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Pokemon Rumble Blast

Pokemon Rumble Blast - Review

by Brent Galietti , posted on 14 November 2011 / 6,577 Views

These creatures that we call Pokémon have taken the world over with memorabilia of all shapes and kinds. So it would only be fitting that a Pokémon game would be created starring Pokémon toys. Thus, Pokémon Rumble Blast has come into existence. As the sequel to WiiWare’s Pokémon Rumble, it marks the first retail release for the fighting playthings. Unfortunately, these toys are better off kept in the toy box.

In this world, Pokémon are sentient wind-up toys. The dream for them is to become Toy Champion. However, this quest gets put on hold when a nefarious thief steals the Glowdrops. Without the Glowdrops, the toy Pokémon can’t heal themselves. It’s up to the player to bring the Glowdrops back. It’s a very simplistic story. In fact, “simple” is the overarching theme of Pokémon Rumble Blast.

You start with a low-power level Pikachu. Within minutes, you'll be fighting other Pokémon and recruiting some of the defeated foes into your team, at which point you’ll switch out Pikachu and forget he ever exists. The game is all about using Pokémon of higher power levels, so you’ll never stick to one Pokémon for very long. Power level is the most influential determinant for how much damage your attacks cause, while type advantages are secondary. All Pokémon have a main attack assigned to the A button and some will also have a second move trigged by the B button. Some of these moves increase stats, which can lead to a little bit of strategy, but, ultimately, you can keep hitting A to clear through wave after wave of enemies and it will be sufficient. Switching between Pokémon is done by opening the menu with X and selecting a new one. Each area ends with a boss battle with a more powerful foe. That sounds great, but each one of them has very similar attack sets, despite being completely different from each other. While it’s fun to lay the smackdown on opposing Pokémon in real-time, there isn’t nearly enough depth to keep it interesting throughout the course of the game, even for a Pokémon fan.

 Occasionally, Rumble Blast throws some change ups. Battle Royales ask you to fight through a hectic battlefield of many Pokémon within a given time limit. The goal is to defeat them all while picking up clocks to add time back on. Some of these are restricted by type, which requires you to have a large party of strong Pokémon available. But that’s never going to be an issue because of how easy it is to pick up new Pokémon in each level. Another scenario has you picking a team of three to rush into a castle and defeat waves of Pokémon, including multiple bosses. This time, you get to experience the fun of having 2 AI controlled partners. The AI’s competence isn't too great but the game mechanics are so simple that it really doesn’t matter all that much. Then there are Charge Battles, where your entire army of Pokémon literally charges straight forwards into the opposing forces, with button mashing and quick analog spinning determining the outcome. The sight of so many Pokémon on screen is impressive, but the gameplay behind it is merely a revisiting of an N64 Mario Party player’s nightmare.

Rumble Blast sports visuals that are average at best. The backgrounds in each world are very basic, and certain areas are reused wholesale in different worlds. The Pokémon themselves are a bit rough around the edges and whimsical, but that’s intentional, since they're all wind-up toys. The 3D adds a nice touch to the experience by prominently displaying where area attacks might hit (such as a yellow glow indicating where the thunderbolts will strike). It also gives the effect of Pokémon you collect jumping out of the top screen and into the bottom screen where your team roster is located. Having 3D on or off won’t affect your ability to play Rumble Blast though, as it’s capable of being played by a blind Pachirisu. 

Audio is limited to a few simple tunes. Many of the levels even have the same music (as if the game needs to remind you how repetitive it is). The tunes and sound effects get the job done but that’s about all you can expect.

If you can stomach the unchanging gameplay throughout Rumble Blast, you’ll find a decent-length game. Pokémon fanatics will enjoy that every single Pokémon is represented in game and may act on their urge to catch ‘em all. But since adding Pokémon to the team is as simple as random chance after defeating them, there’s very little incentive to participate in this collect-a-thon.

Pokémon Rumble Blast is Pokémon’s first full game on the 3DS, but it's unable to capture the magic that makes the main series so addicting. Diehard Pokémon fanatics will certainly be able to milk some value out of it, but for everyone else, the $40 price tag is just too much to ask for such a static, mediocre experience.

VGChartz Verdict


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