Pokémon Rumble (WiiWare)

Game Review

Pokémon Rumble Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Rumble or fumble?

One thing we've learned time and again (sometimes painfully) is that when it comes to WiiWare there's no necessary correlation between quality and cost. Of the most expensive games available, for instance, one of them is arguably the best game on the service, and another is ...not.

And so when a new release scurries into view dragging a 1500 Point price tag behind it, reluctance is understandable. It could go either way: it could prove itself to be one of the stronger titles, or it could be the sort of thing you sit thinking about on a cold night in the tub, sobbing as you imagine your hard-earned $15 swirling away with the bathwater.

Pokémon Rumble, thankfully, is very much the former.

The game itself is almost surprisingly simple, considering the fact that there are hundreds of variations of Pokémon and a maximum army size of one thousand(!). Yet the entire game can be controlled quite comfortably with a horizontal Wii Remote, and though Classic Controller and Game Cube configurations are available, Pokémon Rumble feels most naturally designed for the simplest control option available.

You begin the game as a wimpy Rattata, a furry purple pipsqueak delusional enough to believe he can survive a Battle Royale, in which hordes of Pokémon ten times his strength will rain down upon him en masse. Of course he cannot survive, and that's where you come in. After such a fierce (and humorously unexpected) humiliation, you guide Rattata through six different areas, meeting various other Pokémon, attacking them, and sometimes befriending them. (Befriending is accomplished, oddly enough, by killing them really, really hard.) Each Pokémon you befriend will be added to your reserves, and you can switch between them at will at any point in a level, but the action doesn't stop as you make the change, so try not to do it while you're under attack! Each time you befriend a Pokémon that's more powerful than you, you inch your way closer to your goal of successfully completing a Battle Royale. (Oh, and you can forget about Rattata at this point. He sucks and you'll never use him again.)

Each Pokémon that you befriend comes pre-loaded with at least one special ability, and they're not uniform among species; befriend two Squirtles, for instance, and they may well have different attacks. You can upgrade your Pokémon via an in-game lottery system, where you'll spend credits that you've earned during battle for the chance of winning a better attack. However these are expensive, there's no guarantee that your new attack won't be a downgrade, and each Pokémon can only wield two attacks at a time. So much for relying on one or two Renaissance Pokémon...

This limitation actually serves to make gameplay more interesting. You'll find yourself switching between Pokemon frequently: sometimes you'll need a ranged attack, sometimes you'll want to lower an enemy's defence, and sometimes you'll want to sap some HP. Each time, you'll need to switch to a Pokémon who can handle the job at hand, so even if you decide you want to play the entire game as Charmander, you'll find yourself switching between many Charmanders to make the best use of whichever particular skills each one has. By maxing you out at two abilities per creature, it forces you to use and manage your army more evenly, rather than relying on one powerhouse supersoldier.

One unfortunate side effect of such a simple control scheme is the repetitiveness of the action. The game does, however, allow for a pretty meaty selection of attack types, so ultimately it's as varied as you want it to be. You could work your way through the whole game with melee attacks - yes, that would be pretty dull - but with so many other possibilities at your disposal, the only limitations are the ones you place upon yourself.

The music is quite good (if not particularly memorable) and the visuals are simple and crisp. In fact, the presentation of the entire game is quite solid, with unnoticeable loading times and only minor, intermittent slowdown when the screen is swamped with enemies and projectiles.

The replay value for this game is high, especially if you have an interest in collecting a few of every Pokémon. Not every species appears in every trip through each level, requiring several playthroughs to even see them all, let alone befriend them. And even if you're not attempting to be the Pokémon Noah, the multitude of special abilities to try out and the giddy clash of the Battle Royale (which gets even more difficult to survive each time you advance in rank) are likely to keep you coming back for more.

A multiplayer mode is available as well, in which up to four players can select characters from the lead player's army and duke it out side by side. It can get a bit hectic with multiple players overlapping each other and shooting lightning everywhere (and unfortunately any time the Switch Pokémon window is opened it's bound to inconvenience the other players) but it's a great deal of fun, and an excellent way of getting a friend or family member involved. The simple concept and controls mean that anybody can just hop on and play, and the addictiveness of the battles means they probably won't want to stop.


