When I went into my hour-long demo of SD Gundam Battle Alliance, I was expecting a simple action RPG starring the chibi mobile suits Gundam fans love. What I actually got is a huge Gundam series crossover that can best be described as Kingdom Hearts, but for Gundam fans — a concept that I fell in love with as soon as I got into a battle with the Barbados Gundam in a completely different timeline/ universe than it belonged in.
In SD Gundam Battle Alliance, you play as a character that goes by “The Commander,” and are assisted by a programmer named Juno Astarte in saving the G (Gundam) Universe. The timelines of this universe are being hit by anomalies called “breaks.” These breaks are causing characters from different Gundam series to show up where they don’t belong.
Together with your programming partner, an AI, and the Gundam mascot, Haro, you’ll hack n’ slash your way through iconic mobile suits, locations, and events while fighting characters from various generations to put the world back in order. Of course, there’s a Battle Alliance original character from an unknown organization hellbent on stopping you. Sounds familiar right?
The similarities to Kingdom Hearts are plentiful in SD Gundam Battle Alliance. You’ve got a dimension-hopping story, characters trying to fit into the different worlds, and even two partner characters that you can select from various series to help you in battle (with my favorite Donald and Goofy stand-ins being SD Gundam’s Musashi and Knight Gundam).
Hardcore Gundam fans will likely find themselves hyped up over all the events from the franchised mentioned and experienced in the game. In one section, I fought Zechs and the whole battle was soundtracked by the Gundam Wing theme. Moments like that, and other times when themes straight from the anime appear, really made me fall more in love with the game during my demo.
It’s not just the references that make the game exciting. The gameplay itself holds up its end of the deal. SD Gundam Battle Alliance is an action roleplaying game and doesn’t lack in fulfilling the “action” part of that. You’ll find your standard combos, specials, launchers, and even aerial moves here. Though none of it has the depth of a Devil May Cry or a Bayonetta game, there’s a ton of possible variation in the multiple mobile suits you can unlock, customize, and upgrade. I found myself getting excited every time I unlocked another one of the iconic mechs just so I could test out what it could do.
With SD Gundam Battle Alliance‘s many unlockables, customization options, dialogue trees, and straight-up love for everything Gundam, I can see this being a must-play for any fans of the series and a game worth multiple playthroughs. That makes it quite different than the extended audience seeking Gundam Evolution. And for the non-Gundam lovers, this is still shaping up to be a good action RPG that has a lot of depth to sink into. If you’ve got any interest in hack n’ slash gameplay similar to Shin Sakura Warsthe Warriors/Musou series, or just want a fun action RPG with a compelling story, keep it on your radar.
Now I’m just waiting for the full release to find out if my prediction of Char and Amuro or Heero and Zechs being the Cloud and Sephiroth of this game comes true.