|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ambrella||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 16, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The real value of Pokémon Rumble is in how all its little bits come together to make for a cohesive collecting experience. There are seven buildings located back at the terminal. An information booth keeps track of everything from the amount of time you've logged in with the game to the number of Pokémon you've defeated - 11 total pages of stuff to mull over. Next is the training building, where you pay to spin a canister that will randomly choose a new power for your currently selected Pokémon. You can only have two powers per Pokémon at a time, so you'll either have to replace one of its current powers or choose to discard what you've been given.
There is, of course, an area where you can view your collection of Pokémon toys. Toys that are fully colored represent Pokémon you currently possess, grayed out Pokémon are the ones you've seen in the wild but haven't yet befriended, and question marks signify Pokémon you've yet to discover.
The Release Point building is where you can get rid of Pokémon you no longer need. Once you let a Pokémon go, it will leave you a gift. You can recruit new Pokémon with money or by using tickets randomly received when releasing Pokémon, as well as using passwords that Nintendo intends to reveal from time to time.
Lastly, you've got the Wii Remote Pokémon building and Multiplayer. You can play with up to four people locally, and by visiting the Wii Remote Pokémon building, you can store Pokémon in your controller and bring them with you to a friend's house and such. Both are really cool additions, but again, we're perplexed by the lack of online multiplayer. Trading Pokémon is also absent from the game, and with such a large variety of special Pokémon to be found, both options are sorely missed.
Control using just the Wii Remote turned sideways feels great; it's easy to pick up and learn, and the menu system is straightforward and polished. You can sort Pokémon in any number of ways, and for a downloadable game, Nintendo did an impressive job with the presentation.
The visuals are definitely one of the highlights of Pokémon Rumble, as having 150 uniquely designed Pokémon in a WiiWare game ain't too shabby. Not all of the Pokémon look great up close, but when dungeon crawling, they're adorable to look at. The Pokémon have a cel-shaded outline, and everything about the game's graphics is very polished. Again, we're disappointed by the lack of dungeon variety, but the texture work, lighting, and effects are all really topnotch. There are occasional bouts of slowdown, but the framerate is otherwise smooth.
The music is playful and ramps up any time enemies approach, and it's about what you'd expect from a downloadable game - solid but not terribly ambitious. Pokémon still make those weird mechanical sounds we've been hearing for years, but at this point, it's all fan service. Folks who lust after loot, however, will love hearing the clickety-clack that accompanies picking up Poké money - those sounds never get old.
Pokémon Rumble isn't great, but it could have been. More dungeon variety, along with more interesting dungeon design would have been a good start, and not to sound like a broken record, but come on already, Nintendo, with the whole online thing. The real problem with the game, though, is its price. With what it currently has to offer, Pokémon Rumble would be a hard sell at 1000 Wii Points; at 1500, the price is borderline obscene. There's definitely fun to be had here, but it just doesn't feel like you're getting your money's worth.
CCC Freelance Writer