(3DS)

Game Review

Pokémon Rumble Blast Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Let's get ready to rrrrumble! Again...

Two years ago, Nintendo released the surprisingly addictive Pokémon Rumble on WiiWare. It was a bizarre little title that took the various generations of Pokémon and reduced them to jittering clockwork toys haphazardly duking it out in chaotic Battle Royales. We liked it quite a lot, but it was difficult not to be boggled by its strangeness.

With the benefit of hindsight, it's easier to see what Nintendo was doing: Pokémon Rumble was a trial run. The relatively small WiiWare audience was essentially a focus group that would vote with its collective wallets as to whether or not Rumble deserved to become a sub-series of its own. Gamers and critics voted "yay," and Pokémon Rumble Blast is here to make good on Nintendo's end of the bargain.

Those who haven't played the WiiWare game would do well to read our Pokémon Rumble review, as nearly all of it holds true for the sequel. That's both a good and bad thing.

The core gameplay of Pokémon Rumble Blast is simple: you control a little clockwork Pokémon with the circle pad, and use a single button to attack. Eventually you can unlock attacks for a second button, but you can only ever hold two attacks per Pokémon at a time, and if you collect a third you'll have to lose one of the ones you started with.

The simplicity of the controls means there's very little in the way of strategy. The famous Pokémon weakness chain is in effect here, but beyond that the battles consist of simply attacking and retreating at the appropriate times. This might sound like a complaint, but it isn't: this very simplicity gave the WiiWare release so much of its charm, and it's a relief to find that it wasn't needlessly complicated here.

When you attack other clockwork Pokémon, you will either defeat them or "befriend" them. The ability to befriend is always based — at least a small amount — on luck, but there are ways within the game that you can increase your chances. Any befriended Pokémon are added to your roster and you can choose to control them at any time. Needless to say, befriending the giant bosses is always a good idea.

Areas are clearly delineated, and you enter them from a more cohesive overworld. Each area has a set number of Pokémon that you can befriend, and you'll see how many you have yet to befriend each time you enter.

Periodically, when your army is strong enough, you can enter your Pokémon soldiers in larger battles for prize money, but you can't befriend anybody that you beat in these situations.

So far, this all pretty much sounds like the WiiWare release. And, again, that's both a good and a bad thing. It's good because the WiiWare release was a smooth, enjoyable experience, and that's still the case here. It's less good, though that the full retail release didn't add much more variety to the game.

The areas are all pretty plain. There's some nice background activity here and there, but they're basically just differently-styled enemy pits, and that can get dull after a while. With WiiWare's limited file size, this was understandable; on a cartridge, it's hardly even forgivable. Even much of the WiiWare game's music was ported over without change, and that's sort of puzzling as it wasn't anything all that great to begin with.

The larger battles fare a bit better, as they're always frantic and busy enough to distract you from the repetition. In addition to the Battle Royale, as well, the game features Charge Battles and Team Battles, which shake up the rules somewhat but still deliver on the larger-scale anarchic fun.

There are also towns to visit that serve as resting points, and shades of a larger story which — thankfully — does not dominate the actual gameplay. But otherwise, you're not going to find much you didn't already find on WiiWare.

The 3D is absolutely a feature, as certain attacks and cut scenes take full advantage of the 3DS's visual capabilities, and there are also StreetPass features available that allow you to smack some strangers around. The two-player cooperative mode is certainly welcome and also a lot of fun, but Download Play is not supported and both players will need to own the cartridge.

We're not conflicted about whether or not we can recommend this game — we very easily can — but we are conflicted about how closely it hews to the original formula. Token attempts at variety are pencilled in here and there, but the game itself starts to feel a little too familiar a little too quickly.

For those who don't own the WiiWare version, Pokémon Rumble Blast is recommended. For those who do, ask yourself how much you want a portable version with 3D graphics. It's a fun game, but you'll know the answer to that question better than we will.

Conclusion

Pokémon Rumble Blast is a good game, but — let's face it — we've played it before. The 3DS gave Nintendo a wider palette to work with, but it seems like it was content to leave well enough alone. Because of that we feel comfortable recommending it, but we also feel compelled to remind you that a very similar game is already available through WiiWare, and it's less expensive as well. The choice is yours.

