It all starts with a hot new toy/fad/craze, a young child who can’t afford it or is prohibited from having it, but then somehow, through some crazy or mystical way, gains control of the most unique or powerful or rare version. At its base, Little Battlers eXperience (LBX for short) is an RPG that follows the simple tropes and conventions of anime narrative stories by focusing on the latest battle toy and the power of a collectible craze that sweeps the nation; but on a deeper level it gives players a complex and fun battling system that allows both young and old to enjoy it.
The year is 2050, and LBX has taken the world by storm. Small robots with the capability for battling in safe, cardboard constructed arenas; LBX are customisable and are a means to settle scores and prove who is the strongest and best LBX fighter. Enter the game’s protagonist, Van Yamano – a 13 year old boy who desperately wants an LBX robot but is denied by his mother, due to his father’s involvement in the invention of them and subsequent disappearance. Van hangs around the local hobby shop with his friends Amy and Kaz, and consistently talk everything LBX.
One day, Van comes across a mysterious and strange lady who hands him a case, which so happens to contain a rare and unique LBX robot; and with the blessing of his mother his adventure begins as he sets out to become the best LBX fighter there is. With the help of his friends and his unique LBX robot, Van sets out to find his missing father and stop a government conspiracy revolving around the LBX robots.
At face value the story is clichéd and generic – nation-sweeping fad, child missing a parent, and unique fad item being top-secret. But Level-5 have managed to keep it fresh and entertaining at the same time, and easily accessible to adults and children alike.
LBX is split up into three different types of presentation – rendered cutscenes, in-game cutscenes, and in-game action. Due in part to the fact that there is also an anime based on LBX, many of the game’s major cutscenes are rendered to full effect in anime style, serving as links or major moments within the game’s plot. Lesser actions are rendered with in-game models, and all other events (battles and map-wandering) are rendered as base gameplay. This is typical of Level-5’s style, but occasionally it doesn’t work to full effect, as some scenes load anime cutscenes whereas others have none.
All gameplay graphics are bright and vibrant; overworld graphics are detailed and laid out neatly, and in-battle graphics are sharp (to a certain point) and colourful. Menus are also bright and brilliant, eschewing from darker palettes to keep it entertaining and fun.