Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! Review

Rushed duel.

Of all the mainstream card games you’ll see at your local game store, Yu-Gi-Oh! is possible the least approachable for newcomers. The rules are convoluted at best, and the historic spectacle creep is nothing to be sniffed at, so if I were to introduce a complete newbie to cardboard crack, I would not start here. Magic, probably; Pokémon, maybe… Yu-Gi-Oh? No chance in hell.

Konami seems to be acutely aware of this, inspiring a spin-off gameplay style called Rush Duelling, although the message doesn’t seem to have sunk in with the department that named Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! Yes, there’s double exclamation marks at the end.

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Rush Duelling, as the name suggests, is a stripped-down variant of the game where rules are simplified to allow for fast-paced games that are won or lost fairly quickly. As a concept, this works quite well — it makes the game a lot more approachable to those who might never have touched a Yu-Gi-Oh! card, and the rules are incredibly easy to pick up.

You and your opponent each have 8000 life points (LP). Each player starts their turn by drawing either a single card or enough to get your hand back up to five cards. From there you play monsters, spells and trap cards, and then attack your opponent, trying to crush their monsters and chip away at that all-important LP. The first player to zero loses. All in all, it’s pretty simple.

Yu Gi Oh Rush Dual Dawn of the Battle Royale Review Draw

The Battle Royale — the third part of the editorial nightmare that is the title of this game — is what Konami is hanging the story on. The cast of the anime Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS get together to teach the new kid (you) how to play this variant. It turns out that you’re a natural and have the ability not to make your opponents too salty after grinding them into the dirt — a rare thing in a card game, I assure you.

Your ‘spirit’, as this ability is called, is then put to the test as Goha, the company making the cards in the game, decides that it wants to own the variant (like what Hasbro did to Commander, if Hasbro was ruled by a comic-book villain), and puts on a Goha City-wide battle royale to see who comes out on top. The winner gets a ‘Goha-Makes-Your-Dream-Come-True-Boopity-Boo Ticket’ that grants its owner a single wish. Yes, really.

If you think that sounds infantile, you’re right, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Once you’ve fought the ramen player and the sushi player, there’s the fact that there’s a 5th grade girl claiming to be another kid’s mom, while also going to school and being an employee of the Goha corporation. It’s nonsense that just kind of washes over you. The story is bad at best, and unless you know the SEVENS characters, is just a bit bizarre.

Looking past the wackiness of Japan being Japan, the real question is how well Rush Duelling works, and then how well YGO!RD:DOTHBR!! plays as a game.

The good news is that, as a concept, Rush Duelling works pretty well. It’s pretty intuitive, and a cool way to pick up Yu-Gi-Oh! cards if you haven’t touched them in a while, if ever. The bad news is that the video game this gameplay mode is embedded in is bloody awful.

Yu Gi Oh Rush Dual Dawn of the Battle Royale Review Battle

First and foremost, we’ll address the cardinal sin of any deckbuilder: not letting you build your own decks. It’s not until you win the battle royale and take home the GMYDCTBBT that you unlock the ability to make decks. That’s frustrating enough as it is, but you spend the entire game with the option to make decks presented to you, but greyed out. It’s there purely to taunt you.

Instead of the challenge of building decks to crush your opponents with, you have the dual challenge of first finding deck recipes (pre-constructed decks you unlock) and then the cards to complete them. If you’re one card short, it sucks to be you.

This brings us onto the economy where you buy cards using either coins or tickets. Coins you win from playing, while tickets you find as items in the overworld. You can also use these hard-earned coins to buy deck boxes, card sleeves, playmats and, you guessed it, deck recipes. How you should spend your cash is not an easy answer, but if you want everything in the game you have a long, hard grind ahead of you.

Making this somehow worse is the complete and utter lack of variation when battling. All opponents, regardless of their location, have the same purple battle background, which gets very boring, very quickly. Any variation comes in the form of customisable playmats, which cost (and therefore waste) money. In order to use a playmat in the early game, you’re forced to plaster your face on it. In real life, this would be a genius move that would throw off your opponents who would not believe that you are actually that gauche. In a video game against an AI opponent, it’s just dumb.

Yu Gi Oh Rush Dual Dawn of the Battle Royale Review Screenshot

Talking of AI, there is absolutely no reason why the game should be this slow to play. I’ve played a lot of card games on the Switch, and never before have I had a game that reliably takes at least 10 seconds per play. The worst I had was over a minute of the game trying to figure out the best move against me, which is just bizarre. What’s worse is that if you take more than a few seconds to read a card, which you’ll do a lot in the early game, your opponent starts trash talking you.

But wait, there’s more!

The most egregious thing, after the lack of deck construction, is the bugs — the worst of which being the Swap Ticket bug. Swap Tickets are supposed to let you get an item from the story instead of using cash. You see the awesome shiny Blue Eyes White Dragon that you can’t afford because it is ludicrously priced? No worries, just burn one of your ultra-rare Swap Tickets and get it for free!

Or so you’d think. Instead, you use the item, you don’t get the card, and you’re left with the crushing defeat of asking yourself why you’re wasting your Swap Tickets — and indeed your time — playing this game.

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Summary
Rush Duelling is a great idea, but Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! is a poorly executed waste of time. While it could be a fun entry point to the franchise for 5–7-year-olds, the frustrating pace of play, coupled with the issues where things just don’t work as they are supposed to, makes it far more trouble than it’s worth. Do yourself a favour and let this one pass you by.
Good
  • Rush Duelling is surprisingly fun
  • The game is fully voiced
Bad
  • The game is poorly built
  • The story is simply awful
  • It's full of niggling issues and bad design choices
  • If you’re reading this, you’re probably too old for this game
3

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