Super Pokemon Rumble review If you were to ask a young child what Pokemon are all about, they'd likely explain, in that often brutally reductive way of theirs, that they're monsters that fight each other.
Ambrella's sequel to its 2009 WiiWare game Pokemon Rumble seems to have taken that idea to heart. Put simply, it's Pokemon with all that RPG stuff sliced out.
So gone are the hours of nurturing, dressing up, berry farming, potion buying and secret finding, replaced by virtually non-stop real-time Poke-fights. The action is viewed from above, and you control a single wind-up toy, bashing roaming rivals into oblivion with a limited two-attack moveset.
Each stage sees you head down a linear pathway to a spring which catapults you to the next area. After a handful of these you'll face a larger toy, essentially the boss of that zone. Defeat it and you get the chance to repeat the process several dozen times over. Lucky you.
Clearing The 'Dex
But the franchise's catchphrase isn't "gotta smash 'em all", and so occasionally a defeated toy will remain on the battlefield rather than turning into a gigantic coin. Pick it up and you've a new recruit in your clockwork army, which you can switch in when your current toy is low on energy.
Fail to do so, and your supply of keys will deplete; lose three keys and you won't be able to wind up your Poke-toys.
Luckily, if you fail you'll still keep any new mini-monsters you picked up on the way, though given that there are 717 in total (including various forms of certain creatures), it'll take you weeks to nab the lot. Not least because Ambrella forces you to jump through hoops to get the rarest ones - we've captured five Reshirams but not a single Zekrom, and after 39 attempts at the 'horror' stage, we're beginning
to wonder if Giratina actually exists.
Aside from the vastly expanded Pokedex, all this will be familiar to those who played the WiiWare game, but fortunately there's a little more to it than that. As well as the returning Battle Royales (a timed every-toy-for-itself arena scrap), the 3DS game has Team Battles, which give you two AI assistants to help you through a gauntlet of rooms against tougher enemies. Once you've whacked enough enemies you can stack the three in a kind of totem pole to increase the power of their attacks.
Then there are the Charge Battles, which see the strongest members of your monster squad sprint down a walkway, smashing aside other Pokemon as they go. Your job is simply to hammer the A-button and jiggle the Circle Pad to increase their power in what is, to all intents and purposes, a Quick-Time Event.
Once you've built up enough speed, you'll face a boss, and a single, well-timed tap of the A-button will send them flying - which looks
great if you've got the 3D Slider up. It's a neat end to what seems like an awfully basic extra. We can't see many people wanting to replay these sections.
Tying all this together is a story involving a malevolent key called Dark Rust which appears to be turning good Poketoys bad - which explains why they're all lining up to kick your face off. A small handful of friendly 'Mon live in hub areas where you can buy new moves or set up co-operative games - though both players will need to own the game to take advantage of this.