Originally posted May 3rd 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Title: Pokemon Rumble World
System: 3DS (eShop)
Price: Free to Play
Release date: 4/8/2015
The main game/story
In this new installment of the Pokemon Rumble series, you take control of your Mii character as you collect toy Pokemon to help a king protect his kingdom from a mysterious wizard and his growing army. Compared to the last two games, the story has been reduced significantly, which is a good thing considering the poor quality of the stories in the earlier titles. The big difference with this game compared to the others is that it’s free to play, and it has a big social element encouraging you to check in every single day.
Pretty much the same as Pokemon Rumble Blast, the prior handheld entry in the Pokemon Rumble series. The common theme in this series is that every Pokemon in the game is actually a toy, therefore they are miniaturized and look slightly different from their counterparts in the other games in the series. Unfortunately, the earlier Pokemon (1-493) still look less like toys and more like chibi characters, which is due to the fact that those Pokemon designs was first used in My Pokemon Ranch for Wiiware, another game made by series developer Ambrella. It also doesn’t help that designs from older stages in the Rumble series were recycled a lot in this entry.
To see these old designs pretty much copied and pasted from the older games is rather disappointing, as I feel that they could have made some of these older Pokemon look more like toys, especially when some of the older creatures now have Mega Evolutions to use that look great! That being said, the designs made for all Pokemon created after the Rumble series was introduced in 2009 (494-719, including all Mega Evolutions and Primal Reversions) look very nice, fitting the aesthetics of being a toy just fine. It’s just a shame to see so much stuff copied from older entries in the series instead of some new, fresh level designs and better Pokemon models.
Music and Sound:
A lot of songs from previous Rumble games appear, and though some of these returning tracks still hold up today, others are rather bland. The new tracks introduced in this installment unfortunately also suffer, sounding generic or bland at best. Like in all other Rumble games, sound effects from previous Ambrella developed Pokemon titles are reused for numerous options, mostly those relating to the menus.
The original Pokemon Rumble on Wiiware was a multiplayer co-op experience with lots of variety and fun levels. Pokemon Rumble Blast on the 3DS attempted to be a more story-based game, though fell short due to a lackluster story and the repetitive gameplay. Pokemon Rumble U tried its hand at NFC figures before Amiibo were introduced, leading to some interesting ideas that again fell short, so what does Pokemon Rumble World have that makes it stand out?
…Well, none other than microtransactions. At first it may seem like this game is doomed from the beginning, but it actually handles them in a clever way. When you first start up Pokemon Rumble World, you’ll notice how the game seems to play as normal. Defeat Pokemon, collect them, release the weaker team members, and rinse and repeat. However, after gaining a few ranks due to collecting a few species of Pokemon, you’ll discover that your usage of the balloon system is limited.
You see, you spend Poke Diamonds in-game to buy balloons, which take you to the different levels via a roulette. (Luckily later on you get an item where you can stop it at will at the cost of a few diamonds) After visiting a level using one of these said balloons, you’ll be unable to use the balloon for a certain amount of time, unless you want to spend an extra diamond to try again. This pretty much means you must wait for certain periods of time before trying the main levels of the game, but in order to unlock new areas you need to save your diamonds. How do you get more diamonds, you ask? Well, you buy them of course!
While they are admittedly inexpensive, it still is a bit of a shame that the game gradually tries to force you to spend money to buy the more expensive balloons. However, if you have the patience, you could also wait and check in via spotpass every day, where you gain diamonds per every five Mii visits. This is where the social aspect comes into play, as anyone on your friends list can appear in game as an ally to help you in stages, giving you many different items, even more diamonds! You also can use play coins to invite three random people if you don’t have that many friends playing the game on your friend list.
This leads to making the game much less repetitive than previous installments, as instead of just playing for hours on end mashing the A and B buttons, you play for a little bit, take a break and then get back into the action. While there are some times that I feel like the game acts cheap in order to make you spend your diamonds, I found it entertaining for the most part.
In conclusion, Pokemon Rumble World tries to experiment with it’s Free to Play style and it’s more social focus, encouraging you to have friends who also own the game to help you out and make things easier. If you have the patience to wait for certain amounts of time to revisit levels or gain more diamonds, then this game will work fine, and you shouldn’t have to spend a cent. However for those looking for a game that they can play through in long sittings, look elsewhere. I give Pokemon Rumble World a 6 out of 10, and at least encourage you to try it out to see for yourself if it catches your eye.