Are you ready to rumble?
Screenshots by SuperPhillip
Screenshots by SuperPhillip
Pokemon is a series where the goal is just like the series' motto: "You gotta catch 'em all". This greed mentality has run through normal Pokemon games and specialized games alike. The very first Wiiware Pokemon release was a simulator where you got to store and play with the various Pokemon you collected in the DS Pokemon games. Those who had been expecting something with more action were left disappointed and confused. Now it's two years later, and Pokemon Rumble is here to bring the goods in the action department, but is this rumble one you'll want to pay the price of admission for?
The story is a simple one in Pokemon Rumble. Apparently, every Pokemon in the region wishes to be declared as number one. In order to do this, they must complete in various battle royals where the winner advances to the next rank. The winner of this competition goes onto become the champion. No endorsement deal, no face on the cover of Rolling Stone, just the title of champion. Oh, and of course, the fun that goes along to achieving the rank.
The game structure is as follows. Your Pokemon begins at Rank C. Your Pokemon team cannot enter the battle royale until your party has at least one Pokemon stronger than a set level. Since you can't gain experience levels (or any type of levels for that matter), you have to befriend new Pokemon to join your team. Befriending Pokemon is a completely random process with rarer Pokemon taking a lot of patience to collect. Once befriended, that Pokemon can be switched in to do battle, replacing the previous Pokemon on the screen. There are ways to better insure the collection of a Pokemon such as hitting them with a critical strike, invoking a status ailment on them, or just by pure persistence. After you have a powerful enough Pokemon for the Battle Royale, you can enter it. Win, and move onto the next rank. Rinse and repeat until you're champion.
There are six areas to explore in each rank. No matter the rank, the level and level structure remain the same which is a bummer. It can make an already repetitive game feel even more so. The six areas house different type of Pokemon. For instance, the Silent Forest level houses grass, bug, and normal type Pokemon. Other levels include a furnace for fire Pokemon, a rocky cavern which houses rock and ground Pokemon, and a large ominous tower home to dark, ghost, and psychic Pokemon. Each level is completely linear. You just go marching through each area, destroying any Pokemon that gets in your way. There's no form of exploration whatsoever which may or may not appeal to many players.
Battles take place in real-time, and at many locations you'll be facing anywhere from 1-15 wild Pokemon at a time. Each of your Pokemon can have up to two moves learned. These can range from short range to long range attacks, healing moves, confusion, paralysis, and poison moves, and stat boosting abilities. Enemies telegraph their attacks, giving you a short window of time to dodge their attacks, but when there's fifteen Pokemon aiming for you, it gets a bit tricky. At the end of each area (areas last five rooms each essentially), you take on a giant version of a Pokemon along with a bunch of smaller chronies in a circular room. Not only does this behemoth Pokemon take more damage, but it also causes more damage, too, and has a larger reach in attacks. After the battle is won, the boss drops a plethora of Rumble Points, the currency of Pokemon Rumble. If you're lucky, you might even be able to befriend boss after battle.
With your points you can use them in a pair of ways. You can use them to purchase new Pokemon at random and buy new moves at random for said Pokemon. You can also release up to five Pokemon in a row to perhaps earn a new Pokemon in the process. You can also gain new friends by inputting an eight digit code for new, rare Pokemon-- ones that would otherwise be unavailable to you. You can also choose to play with up to four friends together in the multi-player mode. Very cool indeed. Perhaps online would have been nice to see, but local multi-player is better than online any day. Though a choice would be even better.
Pokemon Rumble controls as fine as any other dungeon hack-n-slash game. You hold the Wii remote horizontally as if you were playing Excite Truck or Super Paper Mario. The d-pad moves your Pokemon, and the A button is used to move Pokemon in and out of battle. When you pause to select a new Pokemon, the actual game world around you still goes on, so if there's Pokemon around you, perhaps it's not the best to exchange Pokemon now. Meanwhile, the 1 and 2 buttons unleash your Pokemon's individual special abilities. Alternatively, you can choose to play with a Gamecube controller if the above set-up doesn't appeal to you.
[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]