The primary mode is the Main Log, a story mode which follows Luffy, with another character occasionally stepping in for specific fights. Main Log features three types of stages. Stronger baddies will show up from time to time, usually signaling a mission to beat them or capture a specific territory. Though the game promises that missions have a great outcome on how the stage plays out, they only make a difference in the Battle of Marineford. Otherwise, the reward consists of a character being available to follow Luffy or activating a support ability to stun the enemies in a territory.
Aesthetically, the title is easily the most colourful game available, with vibrant, detailed character models that sport delightful animations even when walking or running, and the stages, while repetitive in terms of gameplay, boast some lovingly crafted assets and backdrops. It goes without saying, however, that the star of the show is One Piece’s deliciously charming art style itself, which has been brilliantly recreated in this release.
The third stage type, action, is all about platforming using Luffy's rubber abilities, with intermittent enemies and a boss at the end tossed in for good measure. Calling it "platforming" is generous, considering that jumping, hitting, dodging, and grabbing the environment. Beyond extremely light puzzle elements, traversing an environment practically feels on-rails. This can be exciting at the right moments -- the Battle of Marineford comes to mind -- but more often made me wish that the engine supported greater free movement. It doesn't help that Luffy does the same canned animation every time he has a "Eureka!" moment for creating new ways to use his stretchy body to move around.
You can also spend time customizing your characters with ‘Strong Words’ — secret sentences that you find and earn throughout the game. By equipping these quips and aphorisms, you can adjust stats, gain new skills, and deploy all sorts of battle effects, and the fact that they’re based on quotes makes it a fun system to use — it feels a bit like opening a fortune cookie each time you come across a new one. For the most part, this is the exact same game as the console release. There are a few important differences, however, starting with multiplayer. This portable version unfortunately misses out on the co-op play in Story mode, though up to four players can still take on side quests together in local multiplayer as long as everyone has their own copy of the game.
Taking what I had learned from various titles, I was not surprised to learn within five minutes that I could literally run right through any crowd of cannon fodder with zero resistance. In terms of its basic gameplay, One Piece games just feel like an even less engaging rendition of its major template, particularly after the surprise.