new format a couple of years ago called RUSH DUEL. While word on the street is that this system will not make its way west in the physical form, Yu-Gi-Oh! RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! is possibly the first taste for duelers to try out this new format. The problem is that the game is so incredibly lackluster that it immediately banished all my interests for RUSH DUEL to the Shadow Realm.

RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! (RDBR) follows a format that is similar to earlier story-based YGO video games. You play as a generic character that just moved to the new city where a new dueling card game is sweeping the nation. This time around you become friends with the inventors of a new format called Rush Duel. You play Rush Duels against other citizens and collect points to buy packs. Rinse and repeat. While the game uses a sort of pleasing visual style, the world in which you travel from duel to duel is slow and cumbersome to navigate. The characters are incredibly annoying and are definitely geared towards a younger audience, although I’m still struggling to exactly nail down why these kids are so into dueling. My suspicion is that the game has to tie into the currently Japanese exclusive series but can’t interfere with a nameless player character. This gives RDBR very little personality and made me resent playing most of the time. Did I mention that the soundtrack is terrible too? It’s filled with repetitive tunes that pushed me to flip on a podcast as soon as possible.

So what makes Rush Duels stand out from the standard formats? There’s a couple of core differences, but the goal of the game remains the same: defeat your opponent by reducing their 8000 life points to zero. By summoning monsters you can defeat your opponents cards, and there’s spell and trap cards to boost your own monsters or resist your enemy’s creatures. Rush Duels are special because there’s no summoning limit. You can play as many cards from your hand as long as you can meet the summoning condition. This means that level 5 or above cards can be summoned almost immediately as long as you tribute a monster that you’ve already summoned. This does give the game a very fast-paced feel when your hand is dealt just right. What makes YGO sometimes a bit more methodical is that the summon limits in the traditional game need to be circumvented by special summons and other means, in order to keep as many monsters on the board as possible or combine them towards bigger monsters to outwit your opponent. That ties into the second change for Rush Duels, which is the drawing phase. Unlike regular YGO, at the beginning of your turn you get to refill your entire hand up to five cards. This would break a normal game of YGO, but since RDBR uses its own specific card pool, there are some interesting combinations you can quickly make. One example is sending monsters from your hand to the graveyard to chain their effects to allow you to summon even more monsters, without needing to draw new cards first. It’s definitely noticeable if you have played the original card game before, but this does come with the biggest drawback of the game: the card pool.

Because of these unique rules, Rush Duel uses its own cards that are different from the original trading card game. You may recognize some monsters, but most of the effects are changed to accommodate the new rules. This makes learning the decks pretty difficult if you are a YGO veteran. You need to remember what the new cards do and how to adapt to this new format. Where a Blue-Eyes White Dragon previously could’ve held you back on the first turn, now it’s a an easily summonable card that invites resistance from the opponent in new ways. You’d think this would make RDBR a lot of fun, but the constantly slow UI and card readability issues made every duel a slog to play through. You have to press a separate button to read the effects of cards in close-up and also sit through a few seconds of the game loading the card. The UI is simply not ideal to play a YGO game that requires you to read a lot of text.

Additionally, the new ruleset does “downgrade” the game, in my eyes. Whereas usually building towards those big boards with strong monsters is what makes YGO fun, in RDBR it's simply a matter of building a giant wall of monsters to hide behind or break through the other player’s wall. Since you can play all monsters from your hand in a single turn, put them in defense position so that you take no damage, and wait to draw a better hand, the game loses any of its tactics that makes it fun to outsmart opponents. It’s simply a matter of who has the biggest stick. It’s almost as if you’re showing up with your $500 deck to a local tournament and playing against a kid who has just bought a deck off the shelf. There’s not much fun in simply stomping on the competition without any thought.

This is where my entire experience with Yu-Gi-Oh! RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! just fell apart. The boring music, the simplistic graphics style, the awful UI-elements and these new rules that make battles a slog to sit through have made this game one of the worst YGO experiences I’ve ever had. Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is a fantastic battle simulator that pays homage to the anime and gives you so many cards to experiment with. RDBR locks you into a system that doesn’t seem to understand what has made YGO so diverse and fun to play. If anything, I’m glad we got Rush Duels out of the way since next year will see the release of a proper YGO card simulator in the form of Master Duel. If this is all we hear of Rush Duel in the West, that will be fine by me. With this Battle Royale, everyone ends up being the loser.


  • Functional introduction to Rush Duel format
  • Awful UI design during gameplay
  • Bad soundtrack pared with a mediocre visual style
  • Rush Duel format drops most of the fun of regular Yu-Gi-Oh! gameplay.

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Game Profile

Developer One More Level

Worldwide Releases

na: Yu-Gi-Oh! RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royale!!
Release Dec 07, 2021
jpn: Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Saikyou Battle Royale!!
Release Aug 12, 2021
eu: Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Rush: Dawn of the Battle Royale
Release Dec 07, 2021
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