The titular anime is currently the most popular and one of the longest-running shows, starting in 1999 and going on for more than 20 years and almost 900 episodes. It is still the most popular and the most sold manga in Japan, and according to the author Eiichiro Oda, it will end in less than 100 chapters. The main character is Monkey D Luffy, whose dream is to become a Pirate King and to find the titular treasure One Piece, hidden by the previous Pirate King, Gol D Roger. A franchise as popular as this one has had a great number of iterations, including merchandise, toys, art books, music, light novels and of course video games.
The first One Piece video game appeared in 2000, and since then the series contains 38 games, excluding the crossovers. Out of all of those games, just a dozen was released outside of Japan. Since Japan has a large demand for such titles, gaming studios produce them in rush, which usually results in dismal quality. Concerning the mobile releases of One Piece games, they are usually in gacha format, which card collecting mechanics and simplistic battle system. However, Bounty Rush tries to change that.
Basically, this game is a point control action game, in which your team has to rush over to some big treasure and place their own flag and claim it as their own. This is a mechanic you probably have seen in most online shooters. Except for apparent contribution in winning the game, each treasure point you capture will give you an extra small bonus at the end of the stage. Sounds simple enough.
Controls are quite flimsy, and sometimes you feel like you don’t have any chance to decide about your characters’ actions. There is an analog stick by which you control the movement, the basic combo button, and special skills.
This is where things get troublesome because basic combo system locks you onto the nearest enemy, so you basically have no control over which of them you will beat down first. To make matters worse, once you finish the combo the enemies become invincible for a couple of seconds, which gives them an opportunity to counterattack. I guess that was done to avoid combo mashing your enemy without giving them the chance to get up. Skills are also pretty awkward because they have a weird feeling of range, allowing enemies to counter your missed special attack. It is a bit better if you are playing against one opponent unless you are at a low level.
There is a big roster of characters you can summon to fight at your side. They are all from the early One Piece story, up until the Alabasta Arc, which still makes a remarkable number of characters. Unfortunately, all of them will start at level 1, and you cannot level them up just by playing as them.
Leveling up is done by earning EXP orbs or buying them from the in-game shops. You will get plenty of currency to buy EXP orbs, but it is pretty frustrating that they are necessary for your character’s advancement. Playing at level 1 versus any 10 + players usually ends up very quickly and very ugly unless you are Runner, so you can outspeed your opponents.
There are three classes with the different types of play, Runner, Attacker or Defender, so if the battle doesn’t go well for you, you can switch the mode of your characters.
By far the worst part of this game is the grind. The progression is quite limited if you play against friends and CPU, and even in PvP, you will have to be very patient, as you will need a considerable amount of time in order to develop your characters. It is just not fun enough to justify that kind of grind.
One Piece Bounty Rush is a shift from gacha style to a real-time PvP action game, which is quite a brave move. However, mere bravado is not enough for a game to succeed, a lesson many developers learned the hard way. This game is just not worthy of the effort you need to invest in order to have some rewards.