Did you know that before Digimon became an imitator of Pokemon, it was a keychain virtual pet game like Tamagotchi? Well, in Digimon World Championship for the Nintendo DS, they seem to have gone back to Digimon’s roots, as this plays more like a pet simulator than a monster battling RPG.
There are three main gameplay phases in Digimon World Championship. The first is the training phase. In this mode, you place your monsters inside cages and care to their every whim. Feed them, give them medicine and heal their wounds, and clean up after their droppings. Controls use a drag and drop interface with the stylus and touch screen. You can move your monsters to different cages and have them train to raise certain attributes, such as one cage that has a track field on it that they can run around on to boost hit points. But make sure your monsters don’t run out of energy. In this mode, it can be a little hard to move your monsters as they run around so fast and their graphics are so tiny. By training your monsters in this mode, you can make them ‘digivolve’ into stronger creatures.
When you want to catch new Digimon, you’ll enter the hunting phase. This mode is a little bit like Pokemon Ranger. When you see a Digimon running about in the wild, draw a circle around it to create a rope. Then use the stylus to ‘pull’ on the rope to tire the monster out. If you can drain the monster’s energy without it breaking the rope, the critter is yours to keep and train. Only problem with this mode is the drawing controls aren’t very good. Very rarely did my circles connect for me to catch anything.
And finally is the battle phase, which has the least amount of gameplay at all. Here you can set pre-made strategies for your party of three Digimon to follow (like using more or less special attacks and healing spells), and then you just pit them against three opponents in an area. But you can’t control them or select attacks. You just watch them go at it. Not very entertaining at all. Winning battles nets you money you can spend on more battle and hunting fees, as well as better cages for your monsters and materials for their needs. Battles follow a schedule, so you can only do certain ones on certain days. It’s not adhering to the DS clock, just an in-game fictional timer. You can also battle other people’s monsters through WiFi and friend codes. Anyway, because of the bad controls and shallow gameplay, I really can’t recommend this game to anyone unless you just really like virtual pets or the Digimon franchise.
Digimon World Championship is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence. Your monsters do fight, but it’s very cartoony. The little critters just tackle each other or zap them with lightning bolts or fireballs. Defeated monsters don’t die, they just lie there with stars around their heads. Reading skill is helpful for all the text. Normally I wouldn’t think kids would like this game, but little brother Jeff is a big fan of monster battle games like Digimon and Pokemon, and he says in his own words that this game is “very addicting.” So maybe this game has some hidden charms that I’m just not seeing.