It’s been bittersweet to see Pokemon Rumble U finally launch on the Nintendo Wii U. On the one hand, a Pokemon game in the same vein as Skylanders should be a multi-million dollar concept. In practice, it makes for an uneven experience. If you adore every piece of software featuring Pocket Monsters- regardless of genre or value, you’ll instantly fall in love with Pokemon Rumble U. For everyone else not so indebted to the franchise, this will be something of a tough sell.
Pokemon spin-offs have a very bad reputation. Reviewers love to gut them without restraint and most gamers compare them endlessly to the main series. Whenever a great spin-off does grace the Pokemon franchise, it usually ends up cultivating a ‘love it or hate it’ following. Pokemon Rumble U, a downloadable title for the Nintendo Wii U, is the latest case of this pattern.
The Pokemon Rumble games began on the original Wii as an addictive, arcade co-op affair. Gamers cycled through an extensive collection of captured Pokemon to face-off against hordes of familiar pocket monsters to reach a massive boss. These adventure levels paved the way to arena battles that served as the finales for each world.
The Nintendo 3DS sequel focused on the adventure levels while the recently released Wii U follow-up spotlights the arena gameplay. Unfortunately many gamers aren’t giving the latest game a chance- choosing to ignore an extremely fun Pokemon fighting game due to perceiving it as a lazy Skylanders clone. While the adventure levels are sorely missed, it’s hard not to adore the charm of the Pokemon figures and the chaotic gameplay.
It’s forgiving to be hesitant to take the plunge- given the somewhat shaky quality of the Rumble series. More people could have safely given this Pokemon spin-off a chance if Nintendo had the foresight to give it a physical release bundled with some random starter figures- as well as the addition of online play. Gamers unable to gather together a team of three to four players will likely be left wanting by Pokemon Rumble U’s multiplayer-focused gameplay.
The figures themselves stay true to the stylized design introduced in the original Pokemon Rumble on Wii. Many gamers will be disappointed by the decision to release said figures in random capsules. If you were planning on buying this game solely to get some quality time with Absol or Gengar, be prepared to shell out some serious cash in the hopes of getting them.
Pokemon Rumble U capsules retail for $4, but that adds up when you’re desperately trying to get your hands on almost seven hundred different Pocket Monsters. Arceus forbid your favorite Pokemon happens to be a legendary! On a final note, fans of the series can feel free to invest solely in the figures themselves- as they look absolutely adorable on display. If you aren’t interested in throwing away innumerable Abraham Lincolns, feel free to hop online and purchase your favorites secondhand!