Hands-On: Dragon Ball Origins (DS)


Dragon Ball Origins is Atari’s newest addition the the Dragon Ball franchise and was developed exclusively for the Nintendo DS. I was recently messing around on my Wii’s Nintendo Channel and noticed there was a demo up for the game. Even though the game’s already out I know I can’t afford to buy a copy for review, so I figured a hands-on with the newest demo would be the next best thing.

Click read more for my hands-on with the game.


The game starts out with Chi-Chi running through the woods screaming she’s late. Goku decides to go follow her and see why she’s in such a rush. The demo is then broken down into tutorial sections teaching you basic controls and combat. After punching lots of pigs, rocks and boxes you eventually catch up with Chi-Chi and have to fight her too. After defeating her she tells you she’s on her way to buy her copy of Dragon Ball Origins for the Nintendo DS. Neat.

The control layout is very similar to The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass in many ways. If you’ve ever played that game, you’ll be able to understand and comprehend all, or at least most, of the basic controls. You’ll use the stylus to move Goku by touching where you want him to go, jump over gaps by touching the other side, attack by touching enemies, do powerful attacks by touching yourself then your enemies, switch weapons by touching the icon and… I think that about covers it.

While the controls all work well enough I do have some complaints. The first is that there is no analog detection whatsoever when it comes to moving. You can only run. This becomes annoying when trying to slow down to think about how you should handle a certain situation or think through a tricky platform section. My second complaint is that controls are just kinda clunky overall. It just doesn’t feel like the developers were able to polish the touch controls as much as the team behind Phantom Hourglass did. Keep in mind these are rather small complaints and I didn’t really notice it until my second play through of the demo when I got in critic mode.

Sound effects in this game are all really good. Ranging from short voice clips to pigs dying to rocks breaking, everything sounds like it should and is represented well on the Nintendo DS’s tiny speakers. The background music sounds good, too, and is a nice skippy, care-free song that goes well with the theme of this demo. The only thing I wish they had done was full voice over from the original voice-actors behind the TV show.

Character models all look really good with smooth, clean animations and facial expressions. They are done in a mode that stays true to the series and well represents the Dragon Ball franchise. But Atari has had this license for years now, so it’s not hard to believe they know what they’re doing now.

Environments aren’t quite as god as character models, but are solid none the less. The game is pseudo 3d (think Pokemon Diamond/Pearl) at a locked isometric view. You can easily tell what everything is supposed to be, but it all looks kinda grainy.

My major complaint here is the 2-screen display. The game uses both of the DS screens to create an ultra tall display, but doesn’t account for anything in the small area between the screens where the mic is. You’re just left with a big blind spot and you have no idea what’s under it. This makes things difficult, not only in combat but in general exploration as well. This isn’t the only game to choose this design, though, and I’m not sure why developers keep utilizing this flawed style.

Final Words:

Dragon Ball Origins definitely has some design quirks, but appears to be an overall satisfying package of descent control, good sound and fairly good graphics. The demo was too short to give me a real feel for how the game is gonna play out in a story mode, but it let me know the game is fun.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get a review, since I’m poor, so if anyone has the game and wants to write a review and have it featured on this site, then email me and we can talk.

3 thoughts on “Hands-On: Dragon Ball Origins (DS)

  1. I’m so glad they did a dragon ball game for the ds. I loved the original series and its good to see they are getting back to the series’ roots.

    Nice hands-on, btw.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Recap for Nov. 2nd-9th « Everyview

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