Bakugan is quickly becoming the latest hit amongst anime character battle games. It has been selling quickly in toy stores across the U.S. and Canada, and was named one of the top toys of 2008 by Time Magazine and Newsday.
Much like Pokemon, Bakugan features both a cartoon show as well as a card game with many accessories to accompany it. The show can be seen on Cartoon Network and features the cards and marble characters who are portrayed as beings from another dimension.
The game components that I received for review include:
- The Bakugan Battle Arena
- A Bakugan Starter Pack in red, which includes three red Bakugan marbles, three character cards, and instructions outlining how to play the game
- Five additional Bakugan marbles and character cards in blue, green, brown, red, and grey
Each card represents a Bakugan Battle Brawler character. Each Bakugan piece consists of a marble that is rolled across the battle arena until it lands on a Bakugan card, thereby unlocking and transforming the playing piece into a particular fighting position. When two marbles from opposing players land on the same card, there is a simulated ‘battle’ that determines which player captures that particular card. There are numbers on the marble pieces as well as on the cards that indicate the scoring. A quick series of scoring calculations from the numbers on the cards and marbles determines who wins each battle, and ultimately, the game.
When Spin Master toys sent me the latest Bakugan Battle Brawlers game and accessories for review, I went directly to the experts closest to me — my daughter and my nephew. My four-year-old daughter played the game with me first. Although the math involved in keeping score of the battle rankings was a bit beyond her at this age, it certainly wouldn’t pose a problem for older kids, and it didn’t interfere with her enjoyment of competitively shooting marbles across the battle arena game board until they landed on a card and opened up into a Bakugan character. She now asks to play Bakugan constantly, and has told all of her friends about her new game.
My nephew, being more a fan of the old school Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, ventured his opinion that the toy was likely a knock-off of the predecessors in this genre. However, the jury is still out in that respect, since he has not actually watched much of the show or played the game yet, and I suspect that at the age of nine, he may simply be outgrowing the lure of this toy category. We’ll have to see what happens when his younger cousin attempts to eagerly corner him into a Bakugan battle brawl the next time that they see each other.