One of the most eagerly anticipated mobile games of the year is One Punch Man: World, which will also be receiving a PC release published by Crunchyroll Games in 2023. Adapting the hit manga/anime franchise One-Punch Man by ONE, the game recently launched a closed beta period for fans interested in getting an early extended hands-on experience with the game. Though getting into the game is slowed by a prolonged tutorial period, once the true breadth of the game and immersion into the One Punch Man universe begins, One Punch Man: World is a fun, accessible game to pick up and play while offering a surprising depth in gameplay.
One Punch Man: World begins with three heroes who have recently joined the Hero Association, an organization dedicated to combating monsters as they surface all over Japan. After several opening missions, players get access to veteran heroes from the One-Punch Man anime series, from the cybernetic Genos to the unassuming Saitama, taking on familiar foes from epic moments in the series and new battles. Along the way, players can explore the world of the game, navigating multiple cities and taking on side missions as they either recreate key story beats or forge their own action-packed adventures.
After a rip-roaring prologue showcasing the base gameplay mechanics with Saitama, One Punch Man: World transitions to its dedicated tutorial sequence led by a trio of more obscure characters, including the super-powered speedster Lightning Max. The tutorial covers how to upgrade characters, swap lead heroes within a team, and trigger ultimate attacks as they take on a series of enemies to give the player a better idea of the breadth of gameplay. Coming off the frenetic prologue, this throws off the pacing a bit, but in the game’s defense, there is a lot of information to go over before it begins in earnest – one can’t help but wonder if there was a more streamlined way to get this across.
Gameplay-wise, the beta for One Punch Man: World feels very much like the early access build available at Comic-Con International 2023 in San Diego this past July, with the same mouse-and-key oriented controls – for the sake of this beta, the PC was used instead of mobile devices. Anyone familiar with hot-keyed online action games, like World of Warcraft or DC Universe Online, will find the gameplay very similar to these experiences. With its use of timing and building the right team for a given battle, there is a surprising depth to One Punch Man: World, but it is accessible for those who just want to click through fight sequences.
Once players get to leave the Hero Association’s headquarters, the game opens up to a more immersive environment while retaining options to dip back into quick battles and side missions. From character designs to the Japanese cities that it brings to life, this is a highly detailed experience, and it’s fun getting to explore the different locales that the beta has to offer. One Punch Man: World is a clear love letter to the anime series, with plenty of nods and references for fans to seek out and enjoy as they allow themselves to get lost in the world and play as their favorite heroes.
After getting through an extended tutorial section, there is definitely a lot to like about One Punch Man: World, especially for fans of the manga and anime series. Faithfully recreating the show’s aesthetic while offering frenetic gameplay and plenty of game modes to check out alone or with friends online, this stands as the best video game adaptation of the property to date. There’s a lot to love here, and with this only being a closed beta, the final game should provide an even more expansive experience upon its eventual wide release this year.
Developed by Perfect World and published by Crunchyroll Games, One Punch Man: World will be released sometime in 2023. The game will be available on PC and mobile devices, with pre-registration open now.