Review: One Punch Man World Is A Thrilling Fighting Game With A Surprising Amount of Depth
Image via Crunchyroll Games

Review: One Punch Man World Offers a Surprising Amount of Depth

When One Punch Man: World was first announced, I was a bit apprehensive as I’ve always had a slight bias against mobile games with heavy action at the center of their gameplay. While I know projects such as Genshin Impact have long proven that intense combat can be incredible on mobile platforms, I’ve mainly found myself opting out for console versions of these titles. I was surprised when I discovered that One Punch Man: World is one of the best fighting games with adventure elements I’ve played in some time.

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Full disclosure: I am a casual fighting game player at best. So, this review will be from the perspective of someone who is familiar with the genre, but isn’t a master at it by any means. That said, I had a blast with my time playing One Punch Man: World. At its core, the game is anchored by a campaign that is currently divided into seven “arcs.” Each one centers around a specific hero’s story and is broken into “episodes” with heavy cutscenes.

However, what surprised me was the depth of the game’s world outside of these episodes. While most of the Main Story is anchored at the Hero Association headquarters hub, players travel to various locations outside, such as “City A.” It’s here that you can really get lost for hours. Towards the beginning of the game, you get to experience the city from the perspective of Smile Man and Lightning Max as they patrol the town. Throughout City A, there are NPCs with side quests that have a wide range of objectives, from fetch quests to puzzles to even full-out boss battles.

Screenshot of NPCs in One Punch Man: World
Screenshot by Siliconera

In One Punch Man: World, most of the missions are broken into Biography and Side quests. With Biography, the missions are centered on a specific hero. Playing these gives you a deeper insight into the protagonists as you get to experience a self-contained story connected to the hero. In contrast, Side quests are picked up from random NPCs throughout the overworld. While these aren’t as in-depth plot-wise, they are worth taking on as the stories tied to them are often interesting, and they give you rewards such as Team XP and in-game currency.

One of the more clever quest types in the game is NPCs talking about their past experiences with villains. As you listen to their story, the game has you jump into the flashback and take on the villain in an epic boss battle. The idea is that the heroes are learning new intel on villains by listening to the citizens’ experiences of the city. I really liked this combat integration, as it gives players a good pace of action between side content.

As I explored the city, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the cozy vibes of the Yakuza series, particularly how it handles its side quests with bizarre and humorous situations. For example, one of the early quests in One Punch Man: World has Smile Man trying to figure out the mystery of why the city thinks he dined and dashed a local udon restaurant. After interviewing various citizens, you eventually discover there is an imposter on the loose. Even small quests like his ooze with personality and do a good job of fleshing out the world. These were fun enough that I always went out of my way to clear any Biography or Side quests I saw on my overworld map.

Screenshot of Smile Man in One Punch Man: World
Screenshot by Siliconera

What impressed me the most about One Punch Man: World is the mobile title’s gameplay. While I’m not usually fond of touchscreen controls, I think Crunchyroll Games did a fantastic job implementing its action-heavy combat with its digital joysticks. Holding the screen horizontally, you can use your left thumb to move your character forward while using your right thumb to control the camera. While this isn’t revolutionary by any means, the game is really responsive and fluid. I also appreciate the developer including a sprint button, which locks your character into a running animation with a single tap.

Another design choice I really liked is how One Punch Man: World keeps track of quests. As you complete Main Story missions and side stories, your Team Level ranks up, which gives you access to more content. To make all of this accessible, a Team Rank page lists all the content you’ve unlocked so far. So, in one single place, you can select your current or previous ranks and jump to side quests and challenges you haven’t completed yet. This makes navigating the overworld to side content incredibly easy, which is perfect for mobile gaming on the go.

Where the game really shines, though, is its action combat. Out of everything that surprised me the most about One Punch Man: World, it was its boss battles. When I say they are epic, I mean it in the best way possible. I’m talking break-neck speed action with non-stop movement. While this could have easily become clunky with the touch-screen controls, it actually works really smoothly due to how combat is implemented in the game’s UI. During a battle, your hero has 3 to 4 Arm Skills and a normal attack on the screen’s right side, represented by digital buttons. Because of this, you can quickly use your right thumb to tap each ability button as their cooldown resets to easily chain combos.

Screenshot of combat layout in One Punch Man: World
Screenshot by Siliconera

One of the game’s best decisions is them giving you a dedicated dodge button under your Arm Skills. Again, this might sound simple on paper. But this allows you to quickly zip away from an enemy’s attacks if timed correctly. With all of this combined, you can constantly keep your character running in and out of battle while outmaneuvering incoming attacks. And again, I initially thought this would become overwhelming and clunky. But even as a casual fighting game fan, combat really flows together smoothly despite all the hectic action around you.

With combat out of the way, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. I know with most mobile titles, one of the things most players want to know about is the “gacha” element. Yes, One Punch Man: World has a gacha system. However, it’s surprisingly fair. For starters, I do not believe this game has a pay-to-win system like other titles in the genre. Let me explain. As someone who acquired a handful of the game’s best characters (SSR heroes), I still got absolutely demolished in certain boss fights despite using my most powerful units. That is because each villain has its weaknesses, and certain characters and their movesets are better suited against them.

