New Details On Bandai Namco’s Animal Kaiser Plus For The UK & USA

arcadehero March 26, 2024 0
New Details On Bandai Namco’s Animal Kaiser Plus For The UK & USA

At two recent trade shows (EAG and Amusement Expo), Bandai Namco Amusement showed off the return of their kids card arcade game, Animal Kaiser Plus. Today, we’re taking a deeper dive into the game thanks to Anna from Bandai Namco Amusement America, so let’s jump in!

The Series

Animal Kaiser is a long-running series of card vending arcade games that started in Japan back in 2007. Foremostly targeted towards children, much like Sega’s earlier Mushiking and Dinosaur King, its appeal has extended out towards older players too. Several iterations of the game were released, creating pockets of fans all over the world. While it did appear in the States, most of its cabinets ended up in Hawaii, so it isn’t super well-known here on the mainland. It fared much better in the UK, where numerous official tournaments were held, although without a new release in the series for a little while, cabinets have been becoming more scarce on location over there.

But now, Animal Kaiser is making its return. In my correspondence with Anna, I asked why Bandai Namco are bringing the franchise back, and the reasoning behind rebooting it starting from the original game, to which she replied:

“After the previous run of Animal Kaiser ended, we received a lot of requests from operators and players from the US and UK to bring the game back.

I personally feel like it fits perfectly with this generation of players. We’ve seen card collecting blow up in the past few years among people of all ages, so I feel like AK+ will attract both hardcore collectors and casual players.”

Animal Kaiser Plus

As previously mentioned on AH, the game was first prominently promoted at EAG, following a small teaser post on the official AK UK Facebook page late last year that slipped under our radar. While I noticed it in Ted’s coverage of the event, I had forgot just how big an impact AK had made over there. As such, AK Plus will be released to the UK first, this next month in fact, then it will roll out to the US “soon after”. Having said that, its cabinets were not yet available to try out at EAG – just a promotional area with Bandai Namco Amusement Europe reps discussing the game – whereas at Amusement Expo, they were there in person for the first time. Because of this, we do have some first look gameplay footage to share:

As you can see from the footage and promotional posters, AK Plus keeps the core gameplay of the original game much the same. To quote Anna in regards to this aspect:

The software has not been changed besides a suitable upgrade to hardware. Many of the operators and players enjoyed the original mechanics and software, so the development team kept it the same as to not ruin the integrity of AK.

We’ve also added a new “Card Buying Mode” that allows players to purchase cards from the machine without having to play a game. We are hoping that this increases players coming back just to collect cards!

As I mentioned before, we feel like we are hitting a good spot in the market where both kids and adults enjoy card collecting TCGs and arcade games. This is a huge market there that I hope we can find a sweet spot in.

In addition, many of the kids who played the original game are grown up and we hope that the familiarity of AK+ can strike a chord with them.

It’s worth noting that kids aren’t picky about graphics. Of course, I think that you should still maintain a smooth frame rate of at least 60fps (which AK Plus does), but don’t let the fact that it looks like a PS2 game make you dismiss it out of hand.

The Cabinet

AK Plus utilizes a brand new red cabinet design with a 16:9 monitor. The older cabinets still used a 4:3 screen – possibly one of the latest arcade games to do so – so while not completely necessary for a series primarily aimed at kids, it’s nice to see them moving even AK on. Here is a high resolution shot, in case what you saw in the video isn’t satisfying enough:

Animal Kaiser Plus, Final Cabinet, by Bandai Namco Amusements

According to Anna, the MSRP hasn’t been determined quite yet, but operators can expect “around” 4000+ in the UK and around $5000+ in the States. This also puts the game into a very competitive pricing space, given how many titles out there are well above $10,000 these days.

The Cards

Last but certainly not least are the cards – the main reason many will seek out and play this game. As Anna mentioned, the tastes of the global market have changed enough where Bandai Namco feels confident enough in taking the concept to this degree of production. But if you’re a fan, you are probably wondering about some things in this regard. Here’s the low-down up to this point:

  • There will be 78 cards under Version 1
  • Version 2 is still TBD
  • Pricing per box of cards is also TBD at this moment, but will be revealed soon
  • Only new cards from Animal Kaiser Plus will work for the new machines. Players may still collect and keep old cards, but they will not be usable in new cabinets.

Animal Kaiser+ Cards

So there you have it – a new and affordable game in the “kidtainment” space. What do you think of Animal Kaiser Plus? Would you like to see a location near you get this?


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