I’m not going to do an actual review on it, because I’m not going to play much more of it, but I have to talk about Pokemon Rumble World. I’ve been utterly disappointed with the experience so far. I really enjoyed the first Pokemon Rumble game on Wii. I really liked Pokemon Rumble Blast on 3DS. Pokemon Rumble U was enjoyable, but had already started to descend the franchise into a place where I wasn’t having as much fun. It was getting easier and easier to beat the games as we went along. Despite that fact I was interested in picking up this new game on 3DS, especially as it has transitioned the franchise into the free to play world.
While there is one thing I really like about Pokemon Rumble World, which I’ll talk about later, I can’t help but feel disappointed at this game as a whole. Why; because it’s gotten even easier than ever to “beat” the game. I booted it up the first time and went through the early game spiel. They set up the world, introduced you to some of the supporting characters and gave you a pokemon of your own to go out and battle with. That’s part’s all fine and good. It does a passible job at setting up the reason that you’re playing the game.
I started playing the game and played it just like any other game in the series. I moved around and mashed on the attack button to dish out some massive damage to the pokemon that were vulnerable to my attacks. I was enjoying it, but already thought it was too easy to beat, even for the first few levels of the game. Then a message popped up on the screen that took me from passing interest into, after a few levels, complete boredom with the game. I can’t remember the exact phrasing of the message, but the gist of it was that you just had to move the Circle Pad in the direction of an enemy to attack.
Are you kidding me? We’ve gone from “Press A to win” to “just move the Circle Pad around to win?” This game is mindless, brainless and completely uninteresting at that point. I literally played the next few levels with my head perched on my right hand holding my 3DS simply with my left hand moving the Circle Pad. I literally had to move the character in the direction I wanted to and I beat every single pokemon I faced. I took almost no damage at all, even against the bosses at the end of the level.
Have we devolved so far as a gaming culture that we’re okay with essentially letting the games play themselves? This takes even the worst “children’s games” and makes them so utterly boring I don’t think a two year old would find enjoyment out of it. I’m done. I’m not playing another minute of Pokemon Rumble World.
Here’s what I do think is absolutely brilliant about the game. It’s free to play mechanics. In the game you have to use diamonds to buy balloons that will transport you to various areas of the game in order to fight. If you don’t have the diamonds to go anywhere you can’t progress further. You can go back and replay previous sections of the game, but outside of that you can’t progress. You have a couple of options. You do get the chance to earn diamonds in game that will help you progress or you can spend real world money in order to obtain them.
What Nintendo has done that I think is the smartest free to play thing I’ve ever seen is that they put a cap on the amount of money you can spend. Once you reach this threshold the game won’t let you spend any more money. That’s it. They’ve taken what they want from you. They then make in game diamonds easier to get and reduce the cost of things that require diamonds so what you get in the game allows you to progress. Essentially if you buy the game outright then you get access to the whole game. More free to play games should look at this. I think people would be far more interested in spending money and wouldn’t think the whole market is so icky. Just give players that like your game the chance to buy it completely and chances are they’ll probably do it.
I would be more willing to do so if the game were more compelling to play. As it is I have no interest in spending any money on Pokemon Rumble World because I’m done playing it. Nintendo has experimented a couple of times now with free to play games and they’ve done it differently both times. One game, Pokemon Shuffle, was an experience that I utterly enjoyed. I found it great in short bursts and didn’t really see the need to spend money to play further. I would be willing to drop money on that game. Pokemon Rumble World uses a completely different free to play mechanic that if the experience of the game had been better I probably would have just bought. As it stands it’s wasted on an experience that I don’t find interesting in any way, which is a shame.