Big thanks go out to a reader for sponsoring a run through of Gundam UC Card Builder. The latest in the Gundam collectable card based arcade games, Gundam UC Card Builder offers quite a bit. It’s currently still on its first set of cards, with an expansion due out next week that should double the amount of cards offered by the game.
One thing to note is the slightly higher cost of entry to play, as a starter deck is available from the terminal that includes 2 Mobile Suits, 2 Pilots and even some sleeves for the cards for 300 yen. Then each play is 300 yen, or 500 Yen for two plays. While that is steep each actual mission does take a significant amount of time, and you are rewarded with a new random card for each mission.
When you insert your coins and scan your Banapass or Aime card, you’ll be taken to the main menu that has several options.
From right to left you have the vs mode which pits you against another throughout Japan, The mission mode where you undertake missions against the AI opponents. And the tutorial mode where you can practice and learn the game, a solid choice for beginners, but for my purposes, it’s into mission mode.
List list of missions will appear with their difficulty and other information, the two shown above are Industrial 7 and Jaburo which Gundam fans will be well familiar with. After selecting the mission that you wish to under take, its time to set up your mobile suits and pilots.
By placing your cards on the touch screen below, the characters and the suits you have chosen will appear on the main display above showing their stats, and various weapon types that are used depending on the mode they are set too. So we have Amuro going out in the Aqua Type Gundam, Char heading out in the ReZel and Mash in a GM Striker. You can note the costs that each pair has, typically relative to their stats you are only allowed a certain number of points to send out.
After you have chosen your main unit, you have the opportunity to set up your support units which are used when you make Strike Attacks, which will be covered shortly, but this allows for cards that you have collected but do not use to still have some value in that they can help support your main team.
It takes a bit to get used to playing a very large dual screen game, but all in all its not too difficult to get the hang of. On lower play area, is where you control all the action, when you are actively controlling a card you can change the various options for that unit, such as the mode its in, which effects how it hands the main damage dealing attack. Moving a mobile suit is a simple as sliding the card across the screen, it’s important to pay attention to the facing of the card, as in the heat of battle its easy to end up with some one facing the wrong way.
As you interact with the screen on the bottom, all the action plays out up above. Here we can see each units current health, their direction as well as your teams remaining points and the time remaining in the battle. This particular arena is an open area, but many have various obstacles such has asteroids or other types of objects that can hinder mobility or line of sight. Every unit has a basic auto attack that deals very small damage, but where the damage really comes from are Strike Attacks and Strike Operations.
By keeping the enemy in your field of vision, you can charge up a devastatingly powerful attack, though the enemy units are more than able to hit you with them as well. Managing and manipulating these Strike Operations are the key to victory. To pull off a strike attack, you need to charge up enough points, and then press the magical button that will light up signaling you can strike.
There are two main types of charged attacks, a standard Strike Attack, which is easier to pull off and takes less effort, but it deals much less damage and has a high chance of missing than a Strike Operation, which one can select by using the lower card screen while moving a unit.
Once a Strike Operation is commenced you have a short time to select a from the various assist units that you can set beforehand, in this case, Char’s base damage is 10700 with a 90% chance of hitting, The target has 11380 total health. So we can pump up the damage a bit by using some assist points, these you can expend through out the fight on offense and defense to get a massive boost. By calling on Katz, I can increase my damage by roughly 4500… but he comes with a heavy penalty to accuracy… because Katz just generally is bad at everything. But Generic Soldier and his GM offers more than enough extra damage and even an accuracy boost to grab a clean kill.
The match continues until the first team runs out of points left to spend. So there is some strategy to using a a flood of low cost suits compared to more powerful high cost ones. It makes me wonder if they saw the system that Gundam EX uses and decided to take bits from it with the cost system.
After completing a mission you’re rewarded with a card prize, there is also the option to double up and get a second card for 100 yen extra. It is kind of fun to collect the cards and also to hope for one of the super rare cards to be spat out.
That about covers Gundam UC Build in a nutshell. It’s a surprisingly hectic game and micromanaging everything with three different suits can be a bit challenging yet fun.
I’ll be continuing to cover more games and game centers but if there’s an arcade game you want to see covered like Gundam UC Build and want to sponsor a play you can even request for the cards earned in that play though, just drop me a message.