Pokémon! Gotta catch ‘em all! This phrase has never been more true than with the release of Pokémon Rumble for WiiWare. In this case, you play as wind up toys of Pokémon and control them through levels where you run around, beating up other toy Pokémon. Sometimes, you’ll knock a Pokémon unconscious instead of defeating them and you’ll be able to add them to your arsenal of Pocket Monsters. As you progress, Pokémon will be higher levels and you’ll be updating and releasing Pokémon along the way. Eventually, you will have to complete the Battle Royale, a match where you’ll be pitted against a swarm of Pokémon, including one or more high level Pokémon. Winning the Battle Royale will grant you access to the next rank level, where the process is repeated.
Graphics are a cartoony display of rough edges and cell-shading. The sound is serviceable, although some of the sound effects from the Pokémon can be irritating. Gameplay, however, is mundane and repetitive. Pokémon only have two moves at one time and so you’ll be repeating the same moves over and over. Being able to switch Pokémon on the fly by pressing the A button is nice as well as the ability to teach your Pokémon new moves but these are features that should be in a game like this. The Wii Remote is held sideways and you’ll control your Pokémon with the d-pad and attack with the 1 and 2 buttons. Mashing the same two buttons over and over gets old quick and the lack of a story or any real motivation for what you’re doing makes you more aware of it. Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over. Who knew Pokémon could send you to a padded room.
You are probably thinking that this is a bad game and should be avoided. However, you should try multiplayer. For some reason, my friends and I have a blast when we play this. Single player is pointless but multiplayer is a blast. It’s a shallow game, sure, but it’s simple and the ability to beat up Pokémon is appealing, even to a fan of the series (yeah, I watched the show, collected the cards and played the games back in the day). Your friends will work together to defeat enemies and passing each rank until you beat the game and unlock the Advance Mode and later, the EX mode.
Overall, Pokémon Rumble is a fun distraction if you have friends. It’s not worth your time if you don’t have friends over often as the single player is boring and there’s no online play (which is weird since you have to be connected to the internet to download the game). Another problem is the price. Pokémon Rumble will set you back 1500 Wii Points or $15. At that price point, it’s hard to fully recommend this game. Pokémon fans only need apply. Pika!
Final Verdict: 3 out of 5.