Bleach, one of the most popular manga series’ around, has made its way to Western smartphones with Brave Souls, a hack and slash affair featuring plenty of your favourite characters.
After a lengthy wait whilst extra data was downloaded, I finally got underway with slaying hundreds of enemies. Brave Souls starts similarly to how the series starts with Ichigo finding Rukia in his room proving that he can see Soul Reapers when humans normally cannot. Rukia gives Ichijo her Soul Reaper powers so that he can defeat a hollow and save his family. I enjoyed the abundance of dialogue and being able to play through some of the most important moments of Bleach. Bleach fans will likely enjoy the story on show here and how it’s presented in Brave Souls.
I don’t usually play games on my android mobile and so I was pleased to see that Brave Souls runs smoothly and is easy to play. You hold your thumb or finger to the screen and your chosen character will run in that direction, and you tab the orbs on the lower right of the screen to perform an attack – there are several orbs that represent different attacks, and these will change when you swap character. Some attacks have a cool down time so you’ll want to ensure you don’t miss! You can take up to three characters on a mission and switch between them by hitting their portraits. It’s streamlined and easy to get into, and I hope it’ll appeal to those who rarely play games on any platform.
Alongside the story mode is online co-op and vs. battle which pits you against teams that other players have created. Admittedly, I spent most of my time in the story mode as I enjoyed seeing the characters interact and building up a team consisting of my favourite characters. You need orbs to summon more characters which you’ll earn through playing, logging in daily and clearing out daily challenges. It didn’t make my phone too hot (my phone may not be one of the most recent models around…) and there wasn’t a whole lot of slowdown despite that, so I’m pleased with how well optimised it is.
All the in-game character models have had a chibi makeover, so they look adorable in their shorter statures. The 2D portraits are more in line with what you’d expect from the manga or anime, and are not chibi. You’ll recognise most of the characters, areas and attacks that make up most of the visuals, and I enjoyed the new take on them and how their respective skills were adapted to their chibi forms. It’s a good looking game and also uses stills pulled straight from the anime.
There’s very little voice-acting here and it’s all in Japanese but considering that there’s only dialogue in story and the subtitles are easy on the eyes, it doesn’t matter that there’s no English voice option – most of it is grunts and other noises coming from your character as they perform attacks or take damage. The background music rocks out alongside you as you take on your enemies and compliments the action on-screen. It’s clear that the main effort for this game wasn’t the audio, as most people interested in this likely want to play an action game with a cast they love on the go and it does a great job in achieving that.
Bleach: Brave Souls is a free download available now on Android and iOS platforms. There are micro-transactions to buy if you wish, mostly to scout partners, but you’re never forced to do this. Fans of Bleach should find a lot of enjoyment here and it could be a decent starting place for fans new to the series as it tells the story in an interactive way – although it doesn’t go nearly as in-depth as the manga or anime does. It’s easy to recommend, especially as it’s free, and I’m sure it’ll remain popular for quite a while still. Download it and give it a go!
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