Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive is a beat-‘em-up spin-off of the fighting game Phantom Breaker developed by 5pb. This side scrolling title combines its 8-bit retro style reminiscent of old-school brawlers with a combat system indicative of the game’s roots to deliver a fast-paced action adventure through a parallel dimension.
Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive delivers a visually appealing experience as it blends vibrant colors with stages inspired by Tokyo districts to deliver an always-engaging experience. Character designs shift between cool and comedic styles for friends and foes alike. Attention is paid to detail especially in the case of the playable characters and bosses in order to emphasize their importance to the game. The complex combat system is also exaggerated through the animation as each move whether it be blocking or executing a special ability, has its own unique animation.
Lower difficulties can cause the game to give off the impression of being a simple button masher, but the combat system truly shines at higher difficulties. Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive conveys its fighting origins as heavy, medium and low attacks can be mixed up to deliver damaging combo strings, which can be further improved by special attacks. Guarding can also be used beyond simply blocking in order to parry and reverse enemy attacks. The complexity of the game can also be undermined by its hectic nature.
Most portions of the game have the screen flooded with a variety of enemies. This is a double-edged sword as the hordes of enemies always keep the game fun and engaging, but it also makes it very difficult for the player to use the fullest potential of the combat system as they are being attacked from all sides without remorse. Boss fights are generally free of this issue, but are plagued by an equally troubling problem.
Each stage contains a boss fight sometimes with a single enemy and other times with multiple enemies. Many bosses possess a skillset of their own similar to the initial playable characters as these bosses also become playable later on. Players can make use of the combat system to a much greater degree than during the normal portions of the game as bosses are accompanied by far fewer enemies.
However, these bosses do extreme amounts of damage and can be extremely difficult for beginners to overcome, as they are very capable of using the combat system to its fullest potential. It is also worth noting that the tutorial only offers basics that do not explore the depth of the combat system. This issue is somewhat quelled by the leveling system as players must level up to unlock abilities. In other words, the complete combat system is initially unavailable to the player.
There is not much offered in the way of a story as it simply follows four super powered heroines who must venture through a parallel world to rescue their friend who has been kidnapped by a mysterious individual named Phantom. It is very lighthearted and more so, a means of providing a reason for the four heroines to fight through hordes of enemies.
Players will most likely find Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive to be at its best when experiencing it with friends through the PVP or co-op modes. Even so, those experiencing the title solo will find it enjoyable because of the exciting visuals and intricate combat system. However, enemies constantly flooding the screen, overpowered bosses and the lack of an advance tutorial can draw away from the potential of the combat system. Additionally, the shallow story coupled with the short length of the title can make it difficult to replay particularly for those playing alone, although this issue is somewhat rectified through the variety of playable characters available as well as an arcade mode.