Dragon Ball: The Breakers review – Janky, unattractive, and infectiously fun

I can’t stop playing this relentlessly weird and addicting multiplayer title.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers Cell
(Image: © Windows Central)

Windows Central Verdict

On the surface, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is a homely spinoff with confusing controls and an apparent lack of budget. However, the more I play, the more I adore its fascinating ideas and glowing peculiarities. In spite of its notable shortcomings, this asymmetrical multiplayer title commits to outlandish gameplay mechanics and delivers a charming, absorbing Dragon Ball experience unlike any other.

Pros

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    + Addicting gameplay loop

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    + Inventive genre experimentation

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    + Hilarious customization

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    + Authentic DB weirdness

Cons

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    Janky controls

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    Disappointing visuals

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    Limited content

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    No crossplay

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It’s no secret that I’m a tremendous advocate for asymmetrical multiplayer titles. If you follow me on social media, chances are you’ve seen me incessantly rave about excellently executed projects like Evil Dead: The Game. Following the hard-fought cult-like success of the revolutionary Friday the 13th: The Game, this increasingly alluring sub-genre has garnered significant attention from players and interest from publishers in recent years.  

While much of this enthusiasm has been relegated to the horror community, the asymmetrical multiplayer craze has even spilled over into mainstream, juggernaut franchises such as Dragon Ball. When Bandai Namco first unveiled s 7v1 multiplayer offshoot set in the Saiyan-packed universe, I almost couldn’t believe it. How on earth could you translate the over-the-top, bombastic energy of Dragon Ball into a pseudo-horror game inspired by Dead by Daylight and Fortnite?  

Admittedly, I went into Dragon Ball: The Breakers utterly unsure what to expect. The snippets of gameplay released before the launch didn’t spark much confidence in its execution either. However, after shaking off the unimpressive visuals and baffling control scheme, this bizarre multiplayer title has thoroughly sunk its hooks in me. Over the course of the last week and a half, I’ve clocked close to 25 hours into Dragon Ball: The Breakers, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. 

Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review code provided by Bandai Namco. The company did not see the contents of this review before being published. 

Dragon Ball: The Breakers – What you’ll like 

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The premise of Dragon Ball: The Breakers is simple yet outrageous. Seven unsuspecting humans are transported through temporal rifts in space-time that force them to square off against iconic raiders from the Dragon Ball franchise. Our heroes desperately scavenge for supplies in the hopes of stopping villains like Cell and Frieza from destroying the planet. To secure victory, players must either escape via the Super Time Machine or raise their power levels with energy cells to defeat the solo raider.  

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Category Dragon Ball: The Breakers
DeveloperDimps
Publisher Bandai Namco
GenreAction
Install Size6.2 GB
Players 1-8
Playtime20+ hours
Release DateOctober 14, 2022
Price$20
PlatformsXbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Xbox Game PassNo
Reviewed on Xbox Series X

The overall gameplay loop of Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an intriguing fusion of Fortnite-inspired looting, Dead by Daylight-driven cat and mouse, and chaotic Dragon Ball action. The game cleverly incentives an engrossing balance between stealth and combat to effectively survive against your opponents. Survivors carefully collect Dragon Balls, save innocent civilians, and acquire the power keys necessary to activate the Super Time Machine. All the while, our intimidating raider stalks the environment looking for their next victim. 

(Image credit: Windows Central )

The customization is hilarious, respectable, and exploding with authentic Dragon Ball weirdness.

The sprawling locales in Dragon Ball: The Breakers serve as grandiose sandboxes for our characters to investigate and encourage deliberate resource management. Each match is a feverish race to overpower or outsmart your competitors. Will you focus on gathering on rapidly raising your power level to decimate the enemy? Or will you strategically position yourself for a cunning escape. These design principles elevate Dragon Ball: The Breakers. Plus, witnessing a horizon filled with several shirtless players firing Kamehamehas at Cell is consistently entertaining.  

Much like Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Dragon Ball: The Breakers supplies players the freedom to craft their very own original characters. The customization is hilarious, respectable, and exploding with authentic Dragon Ball weirdness. From Krillin’s nose, or lack thereof, to Yamcha’s lustrous mane, there are dozens of distinctive options from the legendary series. Additionally, you can unlock Transpheres in traditional gacha stylings that grant the ability to transform into powerful heroes. The best part is it fuses your appearance with these established figures to ludicrous effect. 

Dragon Ball: The Breakers – What you won’t like

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While I’m undeniably having a fantastic time with Dragon Ball: The Breakers, my introductory experience with this asymmetrical multiplayer game was admittedly jarring. The camera and controls feel outrageously loose and dated. Your fighter doesn’t even remain locked within the confines of the third-person camera perspective, allowing for unconventional screen navigation. Compared to other action games, the animations and general combat aren’t going to leave anyone impressed.  

Xbox fans will be sad to know that Dragon Ball: The Breakers isn't Xbox Series X|S enhanced. Fortunately, that likely wouldn't improve the overall visual presentation. The environments are lightly sprinkled with basic structures and minor foliage, which only exacerbates the poor texture quality on display. There are commendable character models derived from the source material, but at first glance, Dragon Ball: The Breakers isn’t a particularly attractive game to look at. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

The most disappointing decision surrounding Dragon Ball: The Breakers stems from its lack of crossplay.

In my reviews of Evil Dead: The Game and Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, I criticized the notable lack of content. The success of ongoing games in today’s market is determined almost entirely by the team’s ability to meet the relentless demands of players. Dragon Ball: The Breakers suffers a similarly slender slate of maps, modes, and playable characters. As it stands, there are three maps, three raiders, and a small collection of Transpheres. Dimps promises a healthy roadmap of supplemental content, but dedicated players will likely burn through what’s available rather quickly.   

The most disappointing decision surrounding Dragon Ball: The Breakers stems from its lack of crossplay. Asymmetrical multiplayer titles have historically struggled to manage queues and wait times as the player base naturally moves on to other games. Currently, matchmaking on Xbox is rapid and consistent, but I wonder if the lack of crossplay will damage the sustainability of the community in the months ahead. Hopefully, moving into future seasons, the team will identify ways to expand its player pool. 

Dragon Ball: The Breakers – Should you play? 

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Dragon Ball: The Breakers is the epitome of a budget game. From its price point to presentation, it’s evident Dimps didn’t have astronomical resources at their disposal for the project. That said, the genuine sense of creativity, overwhelmingly on-brand celebration of Dragon Ball nonsense, and addicting gameplay loop have shockingly kept this weird multiplayer title in my daily rotation.   

In many ways, Dragon Ball: The Breakers reminds me of the wild early days of online PC gaming, where development teams approached concepts without inhibitions. Not every idea in this outrageous sandbox is executed flawlessly. Still, I commend the hell out of the team for delivering a project inspired by popular contemporaries that remains wholly unique. Dragon Ball: The Breakers won’t sell everyone on its eccentricities, and for the passionate community rallying behind the game, that’s totally fine.  

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Dragon Ball: The Breakers   

Dragon Ball: The Breakers is a relentlessly weird asymmetrical multiplayer game bursting with excellent ideas. Gather some friends and the Dragon Balls for an online experience that’s unquestionably inspired by the goofy nature of the anime.  

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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.