LBX is a 3DS game about fighting model robots. It’s a recent release in North America and Europe, but it’s a 3-year-old remake of a remake of a game that came out in 2011 in Japan. It’s kind of cheesy and clearly intended for a younger audience, but I love it anyway. The fighting itself has elements of games like Virtual On, and the structure of the game reminds me of Mega Man Battle Network, both games which I enjoyed a lot. More than that, the entire concept reminds me of one of my favorite games on the Game Boy when I was younger: Power Quest.
Tiny Fighting Robots
Power Quest was one of the early games for the Game Boy Color, and I got it as a Christmas gift when I turned 12. It is also a game about fighting model robots, but the core gameplay is a fighting game.The game itself involved you roaming around town, earning money to upgrade your model (by beating people around town in duels), and occasionally getting interrupted by the plot, which is mostly nonsensical and involves the Bad Hyenas Gang and your best friend. At the end of the game you fight in a tournament and defeat a masked wrestler to end the game. I probably wouldn’t consider it a very good game at this point, but on reflection it’s the first fighting game I got heavily invested in. I’d played Street fighter 2, but I didn’t really know how things worked until later.
While the plot is largely an excuse to fight robots, one thing that stuck with me is that about halfway through the game, your best friend moves away. Thanks to timing, I played this game shortly after I moved halfway across town (which might as well be halfway around the world when you’re 12). Another thing worth mentioning is the soundtrack, which was incredibly good for a Game Boy game.
Bigger Fighting Robots
LBX turns out to have a surprising amount of surprisingly well-done voice acting, and has an actual plot. It’s a lot like Pokémon in that an organization is using these things for evil (so of course you have to use them to put a stop to it), but there’s also a hint of a Last Starfighter-esque plot where this turns out to be training for actual giant robots down the line. (This is in the opening, so I don’t consider it a spoiler.) It also leans heavily on Defeat Means Friendship, so it’s not uncommon to be fighting alongside bosses after you beat them. Your own robot is quite customizable, so while you start with Achilles, you can eventually use almost anything you want. I’m eager to see where this one’s going, because I really like it so far. There’s also a cross-media element that might be a bit dangerous, but more on that later.