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User Comments (60)

Jono97

#1

Jono97 said:

Wait.. isn't this like that Pokemon demo on the WII? Well, either way, I am not into pokemon. IDK why I even have the pokedex 3D

Cipher

#2

Cipher said:

I want a portable version very much! It's good to hear 3D is used well too. I'm glad to hear it doesn't deviate too much - Pokémon Rumble probably gave me the most fun I've had playing Pokémon in a long time so I can't wait to get my hands on this. Great review. :)

Portista

#3

Portista said:

This game seems ok, but I don't think I'll get it. With the Mario games coming out soon, I'll reserve my Christmas list for those games. :D

Bacon_Gal_Blaze

#4

Bacon_Gal_Blaze said:

All my money has already went towards Cave Story 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, Skyward Sword, Tales of The Abyss and Mario Kart 7. I think I'll put this on my Christmas list along with Sonic Generations. :-)

eviLaTtenDant

#5

eviLaTtenDant said:

Thanks for the review, Philip. :)
Yeah, the WiiWare game was alright and not too easy since i never managed to win the (presumably) last battle. That said it wasn't exactly one of the best games on the service imo.
If one day i can get it for under 20 € maybe i will. (The StreetPass part of it plays a huge role in wanting it.)

Chris720

#6

Chris720 said:

3DSWare? Yes!
Retail? No...
I don't really see much point in bringing this to retail when 3DSWare just sounds so much better for this game, not to mention it would be cheaper.

KodaSmooss

#7

KodaSmooss said:

What I don't understand is why didn't they add a level up system (learning attacks and evolving) to make it a real hack and slash game with more depth (which is obviously lacking here).
Anyway, maybe if it gets under 20 € I might consider picking it too...

Bulbousaur

#8

Bulbousaur said:

I will be getting it since I am a huge Pokemon fan, but definatley not for full price. Maybe I'll put this on my Christmas list along with Mario Kart 7.

chronicler

#9

chronicler said:

I remember receiving two wii point cards for my birthday from a friend and I bought Pokemon Rumble on the Wii. We played it for 3 straight hours before we went to his house (to which we gifted the game over to his console) and played for 3 more hours. Needless to say we enjoy that game very much, and I'll be pickin up this 3D iteration shortly.

Dodger

#10

Dodger said:

Good review. Games that are good yet feel like the exact same game as before are hard to review. Nintendogs + Cats, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Etc.

Probably a skip for me. The pokemon series has never quite been something that makes me want to buy it. I respect it, in a way but it never has jumped out at me and therefore stays lower down my wishlist. I'm curious to see what they do with a new pokemon RPG on the 3DS. I think the series might just be forced to make some big changes.

Monsti

#11

Monsti said:

Hmmmm....I actually haven't played it before. Soooo...I guess it's kind of a recommendation then?! ^^

_Joejoe_

#12

_Joejoe_ said:

All I want to do is play as a wooper.

But I'm not going to get it. Because I know full well that I'm going to eventually get a wooper and I'll get to play as him for all of 5 seconds before he is too weak to use anymore.

I kinda wish that they had traded in collecting hoards of toys for exp and leveling up. (So, you know, you can still get that oddish, but not by the thousands.) I like having a team to stick with, it makes it all more personal. They don't need to learn new attacks as they level up, but atleast let them get stronger as you play. I also would have liked it if they had mapped out 2 more attack buttons. Is allowing 4 attacks per pokemon really that complicated? I would think that it would have diminished the button mashing a little. If this game had inculded just these two things, I would have been sold.

I was going to get it anyway because I thought the multiplayer would be fun, but now that I know that it hasn't got multicard play, which means that I'd either have to buy it twice or nag a friend to get it, it just doesn't seem worth it.

But still. Wooper.

JayceJa

#14

JayceJa said:

i was really hoping they did something to keep the game more engaging, the wiiware was a very fun concept, but got stale and being unable to train pokemon meant you kept having to trade in, every time you did it was a whole lot of luck hoping to get high power, a good ability and then random move buying meant sitting around forever for good ones...

will probably pass

edcomics

#15

edcomics said:

I played it at NYCC and enjoyed it. While it's definitely an upgrade, with better graphics and 3D, it is still very familiar and probably not worth the asking price for a new game. If it ever drops in price at Gamestop, I'll think about picking it up.

