A surprise announcement in last month's Nintendo Direct was the reveal of Pokémon Shuffle, a free-to-play match-three type game that strongly resembles Pokémon Link: Battle! / Pokémon Battle Trozei. There's been a lot of controversy surrounding the title as it heavily features microtransactions, leading some to feel like Nintendo is greedily trying to take advantage of the popularity of the Pokémon franchise. Announced to be releasing in Japan on 18th February - and likely in the west in the coming week, too - Nintendo has revealed more about the structure and pricing of the game.
Players will be given five hearts initially and one heart will be used every time a stage is played, whether the player wins or loses. Hearts will regenerate over time, and it's believed that it'll take roughly thirty minutes for one to regenerate. Hearts can be bought using an in-game currency called gems. Gems can either be received via StreetPass or bought in the store - One gem will cost 100 Yen (roughly $1 / €0.88). Additionally, gems can be used to buy coins which will make stages easier, such as a ball that'll heighten the chances of catching a Pokémon. Here's a breakdown of pricing (via NeoGaf):
- 5 hearts = 1 gem
- 20 hearts = 3 gems
- 45 hearts = 6 gems
- 75 hearts = 10 gems
- 5000 coins = 1 gem
- 20000 coins = 3 gems
- 45000 coins = 6 gems
- 75000 = 10 gems
There'll be roughly 160 unique stages, with each stage offering the chance to catch a new Pokémon; at least Charizard and Mewtwo will have two stages, with the second ones being their Mega Evolutions. Be sure to note, it will be entirely possible to completely beat the game without paying any money.
We're going to remain cautiously optimistic about this game, and we'll be sure to put out a review if it does indeed launch in the West in the coming week. What do you think about this game? Are you wary of the free-to-play approach Nintendo is taking? Sound off in the comments below.