Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Platform: iOS / Android
Version Reviewed: Android version 1.0.5
Category: Adventure, Action
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: May 15, 2019 (AUS) / May 22, 2019 (EU)
It’s time to be the very best like no one ever was, with toy versions of Pokémon scattered across islands to be discovered and caught. The Free-To-Play mobile title is now live to play on Android and is on its way to iOS. Before you dive into Pokémon Rumble Rush, be sure to check out our review to see if it’s worth it or not.
Pokémon has a long rich history and probably as many spin-offs as Nintendo’s own Super Mario. One particular Spin-off series is Pokémon Rumble also known as Melee! Pokémon Scramble in Japan. The series started off as WiiWare software for the Nintendo Wii back in June 16, 2009.
The series has since seen 4 new iterations released. Pokémon Rumble Blast and Pokémon Rumble World launched on Nintendo 3DS. Pokémon Rumble U released on the Nintendo Wii U. Pokémon Rumble Rush is the fifth and latest instalment in the series and is available on Android mobile devices. The game is promised to come to iOS devices at some point as well.
Step forth young adventurer and get ready for a Poké adventure like never before! The Adventurers Club enlist your help to travel and research new islands and the Pokémon that inhabit them. You must battle your way through the many different locations on each island, catching Pokémon as you go.
That pretty much sums up the plot of the game. It is not the most elaborate of plots nor are there any twists or developments. It is rather simple and will not be giving Fire Emblem Heroes a run for its money any time soon.
On your travels in a hot air balloon, you must find a location to find and catch Pokémon by using guide feathers. You are given a couple at the beginning of the game in order to begin your adventure. You can receive more guide feathers by beating Super Bosses and end of stage bosses as well. End of stage bosses do not guarantee Guide Feather drops. Sometimes they can sometimes drop coins and ore instead or as well.
Just before you begin your adventure, you will be given a Pokémon. You need this Pokémon to fight others in order to defeat them and possibly catch them. To do that however, you will need to find a location. Once you find a location, you will be taken to a linear stage. Your Pokémon will automatically walk upwards, attacking anything in its path. In the Tutorial, you will have to do the attacking yourself by tapping the screen. Once the Tutorial is over however, you will gain the ability to auto-attack.
As mentioned before, you can order your Pokémon to attack by tapping the screen. Your Pokémon only has a single attack but you can charge it up by holding your finger down, to make it more powerful. Depending on the attack, they may have a status effect like Burn, Paralysis or Flinch. You can activate a secondary attack with the help of Summon Gears.
Summon Gears allow the player to summon another Pokémon associated with the Gear to do a very powerful attack. You can’t just use a Summon Gear whenever you feel like it though, you have to build the power meter up first by defeating other Pokémon. Once the meter is full, you can activate the Summon Gear.
After defeating Pokémon, some of them will drop figures of themselves that you can use for yourself. Each Pokémon has a CP level or Combat Power level to help indicate how powerful a Pokémon is. The higher the CP level, the stronger that Pokémon will be. There are also three kinds of Pokémon drops; White, Blue and Gold.
White drops are very common and give players relatively low CP level Pokémon Blue drops are uncommon and award players with relatively stronger Pokémon. Gold drops are the rarest of them all and much more rewarding, gifting the player a strong Pokémon with good stats.
Though only one Pokémon can be used at any one time, you can swap between Pokémon during battle. On the Pokémon screen, you can organise your Pokémon in a myriad of ways including by name, Pokédex No. and CP Level. You can also make your Pokémon stronger by attaching Power Gears to them.
Depending on the type of Move a Pokémon has, you can attach Power Gears affiliated with that type to increase the CP level. Depending on the individual Pokémon, they can have one or two Power Gear slots. Power Gears can also be upgraded by using Upgrade Kits and P (In-game currency). This allows you to Power up your Pokémon even more so.
Going back to fighting with Pokémon or more specifically, Super Bosses, you have to meet the necessary requirements first. These can be anything from “Catch X many kinds of Pokémon.” “Catch a Particular Pokémon” or “Have a Pokémon with X amount of CP.” Once the requisites are met, you can then take on the Super Boss. Beating them will allow more kinds of Pokémon to be found.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
So, what else is there to do aside from finding, battling and catching Pokémon in Adventure mode? Well, there are a few things you can do, like refining Ore that you have found in your battles, organize and upgrade your Power Gears and Summon Gears and organize the Pokémon you have caught.
As regards to refining ore, There are three types of ore; Common, Unusual and Rare. Each one takes a certain period to refine and can reward the player with Power Gears, Summon Gears and P. You can only refine one piece of ore at any one time but you can purchase extra slots in the in-game shot with real-world currency.
If you are looking for more challenge, you can participate in Tournaments. There are four classes that differ in difficulty. The Prelims: First Round only has two Opponents to fight and is the only Tournament that players can participate in the beginning. After beating the Prelims: First Round, you will unlock Prelims: Final Round. In the Prelims: Finals, there are three opponents to fight against and are much tougher than the first Class.
