Pokemon Rumble U (Review)
Pokémon Rumble U breaks through the fourth wall as the series returns to the Wii U! This time, our wayward Pokémon find themselves lost deep in the wilderness after being dropped from a shipment headed to the Pokémon Training Center. As they make their way through lands such as the Dream Gate, Jungle Area, Sparkly Playland, they encounter some new Pokémon companions and bring them along on the journey home.
Pokémon Rumble U is a basic arena fighter with some RPG elements available for download on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U. Designed for the younger gamer in mind, Pokémon Rumble U follows a very simple pattern of participating in a battle, collecting loot, and moving along the map to your ultimate goal.
Starting off with four basic characters including the property’s beloved Pikachu, you start off in the Adventure Area. As with every area, you’ll have to fight through three battles to move on to the next. Up to four players can participate in the fun, or you can play on your own and select three AI characters to follow you around. Each battle lasts only a couple of minutes at most and will consist of a few waves of enemy Pokémon followed by a boss Pokémon.
As enemies are defeated, they will drop coins that can be used for upgrading your purchased Pokémon (more on this in a bit), Red or Gold Pokéballs containing new Pokémon friends to take with you (Gold usually containing a rarer, more powerful version of a normal Pokémon), or various power-ups that can be used in battle. Power-ups range from restoring your Pokémons’ life bars, to making them giant-sized (and thus more powerful). One power-up in particular allows you to tap the touch pad on the Wii U display to deal out a powerful attack that can hit multiple enemies.
At the end of a battle, each player’s contribution is tallied in the form of bonuses given for things such as first to attack, dealing the final blow to the boss, being the first to use a super-effective move, etc. These bonuses are given a points’ score that’s added to the tally along with how many coins the individual collected. Whoever winds up with the best score wins. This adds a little bit of competition to the game, which is a good thing; however, we did notice that because of the super powerful attack that’s granted to the player with the touchpad, the advantage is often slanted towards Player 1.
From a story standpoint, Pokémon Rumble U doesn’t have a whole lot of substance to it. Intermittent cutscenes here and there give you a general plot to follow, but oftentimes these scenes are too far apart to do a good job of breaking the monotony that can set in. What does give the game a little bit of a boost, however, are the collectible figures that you can purchase from your local retailer. Using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology built into the Wii U Gamepad, these little Pokémon Rumble figurines can be imported into the game for you to play with. Compared to your initial starting characters that come in the game, these purchased pets are usually more powerful to start. Better yet, they can also be upgraded using the coins that you collect in your battles!
From the main menu, you can access the NFC pets and upgrade their power stats, purchase secondary attacks, and attributes to make them even more powerful than just about any Pokémon you collect in game. Furthermore, like the other toy-based games out there, you can take these figures to your friend’s house to use on their console as well. The thing that I really like out of this is there’s no requirement to purchase the collectible figures, but they do enhance the gameplay should you choose to pick them up.
Over 600 Pokémon can be captured in the game, and currently there are 18 collectible figures that you can get including Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Mew and Mewtwo. Of course, if the game becomes a success, you can guarantee they’ll start cranking out additional figures like there’s no tomorrow.
Pokémon Rumble U might not have the epic feel like Mystery Dungeon, or the engrossing story to boot. But it does have the ability to make for an excellent party game for a few rounds with your pals, and quite possibly hours of fairly simple entertainment for the younglings. Paying five bucks per figurine is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow though, unless you’re an avid Pokémon fan. Hopefully, they’ll expand their usefulness to other games for the Wii U as the console matures, but until then, this game isn’t too bad for the money.
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