I was intrigued when I first heard that Nintendo was dabbling in the Mobile game scene. One of their initial titles is a freemium Pokemon puzzle game remake, so I decided to give it a try. I’m willing to play any game for free, and I have fond childhood memories of those little pocket monster creatures. I was skeptical as I watched it download from the Google PlayStore. The whole freemium model in general sends chills down this cranky old gamer’s spine; How many crafty paywalls did they slip into this title?
How Far I Got
I made it to Stage 63 in the Galerie Rouge area. It’s nice to put another game in my finished list, and I know these type of games are designed to keep you playing, and paying, for the long haul. I bowed out on a battle with a spiky cheeked fish thing named Marshstomp. I didn’t partake in any of the limited time content, or spend a dime of real world money. I just picked away at the battles in the main area until I had enough.
Completion Progress: My First Hour Lining Up Pictures of Strange Pokemon
Overall, this is just a simple puzzle game where the goal is to damage your target by lining up 3 or more of the same Pokemon in the puzzle area. There are other mechanics as well that add a bit more depth. For example, you assemble your team before the battle, and choosing to bring Pokemon types that your target is weak against will help you do more damage. At the end of each battle you get the chance to catch the Pokemon you bested. Your chances for a successful catch improve depending on how many combos you strung together and your score for the battle.
And then there’s the paywalls, which to be fair are more like pay barriers in this title. During my time in the game nothing felt like it was truly locked behind spending real world money. Each time you battle, you lose a heart. When all your hearts are gone, you can wait patiently for them to refill over time, or fork over a Jewel, the real world currency item, to instantly refill them. A pretty typical mechanic for the freemium genre, but one that I still despise. If you happen to fail at catching a Pokemon, you can spend coins, or another one of those fancy Jewels to buy a stronger Pokeball to snag your prey with. If you happen to fail the battle entirely, the game is more than happy to give you more turns, it’ll only cost you another Jewel.
I can appreciate that it must be hard for Mobile game developers to find the right graphical balance for the plethora of different devices that can potentially play their game; especially Android OS devices.The graphics for this title are pretty basic by today’s standards, but they are cheerfully bright and crisp. The many Pokemon are shown as cute little circular representations of their true forms. Minor environment variations distinguish between the zones, and all of the combo zooming animations flowed smoothly on my Nexus 5.
The music is pretty upbeat and adds a lighthearted vibe to the game, and each zone has a different tune. I especially enjoyed the whimsical theme in the starting area, and the drum beat that plays in the Night Festival area. The Pokemon make adorable little roaring noises when they activate their mega forms, which reminds me of the classic Game Boy titles I grew up on.
My Overall Biased Opinion
If you’re a fan of Pokemon and like simple puzzle games this is definitely worth a try. It is free to download so there’s really no harm in checking it out. You don’t have to spend any real world money as long as you’re patient, and there are plenty of limited time events and challenges to get you busy for a while. Personally, Pokemon lost its charm for me many years ago, and this game didn’t offer me much incentive to keep playing. During the battles, whenever I did chain multiple combos together, it felt like random luck more than any skill on my part. I’ll probably forget I ever played this game in a week or so.