Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is an action role-playing game released for the Nintendo Switch, developed by WayForward Technologies and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Bakugan is a Canadian-Japanese multimedia franchise introduced in 2007, focusing on spheres that convert into elemental monsters. The franchise was clearly intended as a competitor to Pokémon (though with some concepts borrowed from Transformers and Yu-Gi-Oh!) but it was a flop in Japan. The franchise went dormant in 2014, until Bakugan's owner Spin Master rebooted it in 2019, with the Bakugan: Battle Planet branding. Bakugan had numerous games published by Activision from 2009 to 2011, but Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is the reboot's first video game, initially released on November 3, 2020 in North America.
The game features a gimmicky battle system where the player needs to run over to BakuCores and throw them at their partner Bakugan, allowing them to charge their attacks. Instead of just pressing a button to collect the BakuCore, you actually have to connect with it in a specific way to pick it up. Making matters worse, the camera focuses on the Bakugan instead of the player, forcing the player to look at the bottom of the screen in order to concentrate.
Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia is easily one of the ugliest games on the Nintendo Switch; featuring low-poly models with cel-shaded textures, a mostly empty overworld, and screenshots from the accompanying cartoon used in the game's assets.
Since the game doesn't have much music, the "birds singing" sound effect is repeatedly played in the background. During dialogue scenes, the only actual sound playing is text scroll beeping.
Each Bakugan comes in multiple color variations denoting their element (for example, black and purple Bakugan belong to the Darkus attribute, whereas red and orange Bakugan possess the Pyrus attribute). This can be seen as a pretty obvious way of covering up the game's limited roster of creatures.
When battling online, the player's experience levels for their Bakugan are not scaled, meaning that high-leveled opponents can unfairly beat the player if their level is too low. Online mode also has no options or alternate modes to regular battling.
Bland sidequests offered by the few NPCs in the game, mostly consisting of "collect them all" missions where the player needs to collect soccer balls or hang up posters. Additionally, there is no mission objective marker on the screen, forcing players to use the map to find NPCs to talk to.
Misleading trailer: firstly, the trailers focus only on Leonidas (the Bakugan from the game Bakugan: Battle Brawlers), it could be the main Bakugan as shown in these trailers, but in the game, it is just a secondary Bakugan.
The Only Redeeming Quality
There is a customization option for the main character, with a surprisingly varied amount of clothes to choose from.