Since its inception in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam has established itself as "Japan's Star Wars", spawning countless sequels and spin-offs, graphic novels, merchandise, action figures and – of course – a seemingly endless wave of video games.
Unfortunately, like a great many licensed games, a large proportion of these titles are crushingly poor in terms of quality – and that makes picking the best of the bunch a more challenging exercise than you might think.
More than 250 Gundam video games exist, and the vast majority of them aren't exactly essential, but there are some gems to be found – and we've listed some of the ones we like the most below.
This ranks among the top fighting games on the SNES, right up there with your favourite version of Street Fighter II, whichever that may be. It is one of the finest Natsume games on the system, and much like its other offerings, it feels like you have an arcade game at home, mainly due to the amazing graphics and excellent audio. The way the gameplay flows and the ability to use Vernier thrusters truly gives the player the impression of controlling a giant robot instead of a weightless 2D game sprite, something that past Gundam games fail to do. If you are a fan of the show or simply a follower of fighting games in general, this is certainly a Super Famicom cartridge worth having in your collection.
The Dynasty Warriors series combined with Gundam way back in 2007, and 2014's Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn is the fourth iteration. You'd think the formula would be stale by this point, but this hack-and-slash masterpiece has some of the most well-realised combat you'll find in this type of game, as well as the best 'official' story mode that the series has seen. You'll come for the explosions, stay for the addictive levelling mechanics (despite some over-complex touches), and maybe even realise your dreams as you decide to smash a weaponised asteroid into Earth.
A sequel that improves upon just about everything that the original Gundam: Battle Assault did right to begin with, Gundam: Battle Assault 2 is a somewhat overlooked PSone fighter. It still lacks the depth of the more established fighting franchises, but it's managed to retain its unique feel and sense of style even after all of these years. It remains a product meant mostly for fans, but a decent character roster coupled with plenty of Gundam flair should keep nostalgic mech-heads thoroughly entertained. The Japanese versions are slightly different and entitled Gundam: The Battle Master and Gundam: The Battle Master 2. Both are worth a look if you want the 'complete' experience.
Released in Japanese arcades in 2006, the original Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds Of The Battlefield houses the player in a P.O.D. (Panoramic Optical Display, in case you were wondering), giving them an almost real-world view of what it must be like to sit in the cockpit of a giant, hulking robot. This sequel, launched in Japan in 2021, replaces the P.O.D. with three 43-inch HD screens and massively updates the visuals, thanks to the use of Unreal Engine. What you end up with is arguably the most authentic Gundam experience money can buy – but sadly, it's one that is almost entirely exclusive to Japan.
This team-based shooter boasts a wonderfully realistic feel, which might disappoint those Gundam fans who love the fast-paced action of some of the anime series. There's no story to speak of, and instead, the focus is playing against other pilots online as you wrestle your Universal Century-era Mobile Suits around a wide range of maps. In a neat twist, it's possible for players to exit their robot to capture spawn points, steal enemy Mobile Suits and drive other vehicles. The PS5 update of the game, released in 2021, is the best way to experience this enjoyable free-to-play title.
Gundam Breaker 3 is unique because it's based on 'Gunpla', which stands for 'GUNdam PLAstic' model kit. It's a little less serious than other entries in the Gundam video universe, and therefore the ideal starting point for more casual fans. It's a lot of fun to build your own robot, and the sheer number of parts on offer is staggering. Gundam Breaker 3 is arguably the pinnacle of this particular sub-series; New Gundam Breaker, its follow-up, is something of a step backwards and should be avoided.
A side-story to the mainline 'Universal Century' Gundam anime series, Mobile Suit Gundam 0079: Rise From The Ashes is a first-person shooter which does a wonderful job of replicating what it must be like to pilot a massive bipedal robot. Working with your team, you must take down enemy forces via a combination of brute force and strategy, making this an experience which exercises both your brain and your trigger finger. A Dreamcast exclusive (and one which was fortunate enough to get a North American localisation), Rise from the Ashes might not dazzle quite as much as it did a few decades ago, but the storyline and structure make it one of the most interesting Gundam video games.
Based on the 'Super Deformed' Gundam series, SD Gundam Battle Alliance is a wonderfully challenging tactical title that even non-fans of the anime will love. A highly addictive gameplay loop carries the experience, consisting of bite-sized missions, snappy combat, and the thrill of discovering and unlocking new mobile suits. The grind can feel a bit aggressive at times, and the story's vapid, but there's a clear love for all things Gundam here. If you're looking to explore the wider SD Gundam series, then this is the ideal place to begin.
Set during the One Year War (the abandoned Western version would have been released under the title Mobile Ops: The One Year War), Mobile Suit Gundam: Operation: Troy allows the player to experience the conflict from both sides, taking control of both the Earth Federation and the invading Zeon forces. Playing through both campaigns gives you a different perspective on the war, and there's a surprising amount of out-of-the-mech combat. While Operation: Troy has some rather rough edges, it's still a neat fusion of traditional FPS games like Battlefield with the legendary Gundam universe.
Another Universal Century-based game, Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front, as the title suggests, places you in the role of the antagonistic Zeon forces – marking something of a departure for Gundam video games, which always tend to place you in the role of the Earth Federation. While at first glance it looks like a straight action title, there's a healthy dose of tactical gameplay on offer as well as you marshall your squad to take down enemy bases and complete objectives.
With Capcom at the helm, it should come as no great shock to learn that 2001's Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon is a cut above most other Gundam video games. Boasting enjoyable competitive modes and a fleshed-out campaign which takes you through the events of the classic Gundam anime, the game was ported to the PlayStation 2 in the same year it hit arcades, and was even given a Western release. The Dreamcast port – which arrived in 2002 – remains a Japanese exclusive.
The shining apex of the long-running Gundam Versus sub-series of titles (on home consoles, at least), Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON is, for many people, the ultimate Gundam experience. The series' steep learning curve remains, but once you've broken through that initial barrier, there's a massive amount of metal-mashing fun to be found. As both a comprehensive gameplay package, and as a celebration of all things Gundam, it's very, very hard to fault. If you're lucky enough to live near one, then the most recent arcade entry in this series – 2023's Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. 2 OverBoost – is also worth a look.
That's right, FromSoftware – the team behind Elden Ring, Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Armored Core – made a Mobile Suit Gundam game. Based on the anime and manga series of the same name, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is an action title which follows the plot of the first three episodes of the anime, which unfortunately makes it feel somewhat unfinished. It's also a long way off the quality of FromSoftware's other games, but still very good when compared to previous Gundam titles. It was sadly only released in Japan, so you'll have to battle through a lot of Japanese text to play it – but we'd argue it's worth the effort.
Disagree with any of our picks? Think we've left an amazing Gundam game off the list? Leave and comment and we might just update this guide!