Beyblade and Beyblades (fancy spinning tops, basically) have been around since I was a young'un. Their form may have changed from the bulky designs I grew up with - transforming into sleeker, more streamlined builds - but the concept hasn't changed one bit.
Focusing on the 'Metal Saga' of the Beyblade anime, Beyblade: Evolution aims to capture the thrills of spinning-top battling that captured fans' attention in the TV series.
And, for the most part Intergrow, SIMS, and Rising Star Games have managed to pull that off.
Let it rip
Taking up the role of a young 'Blader' (i.e., someone who battles Beyblades), you set out to rise to the top and become the Beyblade World Champion.
It certainly sounds simple enough, but you've only got 50 turns to do this in and the opponents, rivals, and friends you come across all have something up their sleeve to throw at you along the way.
And you've got the crushing monotony of battles to deal with too. This is largely due to battles boiling down to little more than firing off your Beyblade into a Beystadium and just watching it spin. It rarely does much more than stay in one spot or circle your opponent.
Different stadium types do offer up some variety, and the ability to boost performance through recharging 'Bey Spirit' gauges adds a layer of interactivity to battles too. However, the real meat of the gameplay comes from what happens before you enter the arena.
Think of each battle as a war of attrition. You have to select Beyblades that work against your opponents effectively, and usually this means creating your own 'deck' and acquiring parts along the way.
While the system for creation is reasonably straightforward -requiring you to pick a face bolt, energy ring, metal wheel, track, and performance tip - there are thousands of combinations available.
There's much tinkery enjoyment to be had in trying to build the best Beyblade you can for every situation you're thrust into.
Intergrow and SIMS have also put the 3DS's features commendably to use, even if the game undoes some of this good work by overcomplicating things.
For a start, the 3D effects are absolutely superb, which helps to make the battles feel deep and grounded, almost as though they're playing out in a Beystadium in front of you.
However, Beyblade Evolution's compulsory motion-sensing elements pretty much put paid to the 3D. What makes this particularly tragic is the fact that flicking and tilting your 3DS to launch and aim your shots isn't that fun. Thankfully, you can at least press A to launch.
Ultimately, Beyblade: Evolution is a wonderful piece of fan-service with some strong ideas to boot. Its use of deep Beyblade customisation helps with the tiresome battles, but it's hard to escape the fact that the entire game revolves around something as dull as spinning tops.