Dragon Ball Arcade


Battle it out with your favorite characters from the Dragon Ball universe in this excellent fighter


  • 200 playable characters
  • 800+ cards to use
  • Narrative spans multiple Dragon Ball sagas
  • Classic anime-style graphics
  • Highly dramatic battles, visual effects and dialogue


  • Slow-scrolling text makes engaging with the narrative difficult

Dragon Ball Arcade is a free arcade-style game developed by Namco Bandai Games, inspired by Akira Toriyama's incredibly popular Dragon Ball series. Battle it out with all of your favorite Dragon Ball characters, complete the epic multi-saga story and embrace the legacy of Dragon Ball!

What is Dragon Ball Arcade About?

If you are reading this review, then you have surely heard of Akira Toriyama's critically acclaimed series, Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball as a show and cultural icon has long been the flagship anime/ manga in Japan when promoting their culture overseas. Whether it's the original manga, the TV series, merchandise, arcade games, console games and any related spin-offs, the character of Son Goku has achieved near worldwide fame. This game takes the essence of Dragon Ball, its many classic characters, and pits them against each other not physically, but with cards. 

Core Gameplay

Dragon Ball was originally available as an arcade machine in Japan, known as Dragon Ball Heroes. To play, players would need Capsule Cards, containing all of their data on characters. Players would place their capsule cards in to the machine, purchase additional cards or load up their own characters. They would then be able to battle them out using the on-screen interface and control system. Since then, accepting the dominance of console and handheld gaming, this version of Dragon Ball Arcade will be based around the more recent versions released on these platforms, in particular the 3DS version of 2013, known as Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission

In the game, the player will use characters represented on cards to battle it out with others. There is no shortage of Dragon Ball characters to choose from. In all, the game contains over 200 characters spread across the 800 or so cards on offer to players. This means that players will be able to use all cards from all Dragon Ball sets (H1-H8, Galaxy Mission 1-4). 

There is no shortage of Dragon Ball characters to choose from. In all, the game contains over 200 characters spread across the 800 or so cards on offer to players. This means that players will be able to use all cards from all Dragon Ball sets (H1-H8, Galaxy Mission 1-4)

From the beginning of the game, the storylines and characters are entirely reminiscent of Dragon Ball plotlines, starting with the Seiyan saga and finishing up with the GT saga, done through a fascinating mission-based story mode. In addition to the avatars on offer to a player, you can also create your own avatar

How to Battle

To battle in the game, you use cards. Each card will have different values for attack and for defense. These stats are reminiscent of other card games. Players take each other on in five vs. five battles. The battle field is divided into a series of rows. By placing characters on particular rows, they will be afforded with certain abilities including increased strength or defense. Caution must be exercised, however, since this might also make them more vulnerable. Similarly, characters placed farther back should have more inherent defensive capabilities. There are four rows in all, so you must use them strategically to make the best choice in battle. 

On your screen is a HP bar which represents your entire team. When one gets hit, they all do. A power bar is also present next to each character, displaying the current power level of your characters. Once it has filled they can then perform various kinds of special attacks and insane combos. If playing on a 3DS, you can also use the 3DS camera to take a picture of someone's face to check their power level. Victory is achieved by eliminating the enemy team while at least one of your team members survives. The most important aspect of the game is ensuring that the five cards you choose are not only well chosen, but that they are well placed on the board. 

For those who had the good fortune of living in Japan and have played the arcade game, the game has even more online support that lets you not only use your Capsule Card to import your data, but also play against and trade cards with other players. This acts as a fine facsimile in place of the original arcade game. 

The Verdict

This is a game for all Dragon Ball fans. It's smartly designed, well presented, well animated and most appreciative of the strong, two-decade legacy that it is built upon. 200 characters, 800 cards, intense 5-vs-5 battles, a gripping story mode that links directly with the show, and so much more. Controls are easy to manage and if you're a fan of strategy games, this game will feel very familiar to you, requiring a player to carefully pick his cards and place his fighters on the four-tiered board. The soundtrack is also highly reminiscent of the anime, so in effect the game is the complete package, offering Dragon Ball fans everything they could look for in a title bearing its name. 


Dragon Ball Arcade icon

Type Freeware


Size 20.63 MB

Other versions