Despite repetitive missions and clunky boss battles, this game succeeds as a love letter to the Gundam franchise. SD Gundam Battle Alliance is a fairly basic 3rd person action game, but there's enough nuance to keep the combat from becoming stale too quickly. Each different Gundam, the franchise's name for a piloted battle robot, has a mixture of long-range and melee attacks to take down opposing Gundams. The basics remain the same for all Gundams: you have light and heavy melee attacks, three sub-weapons, a boost meter that determines how often you can attack or dodge, a guard button, and a few character-specific actions. The variety added by the sub-weapons adds a lot to the play. Gundams that focus on ranged combat, for example, feel different compared to melee-oriented Gundams and from other ranged options. As you progress, you'll earn blueprints to develop more Gundams to pilot and join you on missions, and currency to improve and customize the ones you like best. These can be used in any story mission, and can be taken into online multiplayer as well.
The action's fun, but repetition in the missions drag down the experience. Almost every mission involves fighting a bunch of weaker Gundam opponents alongside your crew of companions for a few minutes before a stronger story-related opponent shows up and the mission ends after your team defeats them. These boss encounters are fun if the robots are of a similar size to your character, but when fighting larger robots, it's much harder to feel in control of the situation or figure out what's happening on screen. The real joy is that it's a collection of "what-ifs" for fans of the different shows in the anime franchise, seeing characters interact with and battle each other. The miniature Gundams, portrait art, and effects all look great and really add to the game's appeal as a Gundam toybox. Even though the structure and gameplay isn't perfect, Gundam fans will find a lot to love in SD Gundam Battle Alliance.