Super Pokémon Rumble Review (3DS)

Pokémon games are usually deep, extremely fun 2D RPGs with a top down perspective. Usually – there are a few spin-offs in the Pokémon franchise which break the norm; encompassing everything from an on-rails picture-em-up to fully 3D battle simulators.

[drop]Super Pokémon Rumble is a sequel to one of those spin-offs – the original being released on WiiWare. With Rumble, instead of having a world populated with creatures that fight each other in the usual turn-based manner, it is set in an alternate world, where Pokémon are not creatures but wind-up toys. These toys fight in real-time, too, and it’s a 3D adventure viewed from a blend of top down and isometric perspectives. So instead of taking turns to battle your Pokémon, you play as the Pokémon as you traverse through levels and fight enemies.

Capturing Pokémon is also marginally different, as you’ll now ‘befriend’ certain Pokémon and have them join your team as a playable character when you defeat them. Sadly, it isn’t a case of choosing your favourites and levelling them up as you go – you’ll have to use the ones with a higher power level (which is displayed as a number, and increases as you play through the game) in order to progress. So, this means there’s no evolving your Pokémon – simply collecting new ones which you’re forced to switch to.

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There are over 600 of the critters to play as, though, and many more moves to use which all stay true to their nature in the main games – type differences still matter and attacks can be super effective or not as effective depending on their type. Each Pokémon will be able to carry two of these attacks, and each attack has a power rating, so while a Pokémon might seem less powerful than another, their attacks may be much better.

You’ll be using these Pokémon that you collect to play through various levels in different areas. These levels all have different themes, and therefore different types of Pokémon, yet they remain very similar, taking the form of a very linear level filled with enemies with a bigger Pokémon as a boss at the end. These levels are very shallow – there’s no chests to open or hidden areas (unless they’re hidden really well, of course). After running through a few of these levels and collecting powerful characters, you’ll be challenged with a Battle Royale; a large brawl between many Pokémon – you’ll need to be the last man standing to continue to the next area.

There are several of these areas in each of the five worlds, each with their own set of levels (although some are repeated with different enemies and they’re all very similar anyway). Once you’ve completed all of the levels and beaten the Championship, you’ll move on to the next chapter and the story will progress – it’s a story which isn’t very interesting or compelling, unfortunately.

[drop2]A town is present in each of these chapters which acts as a hub for the world – you’re able to speak to other Pokémon, buy new moves (which is ultimately pointless when you’ll unlock a stronger Pokémon in the next level), check your stats and visit a shop where you’ll be able to activate the StreetPass battle features and invite customers in to spend money. This money allows you to buy moves, amongst other things, and is also dropped by the Pokémon you’ve defeated.

There are some things which mix the gameplay up, however, such as charge challenges which have you charging with your team of Pokémon by tapping the A button rapidly and team battles, which allows you to bring two other Pokémon along to defeat a boss. Later on in the game, you’ll befriend Pokémon with special traits, which make them faster, stronger or improve their other abilities.

The music and sounds are all very basic, much like the rest of the game, though it’s true to the usual Pokémon sounds and you’ll hear all their cries instead of voice acting. Visually, it’s really nothing impressive; it’s more DS than 3DS, with flat textures, and ugly, almost cel-shaded style which isn’t appealing whatsoever and a 3D effect which really doesn’t add much to the game beyond some text floating above the game behind it – it’s perhaps the worst use of 3D on the system so far.

Despite the lack of depth, it’s actually quite a lengthy adventure – it’ll take 12-14 hours of your life, but that’s mostly due to it being extremely repetitive in nature. In fact, it drags for the last eight hours or so and doesn’t pick up the pace at any point. It has all the qualities of a downloadable title, but the length of a full release, partly due to finding space for all of the Pokémon.

Pros:

  • Features over 600 playable Pokémon.
  • Many moves to use against enemies.
  • It’s a fun twist on the usual Pokémon formula, for the first third at least.
Cons:
  • It becomes extremely repetitive.
  • It’s a very shallow game.
  • You can’t evolve or level up your Pokémon.
  • Looks and sounds like a DS game.
  • The story is poor.
  • Drags for two thirds of the entire game.
Super Pokémon Rumble isn’t a good game, to put it simply. It isn’t even a good game for Pokémon fans; whilst the amount of characters will impress at first, it will still no doubt become a boring journey that simply doesn’t match any of the other Pokémon games. It could have been so much more – a good, 3D Pokémon action adventure game would have been absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, it completely misses the mark and you’ll miss the levelling up, evolving, story, RPG elements and everything else that makes Pokémon games so great.

Score: 4/10

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6 Comments

  1. oh dear. Not really a Pokémon fan but this sounds like a bad idea. Still, I’ve got the two Mario games on 3DS at the minute, no time for mediocrity!

  2. Pokemon Rumble was a good game, for a Wiiware title. Start charging £35 for it and the value is somewhat diminished. Especially considering it’s most fun in co-op, which you would need two copies of the game to now have the option of doing.

  3. Ouch. That’s a blow for the 3DS.

  4. Never played a Pokemon spin-off that I’ve actually liked.
    Just give us the RPG.

  5. I couldn’t see this game being rated well, what a shame :P

  6. When will this franchise die? Have we not seen everything they have. Yet still no actual console Pokemon game. Greatly looking forward to this fading away.

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