People who own a Nintendo 3DS today are in for a treat, assuming they’re Pokemon fans. Following the success of the match-3 Pokemon Shuffle, Nintendo have unleashed Pokemon Rumble World onto systems. It’s a free to play game, supported through microtransactions which can, in theory, be played in full without ever spending a penny.
A little about the game to get things started. You play as your Mii in a quest to collect as many Pokemon wind-up Toys as possible. Anyone who’s played a previous Pokemon Rumble game will know what’s going on here. The 3DS title, which also saw a release on WiiU, has players take direct control of a Toy. It is then taken into battle against waves of others. Battle itself plays out in real-time with a simple combat system. You press a button or two to do an attack and that’s basically it. So Pikachu’s Thundershock is a simple button press, along with the attacks of other Pokemon.
It’s simple, yes, but it makes the game incredibly accessible and provides a little mindless fun with the additional benefit of collection cute Pokemon Toys. Now to Pokemon Rumble World.
To collect new Pokemon, you have to take a hot air balloon to different lands. These lands each contain a handful of different zones in which a host of Pokemon can be found, battled with, and collected should you be so lucky. Running through a zone follows the same formula each time. You go in, beat a bunch of little Pokemon and leap through portals to the next bit. After a couple of these you’ll be at the end, facing down a gigantic Pokemon toy in a sort of boss battle. Unlocking these new areas costs Diamonds and this is where the spending process begins, if you’re willing to pay.
To unlock new lands filled with Pokemon you have to buy new Hot-Air Balloons. Each Hot-Air Balloon costs anything from 10 to 100 Diamonds. These Diamonds are sold in packs with varying prices, the minimum being £0.69 for 50 and the maximum giving you 1750 Diamonds for £14.39. Prices differ in other regions and right now there’s a limited time offer which sees packs of 50 and 200 being sold at a lower price than usual. So you use Diamonds to buy access to new lands. Sounds pretty simple as far as that goes, right? Well yeah, but there’s more.
To float off to new areas, each Hot-Air Balloon has to refill. Now you can pay a Diamond to set off straight away, or you can wait. Of the Hot-Air Balloons we’ve collected so far, you can be waiting up to an hour for each to recharge. Hopping into the basket and flying away to collect some more Pokemon for little more than £0.02 isn’t all that bad on the face of it.
Where some may take umbridge with the system is when you faint in battle. If your Pokemon Toy is defeated, you have to pay 2 Diamonds to continue or else you’re forced to back out. Backing out means you’ll not be able to complete the zone again until you’ve allowed it to recharge or paid another Diamond for the privilege. This can be avoided by switching between different Pokemon Toys but, as we all know, mistakes can happen and being expected to pay up something that equates to actual cash just for a continue is a little backwards in this day and age.
Diamonds must also be used to increase the size of your Pokemon House. This isn’t some great place that you can run around. It’s literally a stable. You keep all of the Pokemon Toys you’ve captured in it. The starting size is 30, with additional increases in size costing 2 Diamonds and giving you 30 more spaces each time. This can be maximized by getting rid of your doubles, so you can keep one of each Pokemon you’ve collected so far in your possession. It does put a stop on your progress until you get more Diamonds, though.
So how would someone who has no intention of putting any actual money into Pokemon Rumble World get more Diamonds then? Well, that’s done through Daily challenges given to you by the area’s ruler. Leaping into any one of these and completing challenges will net you a small amount of Diamonds. Complete them all, and you could be coming out with a healthy sum of 10 or Diamonds earned through patience and hard work.
If you’ve got plenty of friends or engage in the activity of going outside, you can also earn Diamonds through Streetpass. Free Diamonds can be earned simply by meeting people out in the real world or online who are also playing Pokemon Rumble World.
As a game itself, Pokemon Rumble World feels like it would cost around $20/€20/£15, so being expected to pay this for the maximum amount of Diamonds isn’t utterly insane. People who are willing to complete the game through patience will still be rewarded, just at a slower pace than those who’ve got the disposable income to buy Diamonds in Pokemon Rumble World.