Pokemon Shuffle is a great time killer between obligations. It's simple, fun, pleasant to look at, and all around a decent freemium title.
Pokemon Rumble World is an acquired taste, and I can see the appeal. It's a very straight forward button masher with Pokemon toys.
Pokemon Shuffle can be extremely frustrating at times, so much so that any casual gamer won't stick around to try and beat that completely unfair boss fight you're stuck on. Casual games can have increased difficulty, but when it's so much that it takes days or weeks to try and beat it, then it's designed wrong for this kind of game.
The entire concept of having to throw away Pokemon, or that new Pokemon are better than your old ones goes completely against what Pokemon is all about. This is an issue with all of the Pokemon Rumble games
Pokemon has hit the Freemium market, games that are “free” to play but limit you on how much you “can” play at a time. These games, Pokemon Shuffle and Pokemon Rumble World, use their own in game currency that allows you to make the game easier, let you play more, or just get some advantage, and of course you can spend real money to buy them. I’ve enjoyed both games and both games give you plenty of opportunities to get the “freemium currency” without actually needing to spend money. But are these games actually good?
On it’s face, this is a Bejeweled Clone mixed with Pokemon type mechanics, only you can move your Pokemon from anywhere on the board, instead of ones right next to each other. You start out with a few Pokemon, and each stage is a Pokemon you can capture. You basically play Bejeweled in order to battle the Pokemon, by getting strings of 3 or more, and by getting combos, you damage your opponent, but you have to do it within a certain number of moves and sometimes with obstacles in the way. What makes it tricky, is that the types of Pokemon you bring with you into battle (max 4 Pokemon) take effect, but it’s actually a much more dumbed down version of the types system. Pokemon don’t have dual types, they have single types, so Charizard is pure fire, so don’t bring anything but water, ground and rock types.
I actually have had a lot of fun with this game, the art style is very clean and cute, it fits the tone of the game very well. The gameplay is simple and fun. They also included Mega Evolution which is a really neat way to make harder levels more interesting. The music is also really nice, in fact I’m 90% sure a lot of it is lifted from the Pokemon Gamecube games, Colosseum and XD Gale of Darkness, which makes sense because those games, and Shuffle are both made by Genius Sonority! I also really like the event Pokemon that are being released for this game, every month or so they come out with a new collectable (usually legendary) Pokemon as just an extra little challenge.
Despite the fun, this game can be even more frustrating. Catching Pokemon is completely random, how it’s supposed to work, is depending on how many moves you have left after defeating the Pokemon, it increases the catch percentage, and the higher the percentage the more likely it is to be caught. Thing is, it’s bullshit. I’ve caught more Pokemon with less than 20% catch rate, than I have Pokemon with over 50%. Another thing that really bothers me is the power ramp that comes from some of the boss stages. Some of them are so frustratingly difficult and unfair, that there’s no skill to it, you just have to keep at it until you gain enough experience to beat it, or you spend a butt load of in game coins on items to make it easier. I’m serious, in one level, the boss freezes most of the playing field, and the only way to win is to hope that he makes it so there’s no more possible moves, and the entire board resets.
My final rating for Pokemon Shuffle: B+
I’m having fun with the game but the fun is slowly dwindling. Every time I feel like I’m stuck, I somehow manage (through luck or items) to beat my roadblock and keep going, but after a few weeks of this the fun is definitely wearing thin. It’s a great time killer between classes or whatever.
Pokemon Rumble World
I’ve never been a real fan of the Rumble series, the concept is Pokemon are toys, and it’s basically a really weird button masher where you just beat up other toys. Rumble World has a bit of a more complex type system than Shuffle, Pokemon have both their types, which makes planning ahead a little more straight forward. You can buy Hot-Air Balloons using the freemium currency “Gems” and the Balloons can take you to various areas with Pokemon toys and a boss battle at the end. When you beat a Pokemon, there’s a chance it will drop a toy version of itself that you can pick up, you now own this toy and can use it. There’s also a story mode in the game but it’s really just a means to get more Gems.The game is fun, but I’ve only been playing for a couple days and I’m already growing bored of it.
One of the things I really like about Rumble World on contrast to Shuffle, is that you can play a fair amount without needing to wait for long again. If you have several Balloons, you can visit one place after another, and when you’re done they go into cool down, a timer that makes you wait before you can use it again. But they all cool down at the same time, so you don’t need to wait for one to finish before the other even begins cooling down.
There’s a LOT I dislike about this game, for one thing the graphics are horrible. I get they’re supposed to look like toys, but they’re ugly as sin to look at, I can’t even tell what some of them are sometimes. The gameplay is pretty basic, you move around, press A to attack, and if it has a second attack you press B to use that one. There doesn’t feel like there’s any strategy to it, it’s just pick the right type and go. Another thing that bothers me is how dependent the game is on it’s Freemium Gems, they’re used for everything. Buying Balloons, buying houses to store more Pokemon, continues if you die, things that really shouldn’t cost such a valuable resource. The story mode makes it sometimes easier to get Gems but they run it extremely fast.
The last thing that really bothers me about Rumble in general, not just world, is that your toys don’t get stronger. You’re expected to keep getting more and more toys, because the ones in the wild that can drop grow stronger as you play the game. If you get a really awesome Pokemon early in the game that has a power level of say, 200, then it’s not too long before he’s obsolete and you’ve gotta go get something new that can stand up to the power 400 guys you’re fighting right now. It really feels like it goes against the themes of Pokemon to just throw away the bad ones in exchange for the good ones. And this is the only way to get better at the game I might add, there is literally no incentive to keep using one specific Pokemon, because they do not get stronger in any sense. I can’t say I’m not entertained by the game, but it’s also pretty boring.
My final rating for Pokemon Rumble World: C
I can’t say I dislike Rumble World, but at the same time the gameplay is really monotonous, there’s no strategy to it and every component to moving forward in the game is based around luck. Shuffle does a good job with being able to progress with enough time and effort, not exactly a good design for a freemium game but at least it’s something in your control.