Written by: J.H. Longman
Last year, having finally made the leap, I got round to playing Pokémon Rumble U, and I enjoyed it. Then close to the end of the year I finally got myself a Nintendo 3DS Xl and because of how much I enjoyed the digital Wii U game, I just had to give the 2015 3DS eShop version a try and although they have the same look, they are not the same game. So with this being #PokémonMonth, it’s only fitting that I got round to reviewing the fourth instalment to the series, whilst also bring up some of the differences between the digital version and the newly released retail version.
But before we get into that, let’s start with the story. Set in a Kingdom of Toy Pokémon, within the Pokémon universe, the players Mii is greeted by the King, a Mii who has a terrible problem, his rival, the Magician has a whopping 10 Pokémon and the King only has 1, a single Pikachu. Feeling really bad for him, he gives you his Pikachu and tasks you with catching him more Pokémon than the Magician has. Your Mii then sets off in a hot-air balloon and lands in the King’s Training Field. (Yes, the King only has one Pokémon, but he has a “Training Field” full of them. That’s videogames for you). When your Mii makes it back to the castle, the King dubs you an Official Adventurer, endorsed by him and tasks you with catching more Pokémon and then the adventure can really begin.
For the majority of the April the 8th 2015, released freemium game, you will spend your time in the Castle’s Courtyard, an area just outside the castle, where you have access to the first two buildings of the game, game’s shop, and a building home to the where you can access the hot-air balloons that will take you to where you need to go. When not wanting to quest, or shop, but just roaming around in the courtyard, you can come face to face with the Pokémon you’ve recently released, you can swap your partner, change your settings and even release lower leveled Pokémon you just don’t want. You can also interact with Mii characters you’ve met through StreetPass, SpotPass, or have “called online to visit you.” Also from the courtyard you can access the castle, where you can meet with the King and be tasked with challenges, which especially in the free to download, digital version of the game, is vital to do as these challenges can give you some well needed Poké Diamonds, a very special currency that is crucial to buying more hot-air balloons to keep your adventure going.
For a freemium game, Pokémon Rumble World is actually very good, because although you can just buy up to 3000 Poké Diamonds you’ll need for the game, you can actually earn them as long as you keep playing and doing the challenges. Although you can pay, you don’t have to, it just means it will take you a lot longer to catch ‘em all. However in the retail version of the game, all micro-transactions are disabled and adjustments have been made to counter this. Poké Diamonds remain very much so in the game and upon completing the tutorial with the King, you can visit the shop to receive your 3000 Poké Diamonds. Also from the shop you can purchase the Poké Diamond Digger, which is an absolute steal as you can use the digger to collect and addition 40 Poké Diamonds a day. Once you have both the digger and your 3000 Poké Diamonds, a special VIP Card feature will open up, which includes the Balloon VIP and Timing Stop VIP card, useful means for making sure you go exactly where you want to and have all the time you could possibly need.
Other features in the game include various purchases in the shop, which includes trees which are great for increasing the stats of your Pokémon, new costumes for those of us who like to change our clothes as much as we change our partners for a much stronger companion. There is also backgrounds we can buy for our Mii character and of course the hot-air balloons we mentioned earlier and in order to get some real play out of Pokémon Rumble World, you need as many balloons as you can get because after each trip, the balloon you chose will be out of action for a recharge period, based on real time.
Now what about the battling itself and the catching of Pokémon? Well both are very simple, yes type advantage does come into it and helps, but you can easily just button mash your way through the entire game and still have a similar result and if you happen to get close to dying, you can swap out your Pokémon for another one. Time your swap wrong though and you will find yourself defeated. You can revive yourself at the cost of 2 Poké Diamonds, but it’s just not worth it. Whether you make it to the end of the level, or was defeated, any Pokémon you defeated, you get to keep them anyway. As for the actual catching of Pokémon, all you have to do is defeat a Pokémon and just hope you’ll be able to catch it, same goes for the bosses at the end of it. If a boss Pokémon has a sparkling effect, you will be able to catch it upon defeating it, otherwise be sure to stock up on Wobbly Trees as they boost wobbling chance, which helps with catching all Pokémon, including bosses.
Another reason why catching Pokémon is so important, is because by catching certain amounts at a time, your Adventurer Rank will go up and upon reaching 33 and completing a very special challenge from the King, you will be able to get the Special Stone Shop, where you can buy Mega Stones and the Red and Blue Orb. Another shop you are able to get is the Move tutor shop, a place where you can swap your A and B moves for free, but pay to teach your Pokémon certain moves. As long as you have at least one Pokémon with a particular move, you can pay to teach that move to another one of your captured creatures and obviously the higher starred the move, the greater the cost will be, with 5 Star moves requiring the use of Poké Diamonds.
With all of that said, I’m about ready to cast my final judgement, so here is my list of Pros & Cons:
-Classic case of a freemium done well.
-One of the simplest games you can get in to. Don’t have time for a full of session, not a problem because you can literally play for a few minutes and then get on with the other things you have to do in your day to day life.
-Huge line-up of collectable Pokémon with many challenges to play-through.
-Inclusion of Mega Evolution.
-Gameplay gets a little too repetitive, too soon, leaving the levels looking dull.
-Only when playing the Hard mode option on the King’s challenges, does the game offer any real difficulty, but a powerful team soon counteracts that.
-The wait time between balloons can sometimes last forever, or at least seem that way, so trying to have a full on session doesn’t really pan out. It’s more a case of mini-sessions all through-out the day.
Pokémon Rumble World is a decent game, very fun in small doses, but for me personally, it’s not a scratch on Pokémon Rumble U, so as far as this installment goes, it scores a low 7.8/10.0 challenges completed. That said, if you are looking for a game you don’t really need to spend money on and just want to be able to play every now and then, the digital version of the game is for you, or if you’re the kind to spend money on it, just buy the digital version, you’ll actually save yourself a few coin this way and have a good gaming experience.
But as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of my own and it is encouraged for you to make your own.