Given the incredible success of Pokemon GO, you might have expected long-time rival Digimon to have gone down without a fight. However, nothing could be further from the truth, as the free-to-play 3DS game Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters Cyber Arena will be launching in Japan on September 21st.
A prime contender for this years "Name Most Likely To Pause Before Saying" award, Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters Cyber Arena will be a free-to-play snippet of the main game, giving players the chance to play the first mission of the campaign, and introducing players to the new deck-building mechanics.
According to Gematsu, the game is set in a terrifying alternate reality where everyone is glued to their smartphones. Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters introduces "Appli Monsters" - a subset of Digimon that originate from within smartphone apps. Referred to as "Appmon", each monster has a different set of traits, abilities, and weaknesses tied to the type of app they hail from. Thanks to the game's main website and some canny translation work, we already know of a few Appmon. Navimon is a "navigation-type" Appmon, based on map software; Onmon will be the main character's Buddy Appmon, and is based on online apps; Offmon will be your rival's Buddy Appmon, and - wait for it - will be based on offline apps.
The game itself is centered on deck building - put a team of your strongest Appmon together and battle with other players and through a single-player campaign. Players will be encouraged to collect more Appmon via Appmon Chips - QR codes scanned in via your 3DS. These will help expand your roster of monsters, with a wide variety of monsters presumably offering a tactical advantage in battles. Appmon on the sidelines will also be able to "Applink" with your active Appmon to gain access to a more powerful form. Think Pokemon crossed with Zords and you're probably not far wrong.
The main game, Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters, has no release date at this time. However, it will continue the storyline begun in Cyber Arena, and data will be transferable into the main game. So if you're looking to get your Digimon on, Cyber Arena seems like a great place to get some practice in before Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters rolls around.
Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters Cyber Arena launches in Japan on September 21st, with no current word on release date for other territories.