Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare is a new mobile game from Bandai Namco that brings Gundam to the mobile market with battles and the hobby of building your own Gundam models. It’s a single-player mission-based game with an energy system and gacha draws for items. I decided stepped into this not sure what to expect and got drawn into not only the collecting of model parts but the story and gameplay. This is our Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare review.
Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare brings you combat missions, a light story inspired by Gunpla anime and a ridiculous amount of model parts and pilots to collect to build your very own Gundam model fighter. The story starts off with your character being the new guy to school and suddenly being thrust into the world of Gundam Gunpla battles. Gunpla is the nickname used to refer to Gundam plastic models and is generally what you’ll hear from people when they talk about putting together Gundam kits. In this story, high schoolers and adults put together their own Gundam models which can be used in virtual combat for tournaments or just to test your skills. Your character ends up being suckered into joining the schools Gunpla club which participates in these events and the like. The story itself isn’t very deep, but it provides a nice backdrop to the game with some fun characters and a few anime tropes along the way. Playing through the story mode actually has me interested in finally watching some of the various Gunpla anime that are out there.
Combat consists of a simulated battlefield with either just your Gundam or later a team of three models that you put together yourself with possible backup from online friends or characters from the story. You have a ranged weapon, a melee weapon and depending on what parts you have on your model you can skills that do attacks as well. Ranged weapons have limited ammo that reloads on a cooldown, but that you can get up close and personal with melee which is made easy for mobile gaming by just being close to the enemy player. The combat mechanics are fairly simple and easy to use on a phone. The depth comes from how you build you Gunpla though.
You can choose to play in story missions or hit up an event if one is happening to get access to limited time parts. There are also separate missions built specifically to help you level and gain money. The story will keep you busy for a good while, but taking breaks for events and to level is a good idea.
So, like any good Gacha game, there is a mechanic to try to get random Gundam parts and pilots. You can use friend points which you accumulate as people use your Gundam in their battles or use the in-game currency Haro Chips which can be gained through achievements and bought with real-life money. Parts and pilots vary in quality from basic white which can only get to level 10 or golden parts which can reach a max level of 80. Each part has a combat rating which increases as it levels and as it gets upgraded to higher qualities. You can in theory level a white item all the way to gold, but it would require special materials which are a bit hard to get. Each part not only has their own look based off of various Gundam anime but specific stats, possible Ex Skills, and passive skills. Ex skills come in many varieties like a self-heal or a back part that launches several torpedoes at your enemy. Passive skills are things that will say Ranged Fighter which if you have 5 parts with that listed in your build, you’ll get a passive bonus to your Gundam. This and pilots being able to specialize in a certain fighting style is what helps to add depth to the battles and how you may want to build your Gundam. As you collect more parts, you can unlock box art and pain themes associated with that particular model once you find all the parts it has. I was tempted at times to stick to a particular theme for my models but sometimes went for the best most badass parts instead.
The style of the game is really nice. Your hub is your room which is nicely put together. You could click simple links to go to specific areas or you could look around and enjoy the details. They have all your parts in a separate area still in plastic, an airbrush set aside for custom painting and your built models’ set up on a shelf. The music fits really well with the game especially in combat, it has a lot of jamming guitar riffs.
The biggest gripes I have come with the energy system. An energy system that rebuilds over time that you have to spend energy points to go on missions is the norm for Gacha games, but it feels like the overall max you start off with is pretty low and the regen time is slow. This is balanced by tickets that can refill the energy as you gain some achievements and as you level you max amount increases, but the max versus how much some of these missions cost seems a bit unbalanced. The RNG in getting parts is pretty high, but again you do get a fair amount of Haro Chips from achievements.