We had a grand plan with Digimon All-Star Rumble. We aren’t huge fans of the show at Gamestyle and knew we were unlikely to get into the game all that much, however we still wanted to give it a fair review. So we handed it off to an eight year old. The idea was simple, let the boy play the game, then get a video review… Unfortunately that didn’t go quite so well, as he became camera shy.
However this review is still based on the thoughts of this games target audience…kids.
From a parent’s point of view, especially a parent who is a gamer, it is clear to see that the mechanics within Digimon All-Star Rumble are sound, there is nothing that is over complicated, the general controls for moving around, taking actions, fighting and even camera controls are all solid. So that is the boring bit out of the way, it should be something your child can pick up and play.
The game is pretty much split up into two parts. First you wander about various levels, before arriving at a trigger point that sets up an arena battle between your Digimon and your opponent. Or as my son put it…”It’s Skylanders mixed with Super Smash Bros”
In all fairness, there isn’t a better description for the game. The wandering around bits are very much like Skylanders and maybe a bit of Knack with the linearity, before entering arena battles that share a fair view characteristics with Super Smash Bros.
Now that is not to say this is as good as Super Smash Bros, because it clearly isn’t and even my son said as much. But you can’t argue the influence was there and to be fair to the developers here, despite being a not quite as good version of Super Smash Bros, it was still entertaining to play and that is what counts.
The merging of the wandering sections and the arena battles works pretty well, as whilst you wander you still encounter enemies you fight and beat in real time, rather than switching to the arena sections and they are entertaining enough with various pick ups and secrets along the way. Again nothing spectacular, but it was able to keep the attention of a child.
The only confusing part, that needed some help from dear old Dad, was how the cards worked and why you used them. Cards can be found, won or bought within the game (no micro-transactions, so don’t worry about that) and then applied to the Digimon to give them extra powers, bonuses and what not. It works well and is simple enough in the end, but it may well go over a child’s head initially.
Away from the main story mode, which is pretty short and can be clocked in a few short hours, but is a good length for a child to feel they have accomplished something. There are the training and arena modes. Training is just that, a chance to practice various move-sets without any risk or reward. Arena Battles are where the fun can really be had.
It is the basic set up of jump in, select your Digimon and fight. The fights are the best part of the game and this is where you will spend most of your time. In fact, whilst initially the idea was to play a little to get a grip on certain mechanics for the review, it soon became clear that it was a great little game to play with a younger family member.
After the initial games for review purposes, it soon became a game that would add some competition to game night. All of us are playing and having games of winner stays on and do you know what? After initially having little interest in the game when it arrived, it became something we had more fun playing than anticipated.
Digimon All-Star Rumble is a top example of how broad games can be, that it is possible to make a good game that is aimed at a child or a non-gamer that is easily accessible. It clearly isn’t going to be for the Call of Duty, FIFA or World of Warcraft crowd, but it was never meant to be. I good kid’s game, that doesn’t insult their intelligence.