Next, there is the Normal Class, which you can access once you beat the Prelims: Final Round. Again, there are another three opponents to fight. Last of all, there is the Great Class. You can only take on the challenge of Great Class after previously beating the other three classes. It is the toughest of all and recommends that you have Pokémon over 3000 CP in order to stand a chance.
You can only participate in a tournament once a day. It’s kind of downer for anyone who loses as they can’t rematch. If you do win however, you will earn a “cash prize” of P (5,000 / 10,000 / 15,000/ etc.). What the developers should have done was allow player to have more attempts to try if they fail. If they won however, they wouldn’t be able to retry until the next day.
Another feature is the Shop. Here you can purchase in-game items with real world money that can help give players a bit of an edge. There is a starter bundle with an exclusive Pikachu “Spark” Summon Gear. Another Shop item gives you more diamonds and an extra refinery slot. You can also purchase Poké Diamonds that you can use to speed up ore refining.
On the topic of Poké Diamonds, you can also earn them by completing challenges like catching so many kinds of Pokémon, Get your Adventurer level up to level X, etc. Poké Diamonds can only be used to refine ore but there is also another item that can be used to refine ore quicker as well, Refine Tickets. Every day when you log in to play, you will be rewarded Refine Tickets. These can used as an alternative to Poké Diamonds to refine ore when needed.
As regards to Islands and locations. Each Island event will take place for two weeks and will be on rotation. After the Charizard sea event is over, Players will start their next adventure on a new Island. Another little extra is that if you find a “virgin” location, untouched by anyone else, you will be able to rename the location for yourself.
You can replay up to three stages at any time but if you discover any new stage, it will remove an older stage from the replay list. You can ‘lock’ one stage so it does not get removed from the list but if you choose to lock another stage, you will ‘unlock’ the previously locked stage.
Sometimes on the Adventure Mode screen, you will see other hot air balloons appear. If you click on them, you will be given the option to travel to a location and will get another adventurers’ Pokémon to help you out during the stage. You can’t replay these stages but you can still catch Pokémon all the same.
Pokémon Rumble Rush is fast-paced, in gameplay and audio. The music is upbeat and has a quick tempo on the adventure mode screen, during stages and the end stage results screen. It wouldn’t feel out of place in a Sonic game or at a dance party. In contrast, the music is a lot less fast-paced yet still adventurous on the home screen.
The sound effects are nicely done but they are by no means original. A lot of them have been reused from previous Pokémon Rumble games. I must admit that I did play the game with the volume down most of the time. Not because I didn’t enjoy it during short bursts but after long periods, it can grate on the nerves a little as it gets very repetitive.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
When I started playing Pokémon Rumble Rush, I was not impressed with the visuals at all. Text and menus were clear enough to read but the Character models were hideously blurry. Fortunately, I managed to find the answer to improving the graphics in the Game Settings menu and it made a huge difference. Even though the Pokémon Models still have rather jagged edges, at least they were easier on the eye to look at now.
Performance on the other hand, can be very hit and miss. It really depends on the device that you are using. For example, I have a Motorola Moto G Play so it doesn’t have the same specifications as the latest generation of smartphones. In my case, If I choose to have the best resolution as possible, the performance will be really choppy and slow. If I lower the resolution, gameplay will be much smoother but will be fuzzy to look at.
When I first downloaded Pokémon Rumble Rush, I was immediately taken aback by the resolution. After resolving the issue though, I had a much more enjoyable experience. The gameplay though relatively simple, it is incredibly addictive. Before I knew it, I had put in over 47 hours of play.
Though it managed to capture me for such amount of time, it was not without its faults. Pokémon Rumble Rush starts out fluidly between Super Boss and Super Boss but the grind gradually gets longer and longer as you invest more time into the game. In the end, it would be at least a day or two before I could take on the next Super Boss, as I caught Pokémon by the lorry loads, only to sell them on when they weren’t strong enough.
I found looking for Pokémon locations on the map very misleading. You are given a list of Pokémon sightings but 9/10 times you will find a location with a Pokémon completely different to the one you are trying to find (I’m looking at you Charizard). This makes it extremely difficult to pin down a particular Pokémon that you are looking for, especially when the list of Pokémon sightings is supposed to help you find Pokémon.
As regards to the “Free-To-Play / Pay-To-Win” Mechanic. It is definitely present but you cannot guarantee a “win” even if you paid for premium items. You still need to manage your resources so you don’t misspend precious P and upgrade kits on just one Power Gear. You need to share the resources out in case you get a Pokémon with a different type move that requires a different Move Gear.
Very Addictive Gameplay that is simple yet deep. There is enough to keep players engaged for short periods of time but not enough to maintain players’ attention for long plays between battling and catching Pokémon.
THE VERDICT: 7/10
*The game was downloaded via Google Play & In-game purchases were made for the purposes of this review
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