Bakugan Battle Brawlers

Common Sense Media says

Shallow card/strategy game promotes the Bakugan brand.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main message here is that card games and monster battles are fun. There is a spirit of camaraderie among the main characters when they chat with and help one another, but it’s overwhelmed by the constant focus on Bakugan battles.

Positive role models

The kids in the game are nice enough and their mission is to save the universe from evil entities, but they don’t seem to be interested in anything other than Bakugan and card games. In fact, some have become online celebrities (within the game) for their card playing prowess.

Ease of play

It’s a strategy game, so there are plenty of rules to learn. A quick 15 minute tutorial does a good job of distilling the basics, but players will likely continue to learn tactics well into in the story and multiplayer modes.

Violence & scariness

The Bakugan take the form of various humanoid and animal monsters. Human-like Bakugan are covered in armor and might shoot beams of light from their hands or have long claws with which they can slash. Animal monsters could be based on anything from scorpions to dinosaurs and often attack by charging or using magic. Players don’t see contact, but rather animations that depict aggressive movements and bright flashes of light. Monsters that have been struck often stagger back or fall to the ground. There is no blood or gore.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is based on the Bakugan card game and Bakugan Battle Brawlers anime television show. The protagonists are kids who play with the cards. Clearly, the video game exists to help promote the card game and television show, and vice versa.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bakugan Battle Brawlers is tied to a television show of the same name as well as a card game popular with young boys. The game’s young protagonists are, in fact, kids who collect these cards and use them in tournaments. Some of the best are called “battle brawlers” and have attained celebrity status online. It’s a clear case of massive cross promotion, with the likely result that a child who has experienced one Bakugan property will want in on the rest. As for game content, there is plenty of fantasy violence of the Pokemon variety, which is to say players see Bakugan monsters snarling, swinging claws, and using magic, but we don’t really see actual contact. There’s simply a bright flash of light, with the losing monster staggering and perhaps falling down. Note, though, that the monsters are a bit fiercer than those in Pokemon games.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Based on the popular television show and card game, both of which are geared for young boys, BAKUGAN BATTLE BRAWLERS features children using Bakugan cards in battle. The story involves Bakugan -- ball-shaped beasts that transform into monster-like creatures when they touch cards -- that have come to Earth and are in the midst of a massive conflict of good and evil. One of the good Bakugan, named Leonidas, befriends a boy just learning how to play the card game and joins forces with him. The game itself is similar to other fantasy-based card games in that players play cards by tossing them into an arena, then throw in their Bakugan, trying to land them on the cards. Should two opposing Bakugan land on the same card a battle starts, with players doing things like seeing who can shake their remotes more quickly or tap buttons in time with on-screen cursors more accurately. (We tried the DS version as well and it felt much the same as the Wii edition, only with different battle activities, such as rubbing the screen with the stylus as quickly as possible.)

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There’s little doubt kids who love the Bakugan television show and card game will want to play the video game as well, and they’ll probably enjoy it. The question is whether it’s because it’s a fun, well designed game, or simply because they recognize and covet anything that’s part of the Bakugan license. Chances are it’s the latter.

While Bakugan Battle Brawlers is relatively easy to learn for a strategy game and has a nice quick pace, it has very little meat on its bones. There are only three battle types -- shaking, timing, and shooting (which has players pointing at floating icons and pressing the A button) -- and they’re all pretty shallow. The strategy involved in selecting ability cards, how you toss your Bakugan, and picking up power-up items on the battlefield adds a bit of depth, but not enough. Consequently, it feels more like an interactive ad for the Bakugan brand than a full-fledged game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of cross-marketing. Do you understand that one of the primary reasons games like this exist is to promote the products upon which they are based? Do you think that Bakugan Battle Brawlers can offer an engaging experience for kids who haven’t seen the show or played the card game with which it is associated?

  • Families can also discuss strategy card games. What about them makes them so appealing? The act of collecting cards? The pursuit of the perfect deck? The actual play? The socializing that goes along with playing? The fantasy and imagination involved? Does a video game capture these elements?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi
Price:$29.99-49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:October 20, 2009
Genre:Strategy
ESRB rating:E for Fantasy Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Bakugan Battle Brawlers was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bymadelineshadowrose January 2, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

not for girls

I had minor issues with the fact that there's no gender choice I had to play as a boy
Kid, 11 years old January 5, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 
It's awsome! This game is what made me a bakugan fantic! But in one part, dan charges you for bakugan training. Wich I think is kinda weird. But other than that, AWSOME!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 18, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
This game is OK.The game has a lot of rules and complicated controls to learn but it just requires practice. The game's constant focus on only playing Bakugan can get tiring so you really like the game or really like Bakugan. Most girls think this game is sexist because when making your avatar, you can only make a boy character, so the game puts female Bakugan fans down. Like I said before, the game has lots of complicated controls and has some intense battle sequences, so its more for kids 8 and up.

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