Radixxs

#16

Radixxs said:

I can't see how this would warrant such a high price, I wouldn't even think about buying it for $2. The WiiWare demo was easy and lifeless, I don't want to see mangled Pokemon toys banging around on a screen. Good for young kids, I guess.

bro2dragons

#17

bro2dragons said:

@Philip: How much more content does this offer than the WiiWare release? The original was fun enough, if mindless, but the content and length would determine for me whether to download or buy the 3DS cart when it hits the bargain prices...

Late

#18

Late said:

I'm getting it when it comes to Europe. I liked the first Rumble game :)

@Radixxs: It may have been easy because demo had only few levels from the start. I still haven't completed the game as the last Battle Royale is just too much for me. (Not sure if I'd clear it if I wouldn't play multiplayer all time.)

Hardy83

#19

Hardy83 said:

Nintendo's track records for good games on the 3DS has sucked.

TWO good games, and should we even count them since they are old 64 games? lol

bboy2970

#20

bboy2970 said:

I put in 60 hours to the original WiiWare game and loved it. This game seems to be following in its footsteps. I got it yesterday and am really enjoying it! I absolutely love that every Pokemon from all generations are included here. That was probably my number 1 gripe with the original. Also, it feels more like a full game with the fact that there are different towns as well as different types of battles to break up the action a bit. I guess I would like it if you could level up your monsters but i'm over it. I just really like everything about this game and just as i did with the first, I plan to collect every single Pokemon you can possibly obtain :D

shingi_70

#22

shingi_70 said:

This could have Been a Eshop game but then it wouldn't get into the hands of that many people.

Def a purchase when the price goes down.

Luffymcduck

#23

Luffymcduck said:

The original was mindless fun in 2-player but even 15€ for it was too much. This really should have been a 3DSWare or it should have had online to justify full prize. Propably not gonna get this, so many better games coming soon.

TeeJay

#24

TeeJay said:

I've never played the original. The little toys look cute here, and I've always enjoyed mindless hacking and slashing-type action. May get this, but not sure yet.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#25

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Only getting it because my lad is desperate for the 3DS version after playing the full wiiware game I downloaded. I agree 3DSware for this best idea. At least its a decent game. Same scores from ONM and N-Gamer 70percent.

Collinhall

#26

Collinhall said:

Got it, only because I haven't played the wiiware version. It's fun, but I REALLY wish there was a level up system, better music, and more detail.

WolfRamHeart

#28

WolfRamHeart said:

I liked the demo of the WiiWare version but this sounds like it could have been and should have been a 3DSWare title instead. I'll just wait until it drops to $20 before I pick it up.

TKOWL

#29

TKOWL said:

Meh, I'm a big fan of Pokemon and probably would've picked this one up if it were released in the summer... but I think I'll wait until later, because of the sheer amount of games coming out soon :(

C-Olimar

#30

C-Olimar said:

@Hardy83 Pilotwings Resort and Nintendogs+Cats aren't great games, but they are good games, and a 7/10 consitutes a good in my book(for this game)

ueI

#31

ueI said:

I think the review should have mentioned that this game has every pokemon in it. Apart from that, it's a very informative review.

Yrreiht

#33

Yrreiht said:

Preordered it a week before it was released... I love that game so far XD

Retro_on_theGo

#35

Retro_on_theGo said:

I was waiting for the review. Now I'll pick this up but much later. I'm a big Pokemon fan and loved the original rumble, but I'd rather had 3D land. So I'll probably just get it for Christmas. By then there should be some deal on it for $20.

Skotski

#36

Skotski said:

@bro2dragons

Other than the extra levels, new pokemon, extra modes, and far more code-downloadable pokemon... its got the Streetpass battle feature.

...I don't have the game yet, but that's all I know to it - which is enough for me to get the cartridge version despite having already played the WiiWare version. The WiiWare version itself was pretty darn big (the demo is barely anything compared to it), this is definitely far bigger.

If you're just going to "try" the game (as-in, try this combat feature but not banking on loving it), just get the WiiWare version. If you're actually hoping that this will be something you'll get into, get the 3DS version... because the portability is definitely nice for a game like this.
It isn't an in-depth Pokemon RPG... so the ability to play on and off without having the fuss of going through the Wii menu makes it nice.

Supremeist

#37

Supremeist said:

Looks fun, although not the best. This one is reserved for my christmas list. 7 is still good.

