Ready to Rumble: Pokémon Rumble World

Written by skylight and princessofmusic. Photo by skylight.
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I tried Pokémon Shuffle for about a week. I love match-three games, but Shuffle has literally destroyed my love for them. Unless I was willing to wait 2.5 hours to "advance" or spend unfair amounts of money for improved chances, there was nothing more to do once I completed all 150 puzzles. That is, until Pokémon Rumble World (PRW) was released, of course. I bought Pokémon Rumble Blast on a whim and hadn't regretted it; I was still replaying it way after the main story was finished, so when I heard that I could play MORE Rumble, I couldn't resist.

I've started to fall in love with this game. It has a better microtransaction system than Pokémon Shuffle, and it's a lot more fun than Pokémon Rumble Blast! PRW has all these cool features, such as rainbows that lead to Fevers, a lazy king, alternate formes of different toy Pokémon (such as Average and Super Pumpkaboo), and best of all: a game that is worth more than what it costs (unlike Pokémon Shuffle). princessofmusic and I will be reviewing the game.

Mii Involvement

At first, I was really dreading having more than just Pokémon in PRW. The Pokémon Rumble I knew didn't have humans in it. To my surprise, having humans isn't actually a bad thing. It adds an extra element to the game; not only do you have to avoid running out of your own HP, but you also need to protect human characters if you want to advance further in the challenges. This is a cool thing, but it also drives me crazy because those NPCs will continue to follow you until they get destroyed. Some of them can give you Potions, but most of the time, you'll be wanting to give them Potions because they can't avoid trouble. The interaction between Miis and Pokémon in the overworld is extremely adorable, though, and makes the Mii involvement worth it.

While I haven't played any of the previous games in the Rumble series, I'm assuming that none of them feature Miis anywhere, knowing that Pokémon Rumble World is the first installment for the 3DS. I have mixed opinions about the Miis, but the best part is definitely the clothing. Purchasing from the shop or getting certain achievements, known as Titles, can afford you different outfits and costumes for your Mii to dress up in. There are dozens of options with plenty of variety, from police uniforms to gladiator attire to the White Swan tutu from Swan Lake. It also might be worth mentioning that clothing apparently isn't segregated by gender at all, meaning that even your male Mii can unleash his inner "seifuku" schoolgirl. Whatever clothing you apply will appear on your Mii as he or she hangs around in the castle town, as well as on your profile when you StreetPass or SpotPass with other players. Mine is set to Waiting Staff 1, a cute, frilly maid outfit that cost five Poké Diamonds but was worth every gem. Other aspects of your profile you can customize are the frame and the background in order to help compliment your dressed-up Mii.

Players with whom you StreetPass or SpotPass will later show up in your game as visitors in the castle town and/or during your stage challenges, in which case you can rescue them and have them follow you around. Successful rescues can get you some extra coins or sometimes even Poké Diamonds. What I dislike, though, is that the AI is practically non-existent on these Miis; you can push them out of the way in an effort to keep them safe, but too often they'll follow you right back into the path of danger anyway and end up dying.

Some say if you play it enough... the Pokémon come alive.


Legendaries are, for the most part, the best Pokémon you can find in the game. Victini, Reshiram, and Arceus are highly favored for their homing attacks: Searing Shot, Blue Flare, and Judgment respectively. No matter what, the attacks are guaranteed to hit the opponents, so all you need to do is stand back and let the magic happen. The other legendaries don't really have much going for them unless they have special traits. The majority are either too slow or too weak defensively or offensively (just like their in-game stats!). That's just a personal opinion of mine, but my Victini and Arceus find a lot more use than any of my other legendaries.

While all Pokémon are obtainable in this game, one issue is that, from the looks of it, there doesn't seem to be shiny Pokémon (unlike in previous Pokémon Rumble games). There's sparkling Pokémon, Epic Pokémon, and so on, but there aren't any shinies. Adding an increased chance for finding shiny Pokémon would have added an extra reason to keep searching in areas you've completed, other than a chance to find higher level Pokémon and more money. For the most part, in those early levels, there's only going to be weak Pokémon such as Pikachu and Staryu, so they're just neglected. However, if you added the chance for shiny Pokémon in areas you've completed... you're totally gonna want to replay it, right? I would at least!

The graphics in PRW are simple but cute and vivid, especially with the 3D Pokémon models, which have a noticeably low polygon count and a glossy texture that fits well with the game's theme. All Pokémon cries are remixed in this game, with some sounding pretty much exactly as they do in the main series and others sounding nothing like the original. When in the castle town, you can interact with your Pokémon with some simple controls. Pressing A causes your active Pokémon to glance at the camera, while the B button has your Pokémon jump for joy on the spot, which sometimes causes your Mii to rush over. PRW also lets you set up to three partner Pokémon that appear beside your Mii on your profile as well as in the castle town, where the Pokémon will be holding a flag to represent your Mii. For now, my only partner is a Talonflame with 1050 power.

Later on, once you complete certain challenges, the game will grant access to the much-needed Move Tutor Shop, where you can spend coins or Poké Diamonds to teach your Pokémon moves that you've already obtained, as well as a Mega Key and Mega Stone shop. Unfortunately, Mega Stones are five Poké Diamonds apiece and non-transferable, meaning that, for instance, you'd have to buy a new Gardevoirite for every Gardevoir that you want to Mega Evolve. It's super expensive and not really worth it unless you happen to have a lot of Poké Diamonds to throw around. Luckily, though, the game offers the first Mega Stone to you for free, so I decided to pick up the Red Orb to obtain Primal Groudon, which sends out a big wave of energy upon switching in and damages any nearby mobs and obstacles.

