There has been a long line of games based on the Beyblade manga series, which focuses on young people who battle each other using beyblades: spinning tops imbued with the power of magical spirits. Today we spent a little time at the Konami booth checking out the latest game in the series: Beyblade: Metal Masters for the DS.
At the beginning of the demo, we chose a small team of characters and clicked our way through a few screens of anime-styled art and text that set up the situation. Our heroes had received a letter from a mysterious character named Agito, informing them of the upcoming Beyblade World Championship. Evidence suggested that this Agito might be up to no-good, so the brave young characters determined that they had to win battles to climb up the beyblade ranks and find this Agito. Following this story sequence, we found ourselves launched into a series of beyblade battles.
Before each battle, we had a total of three seconds to mash three buttons. Mashing each button improved one of three attributes of our beyblade in the upcoming match: speed, power, and timing. Because inputs don't register if you try to mash multiple buttons at once, you're encouraged to prioritize the attributes that you value the most (filling up the meters for power and speed, for instance, before mashing on the timing button), which lends this simple process a bit of a tactical consideration.
During matches, we used the control pad to move our spinning top around an arena, dashing into the opposing beyblade in an attempt to cause damage or knock it out of the arena. One button called up a shield but prevented us from moving, and some combinations of button presses and directional inputs resulted in special attacks. For instance, one of the beyblades we used in combat briefly sprouted wings and sped some distance forward, while a beyblade we battled against summoned a dragon spirit that shot straight up out of the ground. We also experienced one head-on clash with an opposing top that resulted in a prompt to mash a button, and our successful mashing of said button stunned our opponent for a brief period of time.
After one battle, we earned something called a fusion wheel, which had wind properties. We didn't get to spend time tinkering with this component, but a representative indicated that in the full game, players will get to do quite a bit of beyblade customization as they progress through the story and unlock new components. The full game will also feature multiplayer competition so that players can pit their customized beyblades against each other, and it seems like that might be where the combat is at its best.
The battles felt a bit slow and simple during our time with the game, but we were only able to scratch the surface; the action may reveal plenty of depth as you progress. With 37 playable characters, plenty of customization options, and competitive multiplayer, Beyblade: Metal Masters may have a lot to offer. We'll bring you more on this game as its projected fall release approaches.