It's difficult to find much wrong with Pokémon Rumble: everything it does is done quite well, and one can really only take issue with the things the game doesn't do. The gameplay might be limited, but it's a solid and fun gameplay experience, and what it lacks in depth it makes up for in accessibility, frantic action, and an excellent multiplayer mode. As one of the longer, more-replayable titles on the WiiWare service, Pokémon Rumble comes recommended.

From the web

User Comments (97)



GamerZack87 said:

This game looks awesome! I sure hope it hits Australia soon! Just not too hard...being hit hurts slightly...



KDR_11k said:

A massive complaint I read was that the level design is too repetitive (only 5 levels reused over and over) and makes replays more of a chore and coop matches too uninteresting.



Sean_Aaron said:

Hang on Phil, do you play Pokemon card games? I mean, you sound like the real deal there!

I don't get why they changed the name: Pokemon Scramble has a nice ring to it. I cannot imagine ever owning a Pokemon game, but this review may actually change my mind. I really really really want a Monster Rancher game on the Wii, though.



blackknight77 said:

Maybe beating the game with Rattata would make a good Master run attempt. Anyway I played the demo and it was cool I though the game had a nice look to it but the stages could have used some more detail and personality.



Egg_miester said:

i like the game and the reused on statges isn't bad they do changed around around a little there a lot of pokemon all from the first game and the new ones from new ds game



JayArr said:

UntitledChicken tested. Chicken approved.

Solid review Philip. I may check this one out now.



Flandy said:

from the review i was actually execting a 10 lol
though the demo defintly convinced me to buy it



habereet said:

I downloaded the demo and figured I'd give it a look; never played Pokemon, though.

Phil finally got to test one that wasn't a stinker.



Sylverstone said:

Hmmm..... nice work Ambrella.

Apparently, you can mark this off as one of your best Pokemon titles so far.
the others.... hmm.... not so good.

If only I had my Wii so I could download the demo.....



Objection said:

I'd definately get this for 1000, but I'll probably pass on it for now due to the price point. Great review, regardless.



Porky said:

You didn't mention you could take pictures during any time in the game. Also, Yes! an rating 8 i knew this would be good. I downloaded this the first day it came out and didn't need a review to tell me it was great. Such a good game.

If this game had online play, the people would abuse some attacks and team up (*ehem**Bomberman**blast**Troopers**ehem) so online would have been a no-no for sure.

The game is 1500pts, you would have gotton this for 1000pts. Five dollars less Jeez... thats so much



SwerdMurd said:

it's kinda fun! Wouldn't buy the full version though--not 15 dollars fun. It's more MAME game I'd download, play for an hour, and never touch again fun. Definitely the most compelling Pokemon-oriented thing I've played, although that doesn't take much into account.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@Sneaker13: Agreed, although you can probably already tell that from my username and avatar. Yes, Bulbasaur is in there. The game includes the 1st generation and the 4th (most recent) generation of Pokémon, although you don't find the 4th generation ones until the second half of the game.

Just so everyone knows, if you release 5 or more of the same Pokémon at once that have an evolution in the game, you'll get a ticket to recruit its evolution (or release at least 3 Phione for a Manaphy ticket). There's some other combination too like releasing a Raichu, Electabuzz, Pidgeot, and Fearow to get a Zapdos ticket. The full list is on Serebii.net



Crazytimmy2 said:

And i don't get why it doesn't have online play, for the heavy price tag you would have thought it would have had it



Percentful said:

I've played a Pokemon game before, and it wasn't very fun, leading me to the conclusion that Pokemon isn't fun in general. But the demo for this game proved me wrong! I thought it was fun, but I screamed when I saw the screen going black and turning into the Wii shop channel.



NikeXTC said:

I just received a newsletter from Nintendo saying it will be available in Europe this Friday. While I won't buy it, I hope there will be a demo like in the US, cause I'm curious to play this game...