World & Travel

I really like the daily challenges the game has. It adds to the replayability, as you need to achieve at least five things in each challenge to fully complete it. The only annoyance is that by the time you get to the Dragon Marshal Face-Off, you effectively need Dragon Arceus's Judgment to be able to defeat it. Then again, that's just me and the fact that I'm incredibly lazy, so homing attacks are my favorite attacks to abuse.

The hot air balloon system is actually a really cool twist. Having Fevers is something that makes the game more exciting. Knowing that you're likely to encounter a legendary if you have a double rainbow and a two star Pokémon is always exciting (and just as disappointing when you don't encounter one...).

The worlds are pretty lazily done. There are some new areas that weren't in Pokémon Rumble Blast, but everything else is mostly the same. Just changing the color of an area for a new "world" seems kind of tacky. Given how much work they put into the game, you'd think the areas would change in more ways than just the color, but given how great the game is, I'm willing to let that go.

The game opens with a king who lends you his Pikachu and asks you to catch Pokémon on his behalf in order to one-up an evil magician who owns more Pokémon species than he does. Capturing more species of Pokeémon increases your adventurer rank, which is the game's overall objective. The gameplay revolves around embarking on voyages to different worlds via hot air balloon to encounter Pokémon. From the get-go, the castle town includes the Shop, where you can purchase balloons in exchange for Poké Diamonds, and the Balloon Stop. Each balloon takes you to a world comprised of three or more stages that hold different species of Pokémon, with the stage selection being random in the form of a roulette. To make things more interesting, sometimes a stage will be marked with one to three stars, which indicates a rarer boss for that stage. One rainbow or more over the horizon means a greater possibility of getting a Fever, a phenomenon where the background turns psychedelic and the game adds extra stars to each stage, leading to a better chance of meeting rare Pokémon.

Beyond this, PRW doesn't have much of a plot, except for a few points featured in the daily challenges, including the magician's repeated attempts to take over the kingdom as well as a subplot involving a possible romance between the kingdom's princess and the Phantom Thief, a high-class and suave criminal who tries to kidnap Diancie. Challenges are arguably the best method of obtaining Poké Diamonds in-game, and once a day, the king will offer you a new challenge provided you've beaten the previous one, though you can bypass the wait if you've reached a certain rank. Many of the challenges have silly plot lines, and some, such as one where the magician attempts to poison you with bad waffles, raise the stakes by asking you to protect your Mii.

Sadly, PRW's soundtrack isn't very memorable, with most of the tunes being relatively bland.

Battle Mechanics

The best moves, as I mentioned before, are the homing ones. Searing Shot in particular is amazing because it can inflict a burn too! The other homing attacks are great too, but the extra burn chance just makes Searing Shot my favorite to use (plus it looks so cool). Razor Wind is also fun to use because you're basically invincible for a short amount of time while flying into opponents. It's not the most practical move to use, but it can be a nice gimmick sometimes. Unfortunately, there are so many good moves in this game that discussing just a few doesn't cover the wide variety of different moves you have access to.

Whereas the Pokémon series is mainly known for turn-based battle, PRW features real-time combat, and letting your active Pokémon faint is game over unless you're willing to pay two Poké Diamonds to proceed. Each Pokémon can learn up to two different moves that are assigned to the A and B button, which is enough for the game to have a bit of strategy. In terms of damaging attacks, Magical Leaf deserves a mention despite its three-star rating, as it's basically the equivalent of rapid-fire homing missiles. Capture mechanics play an important role in the game as well, particularly with boss battles. After releasing a number of attacks in a row, the boss will typically enter a cooldown state and emit white smoke from its head. Going up to the boss from behind and attacking it during this time yields a higher chance of inflicting the "wobbly" status, where the boss will spin and get dizzy while stars circle its head. Non-boss Pokémon can become wobbly as well, and defeating a Pokémon while it's wobbly guarantees capture.


It's hard to avoid spending money on this game... but it's worth it, I swear! For a low price of around 30 dollars, you can unlock all the balloons and still have a bit left over. The only issue is that after you have purchased 3000 Poké Diamonds, you're limited to 20 a day for free. Sure, you can get more Poké Diamonds from other players, but you will probably only gain around three a day at most from that method. The huge issue with the game is that you're really limited in terms of progress after you've used up the allotted 3000 Poké Diamonds. It's better than Pokémon Shuffle at least, where you could spend way too much for very little in return. That's the main flaw with the microtransaction system in this game—there shouldn't be a cutoff, or maybe make balloons worth less so that you get more for your money without running out of Poké Diamonds and not being able to buy more.

This game is the second free-to-play Pokémon title that Nintendo has published in the span of just a few months, after the widely maligned Pokémon Shuffle. Though Shuffle is entirely possible to beat without spending a penny, it's pretty much impossible to catch 'em all in PRW without cracking your wallet open, as the Poké Diamonds that are available for free in-game aren't enough to let you afford all 18 balloons. On the bright side, PRW sets the maximum amount of Poké Diamonds you can purchase at 3000 diamonds, which is about thirty US dollars and still cheaper than a cartridge game. Moreover, hitting the maximum will garner you your very own mine in the castle town, from which you can dig up twenty free Poké Diamonds daily thereafter. I haven't paid for this game yet, but considering how much fun it's turned out to be, I might just snag all 3000 Poké Diamonds somewhere down the road this summer.

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