To give you an example. In the first half of the game, there was a boss fight that I could not beat with my SSR Hero. But I was able to finally take him down using free-to-play characters because they were better suited for this specific encounter. Most boss fights also can’t be won by simply spamming powerful attacks, which is another reason relying on the gacha system will only get you so far. A big component of this game is skill and understanding the flow of combat. And while I’m not one of the most skilled players out there, this is actually one of my favorite things about One Punch Man: World – it’s challenging but fair.

Screenshot of action One Punch Man: World
Screenshot by Siliconera

While each Boss Fight could have been the same formula across all enemies, every villain has its own set of attack patterns. And you have to figure out how to maneuver around those attacks, or you won’t last long. In one of the game’s early fights, you have a few seconds to sprint and roll into a tiny section to avoid the enemy’s massive AOE slam attack. As the fight continues, the villain will adapt and start using stronger moves. So, if you think you are about to win, you might get caught off guard and destroyed by a powerful ability you need to figure out how to dodge.

A big part of succeeding in combat also centers around your management of Arm Skills and keeping on top of their cooldowns. For instance, you may have a healing ability, but you might want to hold off on using it until a later phase in the battle. Or, if you are skilled enough, you can figure out the right time to use it to negate an upcoming attack against you altogether. Point being, One Punch Man: World requires you to use different heroes for different situations. A big part of the game’s combat is skill-based, as you must figure out how to implement your offense and defense. Because of this, you can’t simply purchase your way to success without putting in the work.

And I think this is a really great design choice. Of course, SSR Heroes are extremely powerful and can make the game a lot easier if you use them in the right situations. I just think the game is designed fairly, where players aren’t punished if they don’t have them. And, of course, sometimes it just comes down to grinding out your team until they are at a high enough level. Speaking of SSR Heroes and the gacha system, One Punch Man: World is also pretty fair regarding in-game currency. The game is absolutely filled to the brim with opportunities for players to earn pulls.

Screenshot of Tornado in One Punch Man: World
Screenshot by Siliconera

Similar to games like Genshin Impact or Honkai: Star Rail, One Punch Man: World has a 7-Day Sign-In bonus where players can earn Silver, Credit, and even a chance to unlock an SR-level character for free. There is also the “Serious Training” menu, where you can get rewards for completing in-game objectives such as “upgrade your character 4 times” or complete “City A Side quest.” There is even an achievement page that generously gives you World Silver, which is used for the game’s gacha system called “Character Draw.”

But it doesn’t stop there. In One Punch Man: World‘s Main Story Episodes, each mission has its own challenges. This means that as you play a major arc in the story, you have little mini-objectives, such as “Use your Ultimate 6 times in battle,” which further gives you rewards. If you missed any of these objectives, no problem. The game lets you replay these story battles as many times as you want until you collect all of these bonuses. So, no matter which way you look at it, One Punch Man: World gives you a lot of opportunities to earn in-game currency and characters without breaking your wallet.

For those who want to spend their hard-earned cash, the gacha system is pretty straightforward. In One Punch Man: World, you spend “World Silver” currency on banners called “Character Draw.” For every 10 draws, you are guaranteed an SR or higher quality item. For every 60 draws, you are guaranteed an SSR or higher quality item. So there is at least some kind of cushion if you don’t get the character or item you initially wanted. For those who want to earn their character draws by just playing the game, it also means a user can save up their Silver over time and have a high chance of getting the character they are looking for.

Screenshot of One Punch World: Man Character Draw banner
Screenshot by Siliconera

My main takeaway from playing One Punch Man: World is that this is an incredible action fighting mobile game with a lot of side content for players to dive into. However, what impressed me were the epic action battles that worked well even with touch-screen controls. But even beyond that, One Punch Man: World has a decently fleshed-out world with side quests and characters to get lost in. With its addicting gameplay and deep progression system, this is definitely a game that fans of the One Punch Man anime and manga will not want to miss out on.

One Punch Man: World is now available on the PC and iOS and Android devices.

One Punch Man: World

One Punch Man: World is an 3D action game that recreates the world of the globally popular anime series One-Punch Man and offers a hardcore action experience for all players. iOS version reviewed.

One Punch Man: World brings exciting fighting game action to mobile with a surprising amount of RPG depth.

Food for thought:
  • If you find yourself struggling against a boss battle, try using a character that can exploit their weaknesses better. I was able to defeat some challenges using free-to-play characters because they were better suited for the situation then my SSR Heroes.
  • I really do recommend completing all quests in this game. Some of the side content is absolutely hilarious.
  • A big component to combat are your Skill Arms. Another way to improve your heroes is to focus obtaining new ones, or choosing the right arms for battle.
  • With how expansive One Punch Man is, I'm really excited to see which characters they add in the future.

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Image of Brent Koepp
Brent Koepp
Based in California, Brent is an Editor at Siliconera and has been a journalist since 2010. When he's not playing JRPGs or catching 'em all in Pokémon, you can find him spending time with his wife and two dogs.