Dragon Ball Z has been around longer than some of the people reading this article, having originally been conceived by legendary Japanese artist Akira Toriyama for Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1984, before growing into one of the longest-running and most successful manga and anime series ever created.
Inevitably video games sprang up in its wake, many of them rather good, and one of the most recent and successful is Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle for Apple and Android mobile devices. Dokkan Battle has been downloaded over 200 million times in the three years since it first came out, but may not be all that well known to western audiences, so here's a few reasons why it's such a crazy phenomenon—and why you might want to get on board with it.
1) Ingenious Mix of Mechanics
In order to make the cosmic clash of heroes interesting, not to mention find a good way to include hundreds of potential participants, Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle's developers drew inspiration from a range of different game types, and the resulting mix has a lot going for it.
Missions play out on a board game-style plain where you choose how far to move your avatar each turn in order to collect resources and approach enemy showdowns. Then there are elements of card battling to the way you build a deck of characters and deploy resources in battle.
And in the heat of a fight, you're presented with a sea of ki spheres floating between you and your opponent, and have to consider clashes of elements and your available abilities before selecting the right colored spheres to tap. None of these individual elements is unique to Dokkan Battle, but the way the game pulls them together feels fresh and rewarding, and means every battle feels different, whether you're fighting your way through the tutorials or loading up for a set of weekly events months into your Dokkan Battle career.
2) Gorgeous Production Values
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle is one of the most visually dynamic games you're ever likely to play on your handheld. The character designs are particularly vibrant, of course, and while the developers have been no slouches with the visual effects they use to frame them, they're wise to let the iconic look of Goku and company speak for itself, with avatars that dominate the screen as sparks and exclamations fly in the heat of battle.
Dokkan Battle understands the thrill of adding new characters to your roster, too, imbuing the process with a ton of pomp and ceremony to make the first time you unlock an ultra-rare character feel as special as it should be. And for all its visual luxury, the developers are aware that most people will play this game on the go, too, so there are options to tone down the visuals to preserve battery life when you're away from a phone charger.
3) Easy to Play, Hard to Master
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle's mechanics are all pretty simple to understand individually, but if you want to truly master this game then you will need to spend many hours figuring out how best to organize your resources in a deck and then apply them in battle.
And even when you think you've gotten into a good pattern, a new reward or additional character may turn your head and give you new ideas on how to play the game.
It's that classic feeling of a game that's easy to play and hard to master, and feeling encouraged and excited to try new things weeks and months after you started.
4) Huge Character Roster
Dragon Ball Z is over 30 years old, and the series' creators haven't been twiddling their pencils and paintbrushes in the decades since it was born. Quite the opposite, in fact, and as a result there are now more than 1000 characters in the DBZ canon—and that means there are more than 1,000 for you to lust after in Dokkan Battle.
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle is home to everyone from well-known characters like Android 17 and Goku Black to less familiar ones like Saibamen and Arale. You can unlock all of them and add them to your decks.
Of course, if you're new to Dragon Ball Z then it won't mean a lot to you, but as you concentrate on each character's rarity and in-game utility, we'd be surprised if the vast Dragon Ball Z universe and its memorable character designs didn't seep into your consciousness over time and make themselves at home.
5) Constantly Evolving
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle's long-running success has become self-sustaining, too, as the developers are well-resourced to spend their time adding new content to keep people interested.
First of all there are the more cutting-edge characters, with the likes of Ultra Instinct Goku, Hit, and Caulifla arriving from Dragon Ball Super in plenty of time.
There are also loads of weekly events to keep things fresh—bonus events, story events, Dokkan events and some time-limited events—so just when you think you've seen it all, the next time you load up the app you may be surprised by just how much there is left to do.
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle is available now on the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store, whichever you prefer, and with rich mechanics and over 1,000 characters to collect, as well as tons of new content added all the time, it's well worth a try.