10 Anime Based Games Worth Playing (Even If You Haven’t Watched The Show)
The anime’s diverse medium is more popular than ever, with shows across a range of critically acclaimed genres. Its fans are dedicated and enthusiastic, sometimes going to great lengths to find and play video game adaptations of their favorite franchise.
However, not everyone has the will to watch every show, and that’s okay! There are many games based on the anime that have a low (if any) barrier to entry for newcomers and seasoned fans alike. Both games based on the anime that have their own unique backstories and the ones that recap the events of the anime are great options for newcomers to the franchise.
ten Digimon Story: Cyber Detective
More than just a Digimon game, Digimon Story: Cyber Detective is an entertaining JRPG with charming characters. Set in today’s Tokyo, the story revolves around a teenager who acquires the unique ability to travel between our reality and the virtual world. Using this ability to investigate a series of strange phenomena, the player will be accompanied by a friendly Digimon, with the ability to “download” more as the game progresses.
While the game draws inspiration from the previous ones Digimon history titles, new players in the series will not get lost. With a brand new storyline, Cyber Sleuth aims to appeal to both longtime fans of the series as well as newcomers – although they may want to check out a guide on Digivolving, as the hookup system can be quite complicated compared to simpler, linear evolutions of Pokémon.
9 Jump force
Jump force is a crossover fighting game featuring characters from Weekly Shonen Jump, a successful manga magazine primarily aimed at teenagers. With a roster of 57 fighters, any fighting game lover is sure to find a powerful Jump force character they like to play. While the game is built on its cast of star characters, knowledge of the source material is not necessary to enjoy the original storyline.
Despite its release in 2019, Jump force is still updating from 2021, with purchasable items and online campaigns. Fans are hoping to see a third character pass, but so far there has been no confirmation.
8 Pokémon Yellow
Loosely based on the original Pokémon anime, Pokémon Yellow follows the journey of a young Pokémon trainer through the Kanto region as he fights, trains, and aims to become a Pokémon master. The player is accompanied in the overworld (a unique feature at the time, replicated later in the 2010s HeartGold and SoulSilver) by their starting Pokémon, a wild Pikachu given to them by Professor Oak.
As a point of entry for many Millennials into the vast world of Pokémon, knowledge of anime is completely unnecessary to play the game. (In fact, some children who have watched the anime will no doubt be confused by the lack of fellow travelers, Brock and Misty, or Meowth’s inability to speak.)
7 Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight: Re LIVE
Inspired by the anime (which in turn was inspired by the Starlight review musical), Shojo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight: Re LIVE is a turn-based mobile strategy game. As a Gacha (or Mobage) mobile game, the gameplay relies on collecting and leveling Stage Girls. The game includes the nine main Stage Girls from the anime and adds 24 more from different acting schools.
Taking place after the surreal events of the anime, Re LIVE does not require any knowledge of the characters or events of the anime to enjoy it. Like a cross between Love Live: School Idol Festival and a turn-based tactical role-playing game, Re LIVE has been a great entry point for newcomers to the franchise looking for a unique mobile game.
6 Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Series
Without a doubt one of the most popular anime franchises with Western audiences, Naruto has inspired many adaptations of video games. Ultimate Ninja Storm is a series of six 3D fighting games following the story of the anime from the very beginning, right through to the introduction of its son, Boruto.
Featuring a robust movement and combat system and a dense storyline, Ultimate Ninja Storm can be a great starting point for people wanting to dip their toes into the long history of Naruto without engaging in a frenzy of 720 episodes.
5 My Hero: One’s Justice Series
With two games to date and an active online community, the My hero: One’s Justice The franchise is a series of 3D arena fighters based on the ongoing anime My hero university. The game recaps the intrigue between battles in bite-sized episodes and includes some minor game-exclusive fights. So far, the games have covered the Shie Hassaikai arc of the anime.
Each fighter has their own unique Quirk and three charged Plus Ultra special attacks. While Justice 2 has yet to fully implement the entire source material distribution, developers continue to push fan favorite characters into DLC packs.
4 Astro Boy: Omega Factor
Often considered the “godfather of the anime,” Osamu Tezuka was a prolific cartoonist best known in the West for Astro boy, an anime and manga franchise centered around a young android with human feelings. Astro Boy: Omega Factor functions as a tasting plate for Tezuka neophytes, featuring recurring elements and characters from his work.
Although it was released on Game Boy Advance, the game never feels dated or inferior for its graphics. With impressive visuals, smooth animations and a satisfying storyline, Omega factor still deserves to be played, decades after its release.
3 Dragon Ball Xenoverse Series
Dragon ball xenoverse is a series of role-playing fighting games based on the prolific Dragon ball anime franchise. While some general knowledge about the series (such as Saiyan’s ability to transform) doesn’t hurt, the games feature an original storyline that revolves around the highly customizable player character.
The character customization is robust, and in addition to the purely cosmetic attributes, there are five playable races, three combat styles, and a wide selection of special abilities derived from Dragon ball characters.
2 Yu Gi Oh ! Duel links
More than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane for Yu Gi Oh ! Fans, Yu Gi Oh ! Duel links is a well-designed free card game. Featuring characters and maps from the hugely popular 1998 Duel of monsters animated, Duel links allows players to duel against NPCs and other players.
Even if Duel links has elements of Gacha, players don’t see it as “pay-to-win”. Weekly events and monthly tournaments give players the chance to earn rare and powerful cards and unlock new characters.
1 Hamtaro: ham heartache
Released in 2002 for Game Boy Advance, Ham and ham crush is an adventure game featuring the adorable anthropomorphic characters of the Hamtaro lively. Fans of all things cute will enjoy its surprisingly detailed hamster-scale world and an animated cast of characters.
The game-exclusive storyline sees Hamtaro and Bijou seeking to mend the relationship ruined by the infamous Spat hamster. Filled with mini-games, side quests, and item collections, Ham-Ham Heartbreak is an easy going treat for runners-up and cute fans.
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