Pokemon Rumble U is available to download from the Wii U eShop right now for the price of $17.99.
The game’s premise is quite simple: you take control of any toy Pokemon which you’ve collected (you’ll have four to get started with: Pikachu, Tepig, Snivy, and Oshawott) and battle in various arenas to befriend more toy Pokemon and progress in the game. In addition to your own Pokemon, you can choose three more computer-controlled Pokemon to go into battle with. Or you can add up to three real-life buddies to play with, local multiplayer style.
The battles in Rumble U are sheer chaos. Most of the time it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on in the arena, but with a bit of practice, the battles quickly turn into fairly exciting affairs. The controls are simple: move with the L-stick (or D-pad for Wii remotes) and attack with the A and B (or 1 and 2) buttons. Beyond the simplistic control scheme, Rumble U has a few features that keep the action from becoming too dull. Choosing the right Pokemon to take into battle and familiarizing yourself with their moves adds a needed element of strategy to the game. And the items and power-ups that are thrown into the game at regular intervals keep things interesting.
The Pokemon Rumble series is a spin-off of the main series, so Rumble U is geared towards fans of the main series. For Pokemon newcomers, the game isn’t very accessible, as it makes no attempts to teach players about the rock-paper-scissors style of battling. Also, it may take some getting used to for players who’ve not experienced another game in the Rumble series, because it doesn’t teach the mechanics of the series outright.
Rumble U has a great collection aspect, just as it should, being a Pokemon game and all. However, your toy Pokemon have levels of power that never change, so the training aspect that is so loved in the main Pokemon series is unfortunately absent. Many of your befriended toy Pokemon will go unused basically the whole game. Still, despite it’s flaws, I’ve liked what I’ve seen of Pokemon Rumble U so far. It’s probably best enjoyed multiplayer style, which gives it both a cooperative and competitive edge. Since I haven’t finished it, I just have to voice one fear I have concerning this game: it appears to be quite short, especially considering its steep price tag. But only time will tell on that one.
Have you downloaded Pokemon Rumble U yet? What are your first impressions of the game?