Neverland Card Battles is one baffling game. While this title has all the basic fundamentals of a decent card-based tactical RPG (large battlegrounds, complex combat rules, and so on), they actually make one really terrible game when they're all put together.

With a bland story, bad voice acting, and one of the most annoying tactical systems I've seen in an RPG, I can't recommended Neverland Card Battles for anyone but fans of this niche series.

Neverland Card Battles: tag, you're it (again)

For some weird reason, I can't help thinking that Neverland Card Battles should be a better game than this. Not only does the combat interface look dull in comparison to the game's hand-drawn artwork, it's unnecessarily complex for no apparent reason.

When you enter a battle, you're encouraged to capture as much territory as possible, which allows you to summon cards of many different types. However, for several attacking options you're required to be spitting distance from your opponent, who will happily run and skip beyond your reach while claiming space on the combat board. This is eventually eased by the addition of magic cards, but most of them won't have the power needed to KO your opponent.

While I was playing the game, I'd often get frustrated after executing a solid card combo just to watch my opponent simultaneously take over my territory while dancing away from my attacking army. It's like playing tag, but devoid of enjoyment and ten times more frustrating.

NEXT PAGE: never again...

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Neverland Card Battles: never again

Sure, Neverland Card Battles's character design is standard anime-flavour fluff, but it looks like the works of Michelangelo compared to the simplistic and deformed sprites. With games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Yggdra Union, the artwork at least feels consistent through and through. When playing Neverland Card Battles, the shift from story to combat is visually jarring. The graphics aren't anything to write home about, either.

If you're looking for some visual flare, I honestly think you'll see better effects on plenty of older, more engaging GameBoy Advance games. All of this isn't helped in the least by the sub-par voice acting. While some characters are laughably cliche, others are just irritating enough that you'll want to mute your PSP.

If this is where the series is going, Neverland Card Battles is going to be a tough sell in the future. I'd really like to find something nice to say about it, but the game is so boring, cliche (there's that word again) and badly designed I'd be lying through my teeth. If you've got cash to spend on a good portable RPG, try Yggdra Union, Star Ocean or Final Fantasy - pick one, almost any of them would be better.

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Neverland Card Battles: Specs

  • Sony PlayStation Portable
  • Sony PlayStation Portable

OUR VERDICT

If you're looking for a solid, exciting RPG title that will keep you glued to your PSP, Neverland Card Battles is one game you shouldn't play.

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