Junya Inoue’s manga BTOOOM! follows an unemployed, anti-social gamer named Ryōta who was sent to an island where he and others are forced to participate in a life-or-death game that recreates the BTOOOM! video game in which Ryōta is a top player. Too bad for Ryōta and the other players, the goal of the video game is to defeat other combatants by killing them with weapons like grenades.
Aside from the manga, the series has been fairly dormant since the anime ended in 2012. However, fans were blessed with the news earlier this year that the manga would be inspiring a mobile online combat game. I got the chance to play the game as Ryōta’s companion Himiko at the Asobimo booth at Tokyo Game Show 2016.
The game takes place on a very, very small tropical island on which you are able to move throughout. Movement is done by moving your left thumb on the bottom left of the touch screen to push a digital analog stick. The bottom right of the screen also has an imaginary analog stick that can be used to freely control the camera. Unfortunately, the camera moves far too fast and the player character slips around like they’re walking on ice, making it a disorientating experience. Aiming the grenades with a tap of a finger is also very also very difficult because of this–I ended up killing myself with my own grenade on multiple occasions because of these slippery controls.
The goal of the game–which is not explained very solidly within the game itself–is to gather Chips. One of the methods of obtaining these Chips is to attack and defeat opponent characters with grenades. In the fray of battle, you can regain stamina by opening ration crates that fall from the sky via parachute. This can only be done by touching the screen and waiting for your selected character to maneuver his/her way into the box. Items like ladders can also be selected by touching the screen. Although this is more innovative than just a mere game of “throw grenades around until somebody dies,” I found that even when I pressed on interactive items, they would not activate. Though, other players seemed to manage to open boxes, so maybe it was just my lack of skill.
As a fan of BTOOOM!, the thing that worries me the most about this demo is that the only mode we were shown was the one in which players fight for more kills and Chips. Without different modes or a story, it seems like it wouldn’t have much replayability outside of a few rounds. However, because I’m a fan, I’m hoping that the game’s rough edges will be smoothed out before it is released for smartphones in Japan. No word on a release date yet, though. The title of the game is being decided by a fan vote on Twitter, and the results will be announced at Tokyo Game Show 2016 on Saturday (I voted for BTOOOM! reBOOOT).
Crunchyroll streamed the anime outside of Japan as it aired in 2012, and Sentai Filmworks has licensed and released the series on home video in North America. Yen Press publishes the manga in English in North America.