In preparation for the October 24th release date (America), I’ve decided to finally write up my review for Pokemon Rumble Blast. I hope to give anyone on the fence about the game a better overview of it and help you make a better decision about whether or not it’s a spin-off you’ll want to play. I’ve beaten the main storyline and have also spent over 30 hours playing it now (haven’t checked that for 2 weeks though). Read on!
If you’ve never played Pokemon Rumble for the Wii, you may not be familiar with how this game works. It is not a traditional turn based battle system like the main games, but instead a real time fighting system with “toy pokemon” running rampant launching attacks at each other. Almost all attacks are represented in the game and there are a wide variety of animations. Players will quickly notice there are several types of attack styles, with up close physical moves, projectile launching attacks, and long range as well. It’s up to personal style what type of attack you’ll actually want to use most often. Each pokemon you obtain (some pokemon will randomly fall to the side as toys and you may pick them up) can have up to two attacks.
Attacks aren’t the only thing that differentiates pokemon toys. You’ll also be trying to get pokemon with higher levels, meaning more HP/def/atk. Levels don’t stop at 100 this time around, by the end of the game you’ll be using toys at 2,100 or more. Into the game you’ll also discover that some pokemon have special “abilities” which have various effects. Soon a page will be published on all of the abilities.
There are several “towns” which essentially act as hubs for going out into the field. In towns you may turn in pokemon toys for cash, view your collection, see game stats, and start multiplayer. Getting out into the field reveals areas to enter (Forest, Beach, etc) that are instanced areas that have several parts which end in a boss battle. The game is essentially moved forward by completing these stages in order to unlock “Battle Royal” matches which unlock the game to the next field area.
Some may find this game advancement to be too linear. Occasionally you’ll have to keep replaying stages to seek out a pokemon strong enough to beat a particular challenge. There is no real exploration outside of the main stages.
There is a storyline here… You’re immediately put into a boss battle and then discover that some sort of evil miasma is polluting the water. Your quest will follow who’s behind it and ultimately face off with the most evil being in existence. From an objective standpoint, the story really serves no purpose besides advancing the areas. Don’t expect any epic or to be emotionally involved with the characters…
Love ’em or hate ’em. The pointy Pokemon Ranch-esque models re-appear for Rumble’s 3DS debut. Personally, I liked the graphics and thought the chibi pokemon were extremely cute. On the Wii they felt like a disappointment because of what a console is capable of, but on a handheld I was just happy to see 3D models. Your mileage may vary.
Environments are presented in a locked view: offset top-down camera. If this game sees a sequel I would LOVE some camera freedom. Full 3D environments would be much more thrilling to navigate.
Slowdown hit me more than a couple times when a bunch of pokemon are on the screen launching attacks. First time I’ve noticed that sort of thing in a Nintendo game. It’s not particularly bad, but for the complexity of the graphics I’m surprised that it couldn’t run a bit smoother.
Moving your pokemon can be done with the slide pad or the d-pad, which I suppose is a plus for those of you who like the antiquated directional pad control. There were a few disappointing omissions from the control scheme that were quite obvious to me. The L and R buttons are not utilized while searching your pokemon list is done by pushing the start button (an awkward thumb reach). Players may be shocked that you cannot use the touch screen to scroll through the pokemon or even select them. Really? This isn’t the original DS where touch screen technology was a new thing coming from the gameboy. Otherwise it was smooth controlling, slide pad feels great.
Is Rumble Blast as complex as the main series? No. It’s a linear game that simply offers an addictive arcade fighting system. I have played it even after finishing because it’s a fun pick up and play game that is perfect for short gaming bursts (ie: train commutes every day). I’d definitely say it’s a fun game that most pokemon fans will enjoy. Verdict: Buy
If you have questions, please post a COMMENT and I’ll try to answer it!