WolfRamHeart said:

Great review Chicken. I really enjoyed the demo but I'll probably pick it up later on. 1500 points is a little too much for me right now. There are a lot of good WiiWare games coming out such as Cave Story, Castlevania: Rebirth and Bit. Trip Void. I need save my points for those games as they are top priority for me.



HornsDino said:

Err.. as to your review, you singularly fail to mention anything about the actual GAMEPLAY. Is it a beat em up? Shoot em up? RPG? I honestly have no idea



Cheezy said:

I wanna get it, and I would get it right away if it wasn't 1500 points...



Sean_Aaron said:

Do I actually have to know anything about Pokymans in order to play this thing with enjoyments?



I prefer WiiWare games that are parts of an existing series. Games like this, Contra, Bubble Bobble, and Bomberman for instance.



theblackdragon said:

@Sean: from the demo, some knowledge of Pokemon at least would probably do you good, and you might get more out of the game overall, but i doubt it would be absolutely necessary to be honest. if you're on the fence, i'd wait until Ninty releases the demo for EU so you can try it out for yourself. :3




1,500 points is a big turn off. If it wasn't for that, insta-download (when it eventual fracking comes to the EU!). As it is, I'll have to carefully consider the purchase before downloading.




Philip_J_Reed said:

I can say first-hand that you don't need to know anything about Pokemon to enjoy this game.

Personally, my only experience with it (prior to this game) was:

  • A handful of episodes that aired years ago when I was skipping math class with some friends
  • The minigames in Pokemon Stadium on the N64
  • A Jigglypuff Scotch tape dispenser I had in college

If any of that somehow prepared me for this experience, it was accidental.



Porky said:

Lengend Marioid why is a 15 dollar game a turn off? Is world of goo a turn off too? Retail games are 50 dollars new so would you never get them then?



Odnetnin said:

I haven't even read the review yet, but your score has convinced me to download it, Chicken.
EDIT: Now I've read it and want it even more.



M00se said:

this game sucks. an endless button masher with a slew of pokemon. and the pokemon are just dolls that have the same attack over and over again! not worth the 1500 points!



Sycoraxic98 said:


I'm sorry, but.
I'm sorry, I can barely stand it when you guys hit on that game.

Sigh I can't seem to get through to you guys, can I?
Game's fun, I'll keep the Japanese one, though.




@Ezekiel because at the end of the day its still a biteize wiiware game and to compare this to World of Goo isn't a good anology anyway. WoG is a clear 10/10 game and the best game on wiiware. I'd happily pay £15 if this PR game was as good as WoG !

As for retail wii games, I've only paid over £30 once and I've played over 50 games on the system in my time



Porky said:

@Lengend Marioid: I am one of the few people that think WoG is boring. Never was going to get it and the demo has saved me 1500pts. Maybe its because I love Pokemon more then any other thing and World of Goo is building towers..



megaboomface2 said:

i agree on the people who think this is 1111111111111111x better then wog in every way except online members :3



Popyman said:

From what I've played of it (my sister kind of took over when I had to do homework and is now so far in it I'm pretty lost...) it's pretty awesome. As my friend rightly said, it's kind of like a Pokemon version of Gauntlet.



Stuffgamer1 said:

The fact that the demo made it appear that there were NO Pokemon past the original was a lot of why I decided to download it (not a fan of any past Gold/Silver). I'm disappointed to hear that Diamond/Pearl creatures will appear later on, but not Gold/Silver. Oh, well...the first part of this game at the least is a blast for a former Pokemon fan such as myself!



MarkyVigoroth said:

In all seriousness, I ended up thinking that 500 NP games are the worst.
At least Mr. Brutus finally reviewed a good game.

JayArr-san, I am surprised that you can put in pictures in your comments!



smithers said:

dont hate on pokemon the card game....i played it in tourneys back in the day...you know when the cards were awesome and not just the OP knock-off lame ones....the cards have gone waaay down-hill



vonboysp said:

I'm really enjoying this game so far. the only real pokemon knowlege that would really help you in this game are the pokemon type advanatages/disadvantanges.

a lot of them are obvious though, like water>fire, fire>grass, electric>flying, flying>bug, ect. theres only really a few that don't make much sence (psicic<bug, wtf?)