HandheldGuru97

#39

HandheldGuru97 said:

Just picked it up so far it is pretty good. It is very similar to the WiiWare version, which isn't always a bad thing. Also people you need to remember the first game had about 200 or more Pokemon, this one has well over 600.

evildarkrai

#40

evildarkrai said:

IMA GET THIS GAME 2MARROW AND ICANT W88888888888 I LOVED THE WIIWARE AND IMA LOVE PLYING THIS WITH MY BROTHER 4 LIK 20 HOURS

Ernest_The_Crab

#41

Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Joejoe_ Well the game seems to adjust the overall strength of Pokemon as you get further into the game (around the same strength level as the Pokemon you are currently fighting). So you can play as Wooper for as long as you want :)

The game has a lot of charm, I mean come on, Pokemon and wind up toys XD?!

SunnySnivy

#42

SunnySnivy said:

I am enjoying this game so far. I'm extremely biased when it comes to Pokemon, though. I think a 7 is fair, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who didn't enjoy the WiiWare title. It's gameplay is exactly the same.

I spent 40 bucks on it, no regrets. But like I said- I'm biased! I love Pokemon, any Pokemon. XD

BulbasaurusRex

#43

BulbasaurusRex said:

I'm surprised the review didn't mention the ability to play as all 649 Pokémon instead of just the ones from the 1st and 4th generations in the WiiWare game.

Anyway, Pokémon Rumble is one of my favorite WiiWare games, so I'll get this one too, although probably not at full price.

So, is the one point drop from the review score of the WiiWare game simply because you expect more added content than was provided for a $40 retail game? That sounds fair.

ueI

#44

ueI said:

You can only play as 646 pokemon. Until the last three are "officially" revealed, no game will have them. I know I'm nitpicking, but I've seen too many people claim that Pokemon Rumble Blast has 649 pokemon, which is not the case.

Shirma_Akayaku

#45

Shirma_Akayaku said:

I already reserved mario kart 7 and paid off the whole thing but I got pokemon rumble blast to keep myself busy til Mario kart 7 comes out

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#48

Philip_J_Reed said:

So you're surprised the review didn't mention a feature of the game that hasn't even been announced yet? ;-)

Nesyaj0

#49

Nesyaj0 said:

I'm very satisfied with this review. It sounds very accurate and honestly, I'm perfectly fine with the formula not being changed. I just wish I had more friends with a 3DS

I don't quite get why people keep complaining that this doesn't have the traditional pokemon level up system.
That's one of the things that made this games unique, in the aspect that it wasn't a typical pokemon or hack and slash game.
Also the 2 button system forces you to use strategy a lot more, getting a variety of different moves to swap out and beat your opponents. I really like this aspect, if they had the same exact pokemon layout for this type of game it would feel very jaded and not sell as well imo.
A game like this sells well because it uses something familiar with people and introduces something new. don't complain for what's not there and use what is there and be happy about it.
Otherwise just don't buy it.

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#50

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

Complain, complain, complain. That's what I've read so far about in the comments. It costs just as much as a DS game {$35+tax from Gamestop} and has all the pokemon I want. As a completionist fanatic of Pokemon I shall be logging in much hours to get at least one of every pokemon in existences currently. {My current record of 11 hours straight for Oot will probably be broken as I obsessively try to obtain all the pokemon I want.}

BulbasaurusRex

#51

BulbasaurusRex said:

@49 646, 649, no matter what it is, the review didn't mention the ability to play with all 5 generations instead of just the 2 different generations in the WiiWare game.

Mryokokurama1

#52

Mryokokurama1 said:

I will not buy this game unless its under 10 dollars i played it on my friends 3ds and i really didnt like it sure you can play as all 5 generation pokemon but you will be mashing a and b or just a over and over which will eventually get boring until you teach the pokemon a new attack. also you will find yourself replaying a stage almost 10 times or more just to get all the pokemon there or to get stronger pokemon which gets boring. so unless you dont care about all that repetitive gameplay then i reccommend you buy this game.

VShadow

#54

VShadow said:

well, id probably get it 4 wii but i dont have my own wii... my mom has 1 in the living room & i rarely ever get the chance 2 use the wii. oh, well i got blast 4 3ds on the same day i got my 3ds. (i got my 3ds on feb. 5, 2012).

Nibblet

#56

Nibblet said:

I got this game! The toy Pokemon are so cute, I like this game. It's not the best in the world, since you basically collected toy Pokemon as you fought others, but the game is okay.

ShinyGold

#58

ShinyGold said:

I Remember Playing This On My Wii I Got A Ho-oh And Charizard I didn't Play The Demo

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