A Dragon Ball game that isn’t a fighting game? That’s exactly the direction Namco Bandai went with Dragon Ball DS aka Dragon Ball Origins in other regions. The demo, currently sitting on Japan’s Nintendo Channel, begins with Goku chasing Chi Chi. You can move him by pointing an area on the touch screen or using the D-pad. Pigs, pink and blue pigs, are the man enemies Goku has to fight. You can tap with the stylus to punch or hit the fist icon on the bottom of the screen to switch to Goku’s power pole.
You can still poke enemies with the staff, but the pole is best used when extended. Touch Goku, slide the stylus forward and make a swiping motion to whack multiple pigs. The bottom screen has two meters. One of them is a life bar. The other is a stamina meter. If you haphazardly tap the screen Goku runs out of juice and has to wait for the meter to refill. This probably won’t be an issue since I played through the whole demo without running out of stamina normally. I had to purposely waste Goku’s stamina and even then it refilled fairly fast.
The screenshot above is a really good representation of what Dragon Ball DS looks like on an actual DS. The map stretches to the top screen. You can’t ever walk up there, it’s just used for scenery. And there is an invisible no man’s land represented by the black bar. Enemies can hide in between the two screens.
After I jumped on a few platforms by tapping on them I was greeted by fire breathing turtles. The turtles don’t take damage from regular attacks. (How did Chi Chi get past these?) You have to use power punches by tapping Goku to charge then tapping the turtle. A power punch knocks a turtle upside down and makes it vulnerable to a beat down
Once I finished punching through a few screens I caught up with Chi Chi and she attacked Goku. Young Chi Chi shoots lasers from her helmet that stun Goku if he gets hit. To recover you need to scratch the touch screen quickly before Chi Chi runs forward flailing her arms. If Goku isn’t stunned you can evade the attack with a teleportation tap. You need to be in fist mode to do use this move, but it lets players touch the screen right before attack and set up a counter. Chi Chi also throws the boomerang from the helmet which is easily dodged with a double tap roll. Yeah, the controls are very Phantom Hourglass-like.
When you beat Chi Chi the Dragon Ball DS demo breaks the fourth wall. Goku asks Chi Chi why she was running away and Chi Chi says she was running to get a copy of Dragon Ball DS. Goku asks what’s Dragon Ball DS and Chi Chi starts listing features and characters you meet. An amusing end to a short, but sweet demo. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how Atari handles this since Dragon Ball Origins is scheduled to come out this winter.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai.