Having just picked up LBX yesterday, I wanted to share some quick impressions in case anyone’s on the fence about buying it. Keep in mind, these are from roughly two hours of play.
• The whole game feels big. Big soundtrack. Big environments. Big character models. Big arenas. It’s my absolute favorite type of handheld game - one that feels bigger than the system it’s on. Something which makes you feel like you’re somehow holding a console and widescreen television in your hands. (Some other examples of this type of game: God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Gravity Rush.)
• Something about the general air of the game...I dunno...it’s like it never stopped being the late nineties or early aughts as far as LBX is concerned. You’ll just have to take my word for it...but much like Solatorobo, the game feels as if it would have been very much at home on the original PlayStation or as an earlier offering on the PlayStation 2.
• The graphics are very nice. Big and colorful and cartoony. The characters - despite the by-the-numbers quality of many - still manage to have fairly distinct styles to their design. The animation thus far has been rock solid.
• The soundtrack and voice-overs are all very well done. The music in particular has that distinctive 80s/90s anime flair to it.
• My recollection of Custom Robo Arena is incredibly hazy, but this game seems comparable in terms of combat. Though LBX definitely leans (if only slightly) more towards the ARPG end of the spectrum. All actions draw from a single cool down bar.
• The battles have been fun, though not especially strategic. Still, I’m very early on in the game.
• Customization...honestly, it’s too early to tell. But it’s there. And how it’s handled definitely adds to the whole “I’m playing with tiny robots” feel of LBX.
• Once again, a fully localized game with no option to turn off subtitles. Why?
• The fully animated cutscenes are up to Level-5’s usual standard of quality. Nothing mind-blowing, but certainly as good as a higher-end television series.
On a personal note, I’m quite happy to finally see this series localized. I was super bummed when the original PSP title never materialized in the States. And for the longest time was under the impression the property had kinda fizzled in Japan, too. I never realized it had gone on to spawn four or five more titles. Which kinda makes me wonder what the issue in localizing the original was in the first place - as it would’ve dropped during the PSP’s second wind.
At any rate, my recommendation to anyone debating whether or not to purchase LBX is to just go ahead and grab a copy. In terms of production value and general fun, LBX definitely falls into the upper-tiers of the 3DS library. Fans of Custom Robo or collect ‘n battle games will certainly find something to enjoy, too.