23rd Apr2019

‘Kamen Rider: Climax Scramble’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

kamen-rider-cs-box

Honestly, one of the joys of owning the console is its lack of regional lockout, meaning you can get both digital and physical releases from around the world onto your Switch. Though in the case of digital games its a little trickier! That multiregion capability though means it’s easier than ever to play games based on your particular niche. Speaking of which…

Years ago I got my first taste of a Kamen Rider game when I played Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight on the Nintendo Wii. Back then I was sadly disappointed by a game whose franchise I loved but in this particular case, a title that looked like it had been rushed into production and, at least visually, felt unfinished. Though to be fair it WAS the finished game it’s just that it, like a lot of budget titles (think the Japanese Simple2000 series) was made on the cheap – originally as Kamen Rider: Climax Heroes on the PS2, then ported to the Wii and skinned with new artwork to tie-in with the US-made Dragon Knight show – ultimately I’m guessing the license probably costing more than the development of the game!

Jump forward an entire decade and, thanks to G-Force Games, an independent video game shop in Glasgow which deals in imports, I got my hands on a copy of the latest Kamen Rider game, Kamen Rider: Climax Scramble for the Nintendo Switch.

Based on the latest iteration of the series, Kamen Rider Zi-O, which uses time travel to commemorates all of the Heisei era Kamen Riders (given that this is the last show of said era), the game features all 20 riders from the Heisei era, from Kamen Rider Kuuga to brand new riders introduced in Kamen Rider Zi-O, including Kamen Rider Geiz, plus Kamen Rider Cross-Z from Kamen Rider Build, and Kamen Rider Woz. The game also features the legendary Kamen Rider Black as DLC/unlockable content, even though Black is from the Showa era (most people outside of Tokusatsu fandom will recognise Black as the US-made Masked Rider from the early ’90s show of the same name).

The game itself is a 3D arena battler – much like Pokken Tournament on the Switch – in which you fight a myriad of Kamen Riders in both multiplayer and single-player. Unfortunately single player mode restricts you to playing through the game as Kamen Rider Zi-O, though you can replay levels with any riders you unlock by winning battles. Thankfully you don’t need to learn Japanese to play this one – English is an option straight out of the box, moreso if you import the Korean version rather than the official Japanese release as that has even more in-game English language translation! What also helps with the language barrier is the play styles – you can set the game to have a simple button control (essentially easier button presses lead to bigger and better combos) or normal control where you,like many other fighting games, learn button combos and movesets – something which can be trickier thanks to this being an import title; it’s not like you can read how each combo works!

Graphically nothing much has changed since the early days of the Climax Heroes line, of which Kamen Rider: Climax Scramble is the latest, seventh entry. The graphics, whilst presenting the variety of Riders in fantastic fashion, really capturing the tokusatsu designs prefectly, are still somewhat sparse. There’s not much detail to the arenas unfortunately, something which shows in overall view – for yes, you can view the overall arena as you fight or set the camera to traditional third-person view: in which case the lack of arena detail doesn’t really matter, as you’ll see more of your opponent and/or their combat moves than the play area.

Available on import, Kamen Rider: Climax Scramble is a fantastic addition to not only the long-running Kamen Rider series but also the Nintendo Switch’s growing beat ‘em-up library. If you like either it’s definitely worth your while giving this a go.

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