Game Reviews

Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket

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Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket

This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting a game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about. Click on the links to jump straight to day three or day seven.

I have always wanted to play a Yu-Gi-Oh! game. Ever since I saw them when they started coming out on the Game Boy Color I wanted to see what all the fuss was about - especially as I really enjoyed the few card-battlers I played at the time, such as SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash.

Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket is for your iOS device, and it's a free-to-play release from Konami, no doubt hopeful to muscle in on the ludicrous sums of money being made off of Rage of Bahamut and its ilk.

Is it any good, though, and does it deviate from the path laid down by most card-battlers? Join me for the next week as I find out.

First impressions

Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket seems like a straightforward enough game of cards. You're given a deck when you start, you put cards down on the table opposite your opponent's cards, and you must use them to reduce their life points to zero.

Each monster card has a number on it to signify how powerful it is. If your card is more powerful than your opponent's you destroy it and deal any remaining damage to him directly. Should the cards be equally powerful then both perish.

You can add spells behind your monster cards, and these are used to buff stats or directly deal damage to your opponent.

My favourite thing about the game so far is that once you've laid down all the cards for a round you tap a shiny button that has "Bam" written on it to start playing. I think that's brilliant, and every time I touch it I do so with a very emphatic prod.

Sometimes I shout "bam" as loudly as I can while I do it. It's the little things that matter.

The worst thing about the game, conversely, is the Power-Ups, which can only be used once. These are incredibly powerful, and drastically effect each battle they're used in. They're also available for purchase in the game's store.

I'm hoping they don't unbalance the game in the days to come.

Day 3: Gizmo

I'm thoroughly enjoying my time with Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket, despite a nagging sense that the game would very much like me to spend some money.

There are no adverts for third-party titles or anything horrid like that, but whenever you lose a battle you're shown the card that messed your game up, and asked whether you'd like to buy it.

The deck you start out with is fine for the first few stages, but after that you really need to start building it out by adding more cards. You can purchase booster packs of nine, use cards and currency to forge more powerful cards, sell cards to get currency to buy more cards, and win cards through battling.

You constantly feel rewarded for winning battles, but the payouts of currency are all quite minimal, and without spending money it's unlikely you're going to keep winning for very long.

However, I've made my peace with this fact, as this is a collectible card game, and a big part of any CCG's appeal is in the collection element.

I'm still trundling through the single-player, which is a very lengthy campaign, but over the next couple of days I'm going to re-focus my efforts and take on the world in the online multiplayer.

Day 7: The 5Ds: does 'dis deserve dat dough?

I bought the Pro upgrade from the store, and if you enjoy your time with the game I strongly recommend you do this too as it opens up more content. Going Pro grants you access to the PvP multiplayer that is inaccessible to players who haven't paid.

But I'm not entirely happy with the purchase. Admittedly, you get an injection of handy Duel Points to spend on more cards, but the multiplayer (the main reason you buy it) is underwhelming.

You're rewarded handsomely for victories over opponents you face, but you can only duel five times a day before having to pay more premium currency to continue. That seems like a slap in the face to me.

The multiplayer also allows you to use those power-ups I mentioned earlier, and that sucks worst of all because if you use enough of them you're going to win. Perhaps that's in the spirit of CCGs in general (as whoever has the better deck will usually be victorious) but it's still unfair.

The only other significant quibble I have with the game is that it's not conducive to showing new players the ropes, and tends to speed through battles without explaining why you're winning or losing.

If you play for long enough you start to pick up the finer points, but you'll need to be dedicated to do that, or have a pal to explain the systems at work.

Yet for fans of the various anime, manga, and card games that Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket is based upon, that won't matter too much.

The freemium element does add a layer of doubt to the order of the deck you deal and to the extremely tough encounters you'll face, but otherwise this is a good representation of the core ideas of the franchise: collecting, battling, and strange art direction.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.

Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket

The freemium element isn't handled as well as it could be, but this is a decent game of cards with lasting appeal
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.