Sean_Aaron said:

The only CCG I've played is the original Star Trek: The Next Generation CCG.

Cool Chicken, I'll have to download that demo (I could have already in two different territories!), but I'm still playing Anno!

I had the PC demo of World of Goo and wasn't excited; a mindless brawler with little pokemons I can get into.




..........having said all that I'm not ruling out getting this game.

I think CB the reviewer himself has said on a forum thread that the price point is the only real NEGATIVE of this game.

(Its seems particularly appealing to those who like the whole "collecting" of Pokemon bag).

Obviously WoG will have differing opinions but its pretty much respected across the board reviewers wise.



HardToBe said:

Hmm I dunno man, after playing the demo it seemed like repetitive nonsense to me. I'm gonna have to side with IGN on this one.



rjejr said:

Can anybody tell me how long the game would last getting to some sort of endpoint - not collecting anything just moving up Battle Royale ranks? ie it took about 30 minutes to end the demo at rank C with a level 100 Pokemon, so would the game end an hour later with a rank A level 300 Pokemon after 3 Battle Royale fights.

And yes I know the whole point of Pokemon is collecting, I'm just not sure how long my boys would play after they "maxed out" and I don't want to pay $15 for a 90 minute game.



Crunc said:

I played this with my kids yesterday. My kids love it and I had fun playing with them. I don't think I'd want to play for hours on end, but in shorter doses it's fun. I think an 8 out of 10 is a bit high, though. I'd give it a 7.



vonboysp said:

rjejr, it'll take you at least 5 hours or so to "beat" the game. as you move up the ranks, the levels get a little longer, you'll have to fight more pokemon off, and it gets more difficult, so you'll probably fail a few times.

also, theres a rank after A rank



davegorack said:

Its out in the UK on the 20th????
Good thing im selling my N64 tomrrow.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@BB_Thrilla There's well over 200 different kinds of Pokémon and over 400 different attacks (and freshly collected Pokémon don't always have the same attacks). In addition, each Pokémon can use 2 different attacks (if you teach another one to the ones that start with just one attack). All that variety and the fact that you have to worry more and more about dodging enemy attacks as you go on keep it from being a mindless button masher.

@rjejr and vonboysp - Not only is there an S Rank after A Rank, but there's a whole new set of ranks with 4th generation Pokémon after that with more challenging levels, and after that, there's a super challenging extra Battle Royale mode.



Prof said:

My daughter loves Pokemon, so I downloaded the demo the first day it hit the US market. We played a little of it on Monday, and came back to it again today. No matter how much I thought the 1,500 points might have been a bit high, I couldn't make myself stop loving this game. We battled until we finally got the C class gates open, and - of course - the demo ended there!

Still a little unsure of the price, I went ahead and purchased it anyway - and after I saw the 8 out of 10 score over here (and I gotta admit, I was shocked because you all are usually fair but hard as well), I knew for the replay value and the fun she and I have playing it, Pokemon Battle Royale was worth every bit of its 1500 point tag. Knowing how much fun it is to play and play again, now having a save feature, and reading Bulbasaurus Rex's post about an S class, 4th generation Pokemon, and a super battle royale made me even more certain it was worth 1500 points. For what it does, it's definitely loaded up. I agree, online play would have been cool, maybe just to have traded Pokemon, but hey...we can't have it all.

The Pokemon in small rendition in this game are as cute as anything that's been put out with their likenesses on them. I grant you it's not Lost Winds or World of Goo, but my god it's a charmer and a lot of fun at that.

Back to it - got to get our freshly loaded full game back to where the demo left off!



soniczelda_dude said:

If there's one thing I have to say about this game, do not compare it to any of the core Pokemon games. It's just a mindless beat-em-up with the Pokemon models from My Pokemon Ranch, and in my opinion not worth the 1500 point price tag.

