Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pokemon Rumble World (3DS) Review

Time for another Nintendo 3DS review in this totally Nintendo 3DS month here at SuperPhillip Central. Pokemon Rumble World is the fourth installment in the Pokemon Rumble spin-off series of Pokemon games. It originally released in free-to-start fashion last year. Last month it received a physical retail version. Here's my in-depth review.

I'm a Pokemon Boy. In a Pokemon World.

Last year, Pokemon Rumble World released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop with a free-to-start version. It offered the full game, but many things were dependent on earning Poke Diamonds, the main currency of the game. You were limited in what you could do per day because you lacked this important currency. Now, a year later, Pokemon Rumble World has entered retail form, eschewing the mobile-style business model that stymied players. While that's all well and fine, is Pokemon Rumble World worth the $30 asking price?

After every 10 new Pokemon species you befriend, you reach a new Adventurer Rank.
The hub world of Pokemon Rumble World is known as Castle Town. This area houses the Balloon Stop, where you can visit the game's levels, the Castle, where you can take on one of the king's requests to further the story (however, annoyingly, you only get one new request each day, and the Shop, where you can spend money and Poke Diamonds on an exhaustive amount of goods. These goods range from new hot air balloons to take you to new areas featuring brand-new Pokemon, clothes for your Mii, stat boosts in the form of trees, and special goodies like a Diamond Miner that grants you 40 Poke Diamonds per day.

Speaking of which, the big difference between the free-to-start version of Pokemon Rumble World and this retail version is that at the beginning of the game you can visit a special section of the Shop to automatically receive 3,000 Poke Diamonds from the king's exhaustive supply. With these you can purchase new hot air balloons as stated earlier, but also use these to re-inflate used balloons. Once you use a hot air balloon, generally you have to wait a specified cool-down period until the balloon re-inflates, ready to be used once again. However, with so many Poke Diamonds available to you, you can just spend one Poke Diamond to restore a given hot air balloon to its inflated glory.

The roulette wheel is as annoying in the beginning of the game as it was in the free-to-start version.
Each hot air balloon houses multiple stages in Pokemon Rumble World, featuring different Pokemon to uncover and collect. However, for a good while in the game, what stage you play is totally dependent on a roulette wheel. It's basically based on luck regarding which stage you play. Later in the game you can purchase the ability to stop the roulette wheel wherever you want, and you can even get a special hot air balloon that takes you to a series of stages featuring Pokemon you haven't yet collected, making the other hot air balloons almost worthless. 

Regardless, the actual stages of Pokemon Rumble World feature one of over a dozen locale types: from beaches to forests, grasslands to deserts, and so on. These stages are extremely linear, rarely ever offering a multiple path to take. Each stage is devised up of three to four short areas, and they all end with a boss battle. These boss battles put you against a large version of a rarer Pokemon in an arena style battlefield. Defeating the boss Pokemon, while dodging the attacks of a plethora of smaller Pokemon, brings the exit to the level, a hot air balloon piloted by your Mii, into play. 

A big time boss awaits your Pokemon at the end of each stage.
Overall, stages play out well for the handheld formula, only taking upwards of three minutes to complete, and that might be overestimating still. While it's nice that stages are linear enough that you'll never ever get lost, especially with the game pointing out where the portal to the next area is at all times, this results in some boring level design. I would have loved to see more labyrinthine dungeon-like areas, perhaps with some hidden treasure inside. That said, for the purposes of simplicity, what's here in Pokemon Rumble World works well enough.

You can use the StreetPass and SpotPass features of the Nintendo 3DS to call up other Miis into your game. From Castle Town, you can invite other Adventurers into the hub. Every five Miis entered into Castle Town gives you one Poke Diamond. Meanwhile, these new found Miis will also randomly be in Pokemon Rumble World's stages. Once you rescue them from assaulting enemy Pokemon, they will follow you for as long as their HP gauge has some life in it, occasionally tossing to your Pokemon helpful items like Potions and stat-boosting items like X-Speed and X-Defense. 

Thank you, Andy. There will be an extra bonus in your paycheck this week.
Adding Pokemon to your force of pocket monsters doesn't play out like the mainline series. There are no Poke Balls to chuck at a rival Pokemon in a weakened state. Instead, as you smash and slam your way through the linear levels of Pokemon Rumble World, defeated Pokemon will sometimes transform into immobile toy form, ready to be picked up by your current Pokemon by simply moving over it. Most of the time, though, a defeated Pokemon will just drop money, but as your Pokemon Adventurer Rank rises from collecting more and more different Pokemon species, the chance of a beaten Pokemon turning into a Pokemon you can have join your side gets larger. 

For a greater probability of having a defeated Pokemon join your side, you can defeat them while they are in a wobbled state. This temporary state is the result of both luck and a powerful attack. The Pokemon will then stand in a confused and bewildered state, and if you can empty their HP gauge while they're in this state, you are 100% guaranteed to be able to have them join your side. Purchasing something called a Wobble Tree from the in-game shop helps to affect how often Pokemon will enter this dazed state. There are multiple levels of trees in Pokemon Rumble World to buy, and these trees can affect everything from how much money you earn from fallen Pokemon to boosting every Pokemon in your possession's attack, defense, and speed.

Surrounded but not surrendering.
No two captured Pokemon are the same, or at least it's incredibly unlikely (exponentially so) to ever capture two exactly alike Pokemon. This is because each Pokemon not only has a power level that shows how strong and how much HP a particular Pokemon has, but each Pokemon also possesses at most two different moves, usually relating to its type, whether it be fire, water, grass, and so forth. Like the mainline Pokemon games, what type of Pokemon your controlled pocket monster is means that attacks used on it that are super effective on it will result in huge HP losses. Fortunately, using a super effective move (such as Fire Spin on an Ice type Pokemon) will result in a quick beatdown of your opponent.

These Water type Pokemon are going to regret dealing with the Electric type Pikachu.
The combat in Pokemon Rumble World is simple, perhaps too simple for most players. However, for me the basic two button attack system, one button for one move, one for the other, worked for me. It resulted in a relaxing battle system, albeit quite mindless, save for the boss battles. Even then, those fights mostly result in attacking a boss from behind and moving out of its way when it charges up for an attack. 

There are over 700 Pokemon to collect in Pokemon Rumble World, and that task alone will take you some time to do. It's quite enjoyable and exciting to befriend a Pokemon that you've been hunting for a long time, as since the chance for befriending a Pokemon increases as your Adventurer Rank rises, you won't find yourself grinding as much for new Pokemon as you were at beginning of the game. Also as your rank rises, you can purchase new goods from the Castle Town Shop. Finally, there is a massive abundance of titles to earn, achieved by completing in-game tasks, such as collecting all of a certain type of Pokemon. Some of these are just for show while others unlock new outfits for your Mii, as well as backgrounds and frames for your Mii's profile picture.

From cemeteries to the treetops, there are plenty of locales to "explore" in Pokemon Rumble World. 
Pokemon Rumble World is a basic brawler with even more basic level design. If you can find enjoyment from amassing an army of toy Pokemon, ever befriending new, stronger Pokemon to your cause, then you'll have a lot of fun with this game. If you've already invested money in the free-to-start version, then it's a bit challenging to recommend you purchase this $30 retail version. Though through buying the retail version you need not worry about waiting times for hot air balloons to inflate, being short on Poke Diamonds so you can't buy a certain goodie from the Shop, or some other way that the free-to-start version limits your enjoyment of the game. Overall, Pokemon Rumble World is simple fun, and I emphasize the fun part.

[SPC Says: B-]

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