Pokémon Rumble

While better Wiiware titles exist, Pokémon Rumble is sure to please a specific crowd.

By King, Posted 08 Jan 2010

Years ago the Pokemon series made a transition from being a popular anime and trading card franchise, to being one of the most popular gaming franchises of all-time with dozens of great RPGs available on all versions of the Gameboy. However, the Pokemon brand has never managed to be nearly as successful on home consoles. There were a few Pokemon Stadium games on the N64 that got some attention, but nothing has sparked a craze like the handheld versions are still managing to do after 20 years. Maybe Pokemon just doesn't fair as well at home? Or possibly the console games need a better formula? Whatever the case may be, Ambrella is taking a more humble approach at bringing a good Pokemon game to Nintendo's latest home console with Pokemon Rumble available on WiiWare for 1500 Wii Points (U.S. $15.00).

The concept is that you're controlling a toy Pokemon fighting against other toys. It's pretty questionable as to why they had to be toys, because it doesn't make much sense to be playing as a fake toy of a fake creature. It seems like it's just being used as an excuse. For starters, it allows Ambrella to reuse the same wacky character models from Pokemon Ranch (another WiiWare title), and it also lets the Pokemon be able to pound on each other without bringing morality into the equation. It won't end up being too much of a distraction but most players would agree that they would have preferred to have living, breathing Pokemon to enhance the experience.

Pokémon Rumble Review

To begin the game you are given a Rattata (which for those who don't know, it's a purple rat). You control your toy Pokemon by holding the Wiimote horizontally and using the D-Pad to move around the level and the 2 button to attack. That's it! This carries both pros and cons. The controls are simple enough that everyone can play, and while they're effective, the rinse and repeat formula can get repetitive after a while. Oh, and there's no tacked on motion controls. You move your Rattata around the game's hub world (named “The Terminal” ). From here you can access six different levels which are: Silent Forest, Rocky Cave, Bright Beach, Eternal Tower, Fiery Furnace, and Windy Prairie.

Select one of these to travel to, and you will be transported off to that level. You run around the linear level path fighting other Pokemon who are in that level. There are different Pokemon in each level, so for example in Silent Forest you might find Pokemon like Pikachu, Ivysaur, and Caterpie, while in Fiery Furnace there will be Charmander, Vulpix, and Primeape waiting to battle. When you defeat an enemy Pokemon, it will either drop a coin for you to collect, or it will tip over. When the latter occurs, you can run over to your fallen prey and collect it. Once you have done this the Pokemon will be added to your inventory where you can use it to battle. This livens up gameplay because each Pokemon has a unique attack giving it a different feeling to fight with. It can also be fun to see how many Pokemon you can collect. While the Pokemon can't level up like in the Gameboy counterparts, each Pokemon has a numbered ranking, with a higher number indicating a stronger Pokemon.

Pokémon Rumble Review

As you continue your way though the level fighting more and more Pokemon, collecting as you go, you will eventually run into a boss. This is a regular toy Pokemon, but it has been wound up excessively to make it gigantic in comparison to you. Not only will you have to take care of the boss, but there are still normal sized Pokemon roaming around the level and you have to watch out for them. Once you take down the boss, you will taken back to The Terminal. From here there are many options. At the very bottom of the hub world are various things to take a look at. You can view your Pokemon collection, release any you no longer want, look at information such as how long you've played and the amount of toys you've defeated and befriended (collected), turn on multiplayer (which we'll get into later), store Pokemon on your Wiimote to take to a friend's house, or you can give your Pokemon a new attack move. This is where those coins you've been collecting come in. Spend a certain amount of the coins, and one of the characters of your choice will obtain a new attack that takes place of the 1 button. It's nice to see just a little more depth added to the combat system here.

Now you can go back and play another one of the six levels to collect more coins and more Pokemon. You continue to repeat this process until you have acquired a Pokemon who has a ranking of a certain number or higher. You can then take this character into the Battle Royale. The Battle Royale is basically a huge arena full of Pokemon in a free-for-all battle against one another. Your object is to defeat all the other Pokemon and be the last player standing before the alotted time runs off the clock. Win this contest, and you unlock the next rank.

Unfortunately, the next rank is basically the same thing you just did, but with the difficulty of your opponents slightly revved up. Not to say that the game is ever difficult. Since you can switch to another one of the Pokemon in your collection at any given point in a level, you're never given a real challenge. Even when you're bombarded with 20 other Pokemon attacking you it can be easily taken care of by your single user controlled Pokemon. The boss battles don't pose any more of a challenge. The giant boss can be defeated by simply mashing on the attack button(s) and when you're hit by an attack and thrown across the level, you can simply run back up and continue pressing 2 until the boss goes down.

Pokémon Rumble Review

If you're struggling (or just want to play along with friends) there is a multiplayer option available for up to 4 players. So if you have 4 Wiimotes and 3 other friends who want to battle it out with virtual toy Pokemon, invite them over to play some Pokemon Rumble. But don't expect to get too much out of the experience. It's the same as playing solo except now you have 3 other friends jumping in to help make the game that much easier. Actually, having someone there to coincide with you while you're beating up on Pokemon could potentially provide some fun times if there was actually a challenge giving a need for you to work together.

Pokemon Rumble is a game I would recommend almost exclusively to a younger gamer who is big on Pokemon (which I assume there are a lot of). The mindless, simple gameplay is surprisingly fun for the first few hours, and collecting as many of the 150 Pokemon included in the game will give players something to aim for. But Rumble's issues keep it back from being something truly special. The linearity of levels and lack of any way to freshen up the games as you advance to different ranks hinders what could've been an enjoyable game. For certain players who may be able to overlook the games woes and not find the game to be extremely easy, they will find a cute, and tolerable game.

Logan Smithson, Noobfeed

comments powered by Disqus

  • That's right, recommended 'almost exclusively to a younger gamer'. Good write up.

    Posted Jan 08, 2010

  • Sounds like a RPG type game to me and I can't say that it won't be fun playing. So what exactly happens in the multiplayer mode when few of your friends joins? Does it become a fight between one against four?

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • Well it sounded like a good idea at the start but seems like a bad execution of the game like only having one button for attack but like you said it's mainly for the younger audience to see their favorite pokemon beat on others.

    Good review

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • Pretty nice review :)

    But just not young enough to play Pokemon :p

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • My little cousin surely gonna play this game. Nice review though.

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • Pretty much what I expected. A game that offers little content for a high price.

    @Tanya -- Nothing much. It just adds extra players to the single-player experience. There's no battle mode or anything.

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • @Tanya It does have some RPG elements. When friends join it's just like 4 player co-op, you're doing the same thing as single player but with 3 other players on your side. Oh, I see c_rake has already answered this for me.

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • Nice review. That's all I can say. Don't know much about Pokemon games and not sure how to remark this game compare to other pokemon games. Very nice review though.

    Posted Jan 09, 2010

  • I played the demo and it seems like a fairly enjoyable game. It would've been nice if they had've included all the Pokemon though, rather than just 1st and 4th gen ones.

    Posted Jan 11, 2010

  • Never heard of the game actually. Doesnt sound like something Ill be missing though. Nice writing by the way. I love your style, it's really unique and fresh compared to some others cookie cutters.

    Posted Jan 18, 2010

  • It didn't get any real advertising, so it's not surprising if you haven't heard of it. I'd say most people who know the game exists are hardcore Pokemon heads or ran into it on the Wii Shop Channel.

    Posted Jan 18, 2010

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