On a side note, World of Goo is worth 1500 points, that is if you're a big fan of puzzle games and/or unique/experimental games.



bboy2970 said:

Why does everyone think this is so mindless? I'll admit, it's not the most complicated thing in the world but it does involve a fair amount of strategy and gets rather hard later in the game. It's also very collection heavy so the replay value is very high. I've put in 5 hous so far and haven't even started on the B Rank (too busy collecting a Raichu, Charizard, Blastoise and such). This is a great game a while it may be worth its asking price, I can't escape the feeling that this would be infinitely more appealing for 1000 points.



Porky said:

Next to come, Pokemon Mystery dungeon Blazing, Storming, Lightning wiiware for 1200pts each. Japan got them for that much so we may get it for that much too which isn't a problem with me at all. It isn't nessisary to have all 3 just one. Im spending my next 3600pts on those games. I heard it has wifi things and if you have 2 of the 3 games or 3 of the 3 games they can be connected together somehow.Wikipedia says release date is 2010 Q1.



davegorack said:

ive just played the Demo and i doubt ill buy it.
Its fun but its not worth 1500. i mean for that i could
buy Majoras Mask and Super Mario bros.....which i should
ill keep the demo. its fun.
Edit: i ended up buying this game after all....Its just so adictive.



CDavis said:

Played the demo and I love it! Great game, wish I had £15 for the game now...



Tate24 said:

mmmm i cant decide???

This or world of goo!! tryed the 2 demo's and there both boss. But i cant decide which 1 to get?

One thing should know about me is like getting my moneys worth & i hate buying games that dont feel value for money! games that give alot is great but ones that want me spend earth and then give me limted experience makes me angry lol!

out of PR & WOG which one would u say offers more fun experience?

Am gutted little with PR because i cant see any type of online play sharing or battling for asking price? which would have been very cool! On the demo though on the pause screen it says "take picture" am wondering if this means u can send pictures to your wii message board & then send them to friends. does anyone know if you can?

World of goo demo is great! to and i do see wi-fi connection on it which look interesting.

Aaargh! i just dont know!



Objection said:

@Ezekiel-To reply to what you said a few days ago, a price difference of +50% is a big deal. If something is a good value at 10, then it probably isnt at 15. Thats how I feel about this game (and World of Goo for that matter.) I think that the games on VC/WW are a little pricey, especially when you compare them to what's available on other download services. (They both have great games, but App Store is much cheaper and PSN/Live have biggerm prettier games for around the same price.)



MrPanic said:

@Tate24 Definitely World of Goo, that game is a awesome experience while Pokemon Rumble brings you the demo over and over again.



vonboysp said:

if you liked replaying the levels in the world of goo demo trying to get ocd in each one, then you should get it. it has lots of replay value as you try to figure out new ways to beat each level to get ocd.



NazoZakk said:

This game is awesome, i even almost beat 5 pokemon in the battle royale at the start with rattata.
But man, i can't get another wii points card until christmas, unless i beg...



CH405K1N6 said:


Much better than that sh1t pile called My Pokémon Ranch. And it looks like Chicken got to review a good game for once




....lol, I ended up downloading it after playing the demo.Cracking little game; not worth 1,500 points though....



WWammy said:

I tried the Nintendo Demo was a bit too simplistic for me.
I got bored pretty quickly because the limitation of the Pokemon not leveling up was annoying. My personal opinion is that this game would have been so much better if it just had leveling up



KDR_11k said:

I played the demo and when I found a pokemon with a prefix (increased attack power) I knew it: This is Diablo with Pokemon! Instead of item drops you get pokemon drops, that's why you can't power them up beyond trying to get a second ability.

The pokemon graphics are pretty damn weak though, I bet those coins they drop after death have more polygons than the pokemons.



Mr_Nose said:

So much of what makes Pokemon such an enduring franchise, ( weak vs. strong, RPG elements, collecting, etc. ) makes it furtile soil for games outside the original series. My beef has always been Ninty's reluctance to do anything 'large scale' with it. Can you imagine an MMO based on Pokemon? Or one with a more 'serious' art direction?

Ennyhoo, a few minutes play on the demo, and I was downloading the full game. This is a case of the elements being a good fit, outside the original series. I think it's money well spent. It's certainly the most fun I've had with a WiiWare title in some time.

