LBX box art good.jpgInsipired by the extremely popular Japanese animated television series of the same name, LBX: Little Battlers eXperience is an action role-playing game from Japanese role-playing designer LEVEL-5 for the Nintendo 3DS. Build, customize, and battle your pocket-sized robots using more than 130 different models, in access of 4,000 parts, with over 30,000 possible designs. Your ideas are virtually limitless!

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Developer: Level-5

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Action role-playing

ESRB Rating: E10+ For Everyone ages 10 and up

Follow the adventures of a boy and his pocket-sized robot

LBX: Little Battlers eXperience takes place in the year 2050, where pocket-sized robots purchased at retail stores have become widely popular amongst children. These pocket-sized robots, called LBX, are used to fight in friendly, competitive battles amongst other LBX players. You follow the adventures of Van Yamano, a 13 year old boy, whose father created the pocket-sized robots, and has since thought to have been killed in a sudden plane crash.

Van, has been given a powerful and top-secret LBX code named AX-00, but this is no ordinary pocket-sized robot. It contains a platinum capsule, holding many technological secrets that will help shape the fate of the world. It is up to Van, along with his friends to protect the technological secrets from falling into the wrong hands, stop a government conspiracy, and keep the world safe.

Van’s friends, who accompany him on his journey to save the world, are colourful, unique, and extremely charming. Take for example Kaz Walker, an LBX expert, who is a childhood friend of Van and will do anything to help his friends. You’ll also meet Amy Cohen, who is a delightful lavender haired girl with dark violet eyes, who is an avid LBX player, childhood friend, and won’t who take flak from anyone.

LBXCharacters.jpg

Game Play

city.jpgIn LBX: Little Battlers eXperience, you’ll spend a fair amount of time exploring shops, arcades, homes, schools, alleyways, and talking to people in your home town of Tokio. The city is laid out so that it is easy to navigate, with an on screen arrow guiding you to your next location, you’ll easily be able to find your way around town.

As with many Japanese based role-playing games, the story in LBX: Little Battlers eXperience is advanced by battling others, finding special items by completing side-quests, and traversing dungeon like areas with random battle encounters. What sets this game apart from other Japanese role-playing games are the unique real-time battles you have with your LBX, and the amazing amount of customization that you can perform on your LBX. Battles take place in a specially engineered cardboard box across 20 different arenas ranging from open plains, to deserts and my personal favourite a gigantic volcano that spews lava all over. Totally cool!

A real-time combat system with a twist

Battles can take occur in many different forms ranging from one on one, three versus three, to even a best three out of five scenario. You and up to three of your friends in your party can battle it out using swords, axes, pistols, rifles, and even rocket launchers to defeat your foes. As you can image these battles can get quite chaotic and can get your adrenaline pumping!

The real-time combat system in LBX: Little Battlers eXperience, is further enhanced by the use of a tension gauge, which is essentially a metre that depletes when your LBX jumps, attacks, or uses speed dashes during battle. When your tension gauge is completely drained your attacks will do little to no damage on your enemies. No need to worry, as the gauge will recharge over time. The tension gauge adds a degree of strategy to your battles, instead of just blindly pressing all the buttons you’ll have to watch your opponent, and time your attacks. This results in you having to use a mix of defensive and offensive tactics that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Stunning levels of customization

customization.jpgJust as battles are important in LBX: Little Battlers eXperience, customizing and tuning your pocket-sized robot is as equally important. By battling other LBX players and completing side-quests, you’ll earn money that you can use to purchase a one of the many items available to customize almost every aspect of your LBX to your liking.

Equipping items and parts at first can become tiresome, due to navigating through all the menus and sub menus. Luckily, you’ll quickly learn which menus you will need to navigate to in order to get the job done. A great feature included, is the ability to create and save loadouts for your LBX. This comes in handy as items of characters who leave your party are unable to be used and equipped on reaming party members. Once the party member is gone just load up the particular loadout for your LBX and you are set.

Presentation

Level-5 spared no expense when designing and producing LBX: Little Battlers eXperience on the Nintendo 3DS. Character models are cel-shaded and detailed, environments are detailed, and the cutscenes are superbly animated and drawn. In most instances, the cutscenes are better than the animated TV show. They are that good! I was totally blown away by the amazing amount of spoken dialogue, a monumental feat for a 3DS game.

The soundtrack in LBX: Little Battlers eXperience accompanies the on screen action nicely. As a result LBX: Little Battlers eXperience is a faithful re-creation of the popular animated TV show, which will delight any fan.

Battling with friends and family

lbx-10.jpgLBX: Little Battlers eXperience offers a multiplayer option that allows up to six players to team-up with friends, or destroy each other in battle. Unfortunately, the multiplayer option is limited to local wireless only with no online functionality. What this means is each player must have their own copy of the game and be connected to the same wireless network as you are.

That being said, when you do have a group of friends over, multiplayer is an absolute blast! My wife, son, and myself spent many late nights battling against each other, the time just flew by. We even found a local Little Battlers eXperience group in my town, where there are always new people to battle.

Final thoughts

LBX: Little Battlers eXperience is a type of game that you can pick up and play on the go for 15-20 minutes at a time, or sit down and play for hours upon end. The content is nothing short of mind shattering, you can spend hundreds of hours playing this game to unlock everything it has to offer.

Not to be outdone, Nintendo and Level-5 expanding the amount of content in the game every week with free downloadable content until June 2016. Without a doubt, if you are looking for a fun game that will keep you entertained for hours LBX: Little Battlers eXperience is right up your your alley.

+ Stunning levels of customization
+ Fun story
+ Hundreds of hours of gameplay

– local only multiplayer combat
– navigating through menus to equip items can become tiresome

OVERALL

Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

Overall Rating 4.25/5 (85%)