Phantom Breaker Battle Grounds Overdrive (Switch, PS4)

Play as one of six chibi anime female archetypes (maid, priestess, schoolgirl) and battle thugs and demons in this retro styled 2-D beat ‘em up.  It’s cartoony, silly, mindless, and pretty fun as well.  The game is available to download on Switch and PS4, but reviewed on Switch here.

Play control is easy to learn.  Press left and right to go in those directions, and tap the L button to hop in and out of the background.  Up lets you jump in the air, and three of the face buttons perform light, medium, and strong attacks.  When a meter is full from attacking enemies, you can press the R button for a powerful attack.  And that’s all you need to know.

When you beat levels or see a Game Over screen, you’ll earn points from defeating enemies and picking up goodies like coins and gems.  The points transfer to experience and allow you to gain levels.  When you do gain levels, you can choose to divvy out skill points to beef up your attack, defense, and speed, or learn new skills and combos.  You can play the game solo in Story Mode, try to get a high score in Arcade Mode, play with up to three other friends in Co-op Mode, or battle each other in Battlegrounds Mode.  You can choose to play one of five unlockable difficulty settings, too.

The game as a whole kind of reminds me of Castle Crashers, but it does have a few problems.  It’s is pretty repetitive and mindless, and when you get to the later stages, the enemies’ attacks hardly let you get a hit in edgewise as they can gang up on you, even on the easy settings.  But for some reason, I still enjoyed this game anyway.  It’s just simple fun.

Kid Factor:

Phantom Breaker Battle Grounds Overdrive is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You can smack enemies around with weapons and other magic attacks, but they just fall over and disappear when defeated.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may need help with the tougher stages.

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