Also, I don't know if this has been mentioned, but a special 'toy' is unlocked if you register the game on the Club Nintendo site.



Mange said:

Philip wrote:

"only minor, intermittent slowdown when the screen is swamped with enemies and projectiles"

I think it lags seriously, There is not many fights without it. My kid like it though. I like the surroundings in the game, makes me want a "Link to the Past" sequel. Would look awesome, hopefully without lag. Last... why doesn´t pokemonrumble.com work in the wii internet channel?



Twisted said:

Don't waste another minute thinking about buying this game: It sucks.

Not only is it waaay to easy (I'm on A rank after 2 hours play) but it's really repetitive. The Pokemon do have different powers and the types do have different advantages and disadvantages in terms of attack and defense. However, you'll soon realize you can power around the same damned levels, mashing your preferred attack button and play the whole thing through with very little effort. Hell, I remember completing Rank B with Gloom's HP recovery attack alone.

The rumble stages (and the controls) are about the only good thing about this game and for 1,500 points that's totally in-excusable. The graphics are nice (read: nothing spectacular), but like the power-upgrades you'll soon get fed up of them and the audio side of things is completely forgettable. This game feels like a missed opportunity and certainly doesn't compare to similar games of the genre. You don't need to know a great deal about Pokemon to play or beat this game (in fact, I hardly know anything) so I'd say this one is really for the Pokemon addicts alone and only if you're desperate enough to want every Pokemon game around regardless of quality.

One final thing: Don't get fooled by the demo! It doesn't let you know that each rank comprises of the same set of levels repeated and it doesn't show you how pathetically easy it is to breeze through the game because the difficulty only increases if you play through with the earlier Pokemon you get.

Avoid this like the plague unless - like I mentioned earlier - you really like Pokemon. 2/10 (2 for the the graphics, 2 for the decent controls and -2 for being laughably expensive)



bub710 said:

wow, great review, and some harsh comments... A few knocks on the critics first... try to remember what wiiware is. a collection of small games aimed at casual gamers who for what ever reason either are atracted by the relatively low price and ease of downloadable games or are too lazy to get up and switch game disks or leave the house to buy a quality title. now, as far as pokemon goes. anyone over the age of 12 who is a hard core pokemon fan... well just try to remember that you were likely young when you first met pokemon and that is the age it targets. we got the demo and my 5 year old son loved it. he had never even heard of pokemon until this game. yes it is simple, yes it is repetative, yes it is fun for kids. we downloaded the the full version and he loves it. in my opinion there are too few fun and simple games available for this age group. had it not been for the demo, we would have never even tried it. bottom line, good game for kids.



Kadaj said:


Ease up, eh? You're treating this as a mainstream title that's supposed to have the in-depth strategy, masterful controls, selections, and funding of a game that costs millions to make.

I played the demo the other day, and I'll be damned if it wasn't one of the best Wiiware title out there. Fun action, fast paced strategy, and a neat and clean interface makes this an easy $15. Any fan of pokemon or plug-and-play games will get a kick out of this. Plus, it has a lot of replayability.

Totally recommended for all.



Interfear1 said:

I personally liked this game even if it is indeed overpriced and the player is not really catching any Pokemon. The character sprites are horrible in certain characters, like Kadabra, but that is a minor gripe. The game is repetitive as all hell, but fun if you are a long time fan as myself.



Bobpie said:

Although it may seem pricey and repetitive, the demo proved to me that this game was awesome, and now I'm going to get it for Xmas.




i need wii points card for christmas will then have 2400 np and can buy 2 awesome games!pokemon rumble and driift mania

i tried the demo and thought it was fun but when the demo ended i was pissed..I was so ready to do battle royale!!!! I dont know about u but i sure think that its worth the 1500 np


(p.s. tradeing would be cool or even battle royale online but its good anyway)



bsanch said:

They need a Wii version of the handheld Pokemon games. Not like Colosseum. This game's alright, I guess.



Rm88 said:

The demo is really good, I may get this. Poor Rattata, it's one of my favorite Pokémon >_<

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