When a new Pokémon game lands on whatever handheld device, you know I'll be there. From the Pocket Pikachu to our modern smartphones, I'll play whatever, even Pokémon Dash.
But honestly, I've not played Pokémon Rumble before. I've seen the games, read the reviews, watched the footage, and honestly, it just didn't seem worth it for me. It lacked the Pokémon gameplay I was looking for, and instead had mindless attacking with little tact.
But Pokémon Rumble Rush is brand new, free to play, and I have very little to lose by putting some time into it. This isn't a review, since the game is still in softlaunch in certain territories, but you deserve to know what to expect when playing Pokémon Rumble Rush.
And, well, you should expect a lot of tapping. Pokémon Rumble Rush can be fun, it can require strategy, and it can keep you coming back for a while. But it's also intensely repetitive.
To play through the game you play through linear action stages to defeat and capture a variety of Pokémon - at least the first 150 from what I've seen so far.
You tap your way through the missions, capture stronger monsters, level them up, and reach arbitrary strength caps in order to unlock more areas and bosses.
You use CP in this game, like Pokémon GO, and as you get more powerful monsters, you will be able to find more powerful monsters, leading you on an endless climb upwards as you catch them all.
You will also need to use gears which can be equipped to Pokémon for HP, CP and status buffs. Summon gears give Pokémon unique attacks, too, and of course all of those can be upgraded to make their effects even better.
So, how do we upgrade all these things? We open ores. Yep, these are the timed chests of Pokémon Rumble Rush, and they're the main reason to keep coming back.
Sadly though, you can only keep hold of three ore at a time, and some of them take a very long time to unlock. It's honestly more frustrating than rewarding when they open up, as you know you'll quickly fill up your slots again.
This is bad because once you run out of space, you are pressured into binning ore, or opening them up with premium currency - neither being the ideal situation. It feels like ore are the way this game limits your ability to play, unlike other games that use energy to begin missions, etc.
Pokédex filling fun
Finding and collecting Pokémon is fun, though. It's nice seeing a Pokédex get filled in any Pokémon game, but here, it feels just as limiting as anything else. You find Pokémon locations with special feathers, and you can replay that stage multiple times, but if it doesn't contain the Pokémon you want, you'll have to use another feather to find your mons.
This becomes frustrating, as you'll find Pokémon you've already caught time and time again, and the last few you need will elude you. This repetition is bad enough, but then there's the gameplay.
In game you tap to attack, hold to charge an attack, and swipe to dodge. That's pretty much it. Oh, and if you just leave it, the game does have an auto battle mode, meaning stronger mons can win without you lifting a finger - literally.
It's fun for a while, and tougher fights mean you have to think about when to attack, dodge, and charge, but it's not enough to remain interesting and keep you plugged into the game.
I don't hate Pokémon Rumble Rush, but as of right now, I don't have much love for it either. It's just not good enough to keep me coming back and opening up those annoying ores.