Originally released in 2010, the 3DS re-release of the original DS title unfortunately hasn’t seen too much of an update – visually, nothing has changed, and the soundtrack is still locked in the DS’ MIDI purgatory. Lightning Bolt is an incredibly colourful game, and its target audience is clear – this is a title aimed at children who are into their football. The shallow story – centralised around a group of kids trying to qualify to play for Japan’s national side – is brought to life with some entertaining voice acting, the enthusiasm of which is sure to appeal to a younger audience, and the game is brimming with tutorials that could teach even the youngest players the mechanics of the game with ease.
Gameplay itself is fairly straightforward – taking the form of a standard JRGP in the overworld, players are thrust into ‘Football battles’ with opposing teams in 4-on-4 bouts where passive stats and active skills combine to deliver an action-RPG style battle. A mixture of stylus swipes and taps make your players pass and shoot, and should you find yourself in a sticky situation, you can enter a Command Battle in which players engage in ridiculous, over-the-top supermoves that can change the tide of battle instantly.
The only time the game takes advantage of the 3DS features is in the social aspects: with a couple of SpotPass, StreetPass and 3DS link options available, the game slightly redeems its lazy porting. There isn’t much depth to these features outside of being able to acquire new players for your team from people you pass in the street, or collect extra items to use in battle. The features tap into that compulsive collector’s mentality children have, though, and that’s what matters in a title like this.