For a while now Nintendo’s handheld systems have been seeing strategy game translations of a once Japan-only anime called Super Robot Taisen. Originally it was Super Robot Taisen: Original Generations one and two on the Gameboy Advance, and now it’s Super Robot Taisen K on the DS. While it may at first appear to be but more of the same, there have actually been many distinct adjustments to the gameplay, for better or for worse.
One of the first things veterans may realize is that many of the more popular franchises such as Voltron and Gundam Wing are no longer present, perhaps to the end of a more varied and diverse cast. Anime enthusiasts may recognize many of the leading characters, and there are still many cool robots, but for a series that relies on it’s fanbase and nostalgia, it seems weird to leave the biggest and possibly best out.
Another adjustment is one that conforms with the PS2 versions, where robots on the field are controlled according to squad. How this works is four robots are assigned together as a group, one being the leader. The downside is that there are less options for attacks and manouvers. Luckily, the squads in Super Robot Taisen K only consist of two robots, which actually is not so bad, though it does not save the system from feeling quite contrived. After all, squadrons may allow robots to perform combined cooperative attacks and such, but it was perfectly possible to do that in the last handheld installment in the first place, without squadrons.
One aspect conforming with it’s PS2 counterparts that fans will appreciate is some masterfully animated action sequences. There are more of them in K than in any handheld installment before, and they shine better than ever before on DS’s nifty dual screens.
Ultimately, Super Robot Taisen K is much like every game in the series before it. However, those that approach it for the sake of nostalgia may be disappointed by the lack of some trademark characters, from franchises like Gundam, Voltron and Nadesico. And you could argue that without the nostalgia factor Super Robot Taisen really isn’t the same.