This week’s Monday Night Gaming: Pokemon Rumble World (#4)
Last week, I took a look at the freemium game Pokemon Shuffle, which fell prey to everything people hate about the freemium game model. Where Shuffle failed, Rumble World succeeded.
Shuffle lacks any sort of plot line, but Rumble World possess one (albeit a simplistic one). In Rumble World, players act as their Mii‘s in the Kingdom of Toys. Inside this kingdom are 719 “toy versions” of Pokemon. The King has asked the player to travel to various lands to battle and collect Pokemon. Of course, there are obstacles to overcome and villains to defeat. Catching Pokemon increases the player’s Adventure Rank, which in turn unlocks new areas and new items. The items range from the really cool (trees that give your Pokemon skill boosts) to the really lame (new clothing for your Mii for use inside the game only).
What makes this game work for me is that the game play features real-time combat, something that most of the Pokemon games avoids in favor or turn-based strategy. The somewhat random wheel determines which sub-level you’ll play in a world, while rainbows and fevers determine the rarity of the Pokemon that appear. Players can use “wobbles” and other strategies to catch legendaries and other rare Pokemon, so there is a skillful technique to hone for battle. The game comes off less Bejeweled and more like an adventure game or RPG.
The game is freemium with its currency being Poke Diamonds. The difference here is that you can gain diamonds through gameplay, exchange in StreetPass, or purchase (with real money). Players are not solely dependent upon real money to continue play.
[important]Where Shuffle will break the bank a la Candy Crush and its ilk, Rumble World has a maximum purchase limit of 3,000 Poke Diamonds. After you spend real money on those 3,000 diamonds, you’ll have fully purchased the game. You can then mine for diamonds in-game.[/important]
I really like that element. It reminds me of the old shareware model back in the 80’s and 90’s. The freemium part allows the player to try the game before spending money. If you like it, pay the $20-$30 for the game (via Poke Diamond purchase) and the game is yours. It unlocks new features that allow you to continue play without a need to pay.
Poke Diamonds are fairly crucial to the game as you use them to unlock new worlds, unlock new items, increase your chances to find rare Pokemon, continue playing after a Pokemon’s health runs out (aka when you’re defeated), or unlock additional storage for Pokemon.
In addition to the normal worlds, plot progression with the king advances through the completion of challenges, each with specific goals and difficulties. Challenges can be repeated in hard mode or for goal completion.
Each world does have a stamina re-set gauge as part of its freemium model. I hated it at first, but as I got further into the game, it’s less an irritation. By the time I finish running through all the worlds trying to catch Pokemon, most of the worlds have already reset. (I don’t know if the stamina gauge goes away once the diamond limit is hit as I haven’t done that yet.)
Pokemon Rumble World is the fourth game in the series, though it’s the first one I’ve heard about or played.
Overall Impression: I found it a fun game to pick up and put down at my leisure. Certainly leagues better than Pokemon Shuffle. If you’re looking for something fun to fill a long commute on the bus or something, it’s worth checking out.
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