Pokemon Rumble World – the Save Game Review
Pokemon Rumble is a kids game. Pokemon Rumble World is a free game with pay-to-play options, developed for the Nintendo 3DS. You’d think that mixing a beloved franchise and pay-to-play would be bad for business, or at least create something that’s just awful, but I’m honest in saying that despite its simplicity, Pokemon Rumble World isn’t half bad.
The objective of Pokemon Rumble World is still centered around capturing Pokemon, but just like previous Rumble spin-offs, the classic Pokeman gameplay has been changed. Instead of the turn based battles Pokemon fans are used to, Rumble World is full of button mashing action. Previous games in the series have been met with mixed results, so at first I wasn’t all that keen on the idea, and with good reason. Taking out the biggest elements of Pokemon, namely battling trainers and capturing creatures in the wild, leaves little else to be excited about.
Rumble World opens with your Mii lookalike handed an important quest to capture Pokemon toys from a King in order to stop an evil wizard/witch/thing. The toys are strewn around various areas, but the only way you’ll get to them is by taking a balloon ride first, which costs you Poke Diamonds to unlock. This will instantly remind you of every iPhone or Android game where the only way to progress is to either have the correct amount of collectibles handy, or pay with real money. Luckily, Pokemon Rumble World is far more lenient than most pay-to-play games. Poke Diamonds are easy enough to get, and the cool down time for balloons to be active again is fairly short.
To play, you’ll take your chosen Pokemon toy, journey to a certain area, and mash the B and A buttons to take down other Pokemon toys. It’s a sort of ‘Diablo Lite’, where by a few dozen Pokemon will attack you at any one time, and each has its own health bar. Every Pokemon you have on your person can be swapped in during battle, so if your health bar gets low, just switch out. The only risk there is finding a spot where you’re not being attacked, which can be a little tricky during boss battles (every island tour ends with one).
Pokemon Rumble World is not all that hard to play. It’s a kids game after all; a high level of difficulty wouldn’t be a smart design choice. The only real challenge of sorts comes in the daily quests for the King, where you take on the evil wizard dude or some such thing. Of course, the right Pokemon will still bring him down easily enough. As you unlock other areas to explore, you’ll find stronger Pokemon to fight with, always better than the last one you found, to the point where you’ll probably never settle on one favourite for too long.
As a free to play game, Pokemon Rumble World does have a lot going for it. As I said, the standard ‘wait to play’ features are there, but they aren’t misleading,. They don’t require long wait times, and you can go without having to pay anything at all to enjoy the game. Plus, there’s a fair amount to do, even when you’re waiting. Those daily quests will keep you coming back, and finding all the Pokemon will, of course, keep you running for a good while.
What’s better, there’s some smart Mii integration here. You’ll get the usual StreetPass options where by the more people you walk past who have played the game, the more will appear within it. When they do, they can aid you during certain quest attempts by tagging along with health potions. They can also help you get back to certain locations faster (or in some cases brand new locations) by using a diamond or two.
But the best feature simply requires the use of your StreetPass coins, which can be spent inviting people from online to visit your world, sometimes even for free. This wonderful addition allows those who either don’t travel with their 3DS, or don’t cross paths with other players often, to never miss out on the full experience. This is something that other 3DS StreetPass games should follow suit with. Lord knows I’m still missing a butt ton of puzzle pieces.
Pokemon Rumble World’s only real downside is in its presentation. The visuals are colourful, but fairly basic. There are a lot of rough edges and the like, but it does get the job done. I couldn’t help but wonder what an indie developer with enough time could do with this franchise, but it’s still a kids game so criticizing it from an adult’s perspective is a little pointless.
Nintendo will be breaking into the mobile market in many ways over the coming year, and if Pokemon Rumble World is anything to go by, the results should be rather solid. Yes, it isn’t a Pokemon game per se, but what’s here is enjoyable if you allow it to be. It can also be rather addictive. I’ve lost track how many times I’ve been watching that clock run down so I can take another balloon ride.
Pokemon Rumble World won’t break any new boundaries, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to the rock solid 3DS library. As a free game that doesn’t talk down to its audience AND is safe for kids to play without adults worrying about a growing credit card debt, I’m happy to recommend it. Even for those adults wanting something to muck around with until the next AAA release.