Pokemon Rumble Blast review

The first Pokemon game for 3DS, Pokemon Rumble Blast is a simple beat-em-up-style action game featuring nearly every Pokemon in the series, including all the new Pokemon from Black and White. What it sets out to do it does fairly well. Just by its nature though, this is the type of game that’s mostly going to appeal to younger Pokemon trainers only.

Above: The language of battle is universal

To be clear, the actual gameplay in Rumble Blast bears absolutely no resemblance to the main series of Pokemon games. It’s a sequel to WiiWare’s Pokemon Rumble, and the gameplay remains largely unchanged. You play as a toy version of a Pokemon, beating up other toy Pokemon with two moves mapped to the A and B buttons. Instead of leveling up, you obtain stronger Pokemon by defeating them, and then discard the weaker ones when they’re no longer useful.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. Different move types add variety to the combat though, and the various moves actually feel distinct, so it’s fun to experiment to see which moves you prefer. You can also purchase more powerful moves from vending machines using the in-game currency (P), which gives a welcome element of resource management since most moves are super expensive.

What really brings Rumble Blast down more than anything is the boring level design. Aside from aesthetic differences among level types (beach, tree tops, cave, etc – and even those types repeat frequently), each level is more or less the same, where you just walk forward attacking Pokemon with A and B until you’ve defeated them all. The end of each level has a boss battle against a giant version of a Pokemon, but even then, most bosses have a nearly identical attack pattern, so it starts to feel repetitive pretty quickly.

The best parts are the Battle Royale arenas at the end of each area, where you duke it out among a crowd of Pokemon until you’re the last one standing. It’s chaotic, but fun in a cathartic kind of way for those times when you just feel like punching a bunch of Pokemon.

Because a large part of its charm is seeing all our favorite Pokemon in action, Pokemon Rumble Blast will only really appeal to Pokemon fans. It helps that it’s pretty too, with or without the 3D turned on (the soundtrack is great too). The problem is that the gameplay itself is too simplistic for more sophisticated Pokemon players who love the series for its deep strategic gameplay. Younger, less discerning Pokemon fans will undoubtedly love it though.

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