World Meh-ssion – Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission Review
Developers: SAFARI GAMES Co., Ltd., Dimps Corporation
Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission is the first Dragon Ball Heroes game to come stateside since it first debuted in Japan 8 years ago, and it shows. The game is riddled with problems under the hood that are indicative of its age, but it is held together by a mildly interesting, if extremely repetitive card game at its core.
Players take control of Beat, a newcomer to Hero Town, a town obsessed with the Super Dragon Ball Heroes card game, a fictional card game that exists in this world. The heroes of Dragon Ball are fictional in this universe, but when a villain appears from the fictional Dragon Ball universe to wreak havoc in the “real world” it is up to Beat and a ragtag group of heroes to team up with their Hero Switches, which are essentially Power Ranger morphers that let the heroes enter the game world. The story is incredibly bare bones and straight forward, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for in pure fan service. The villain, Sealas, is causing anomalies in the timeline of the Dragon Ball world leading to wacky alternate versions of stories and battles seen in the main series like Vegeta going Super Saiyan when first arriving on Earth, Frieza coming to Earth before Goku leaves for Namek, and my personal favorite, Super Saiyan Nappa! (Yes, he looks exactly how you think he would) The story in SDBH is an absolute treat for fans watching these crazy “What If” scenarios play out, but don’t expect anything as fun in the main story.
The main focus of the game is the in-world card game, Super Dragon Ball Heroes. Players make a team of characters from character cards collected from the in-game shop, in-game Gacha machines, and through general gameplay. Once the battle begins players move each character two different lanes on the map. Characters in the front row can attack, and characters in the back row can heal and prepare for the next fight. The side with the most power in the front row can attack first. Characters will go into attack animations and one of the many QTEs will begin, called a charge impact. Press A and fill a bar higher than your opponent to increase damage, use super moves, and activate various other effects. These QTEs range from pressing buttons, tapping, swiping, and rubbing on the touch screen to achieve various status effects. Likewise, on the defense, you can fill that bar to decrease damage taken.
SDBH is based on an eight year old game and it definitely shows. The graphics aren’t great, and the animations are stiff and repeat themselves a dozen times over. It also gets very repetitive to see the same attack animations over and over again, especially when you find a team that works and won’t be switching them out anytime soon. The problem with the gameplay of the card game is that with all the mechanics added in like; pairing certain characters together for special team up attacks, and positioning characters in certain ways on the board for bonus effects, it all really boils down to having the cards with the biggest numbers on your team. All the strategy in the game gets thrown out the window when this is all that matters. Seeing your team dominate is satisfying and makes the game more about how badly you can beat the opponent rather than if you are going to win or not. Especially if you get the early unlock code from the physical Hero Edition on the Switch. Those character cards allow you to blow through the first half of the game without much effort.
The game also features an online battle mode, the aforementioned shop and Gacha modes, and a card creator mode. The card creator mode is surprisingly well balanced and doesn’t let you make anything TOO broken, and it is fun to make wacky and wild combinations like a Hercule who can use a Kamehameha.
Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission is a mishmash of disparate parts that struggle to work together individually or together as a whole. It bounces back and forth between enjoyable and monotonous at a rate that will be tolerable based solely on your level of love for the Dragon Ball franchise. The more you love Dragon Ball, the easier it will be to get through some of the monotonous bits, and it is fun to see the different takes on the Dragon Ball mythos. Despite all this, Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission is enjoyable enough as a fusion of Dragon Ball fan fiction and a fun, if not strategically deep, card game. If you are interested in purchasing the game, I would recommend getting the physical Hero Edition on the Switch as it comes with four exclusive cards for the Dragon Ball Super Card Game, and as a fan of the physical tabletop game, I am very happy to have them in my collection. The physical print run of the Hero Edition is very limited as well, so the cards will only go up in value.
This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.