|System: Wii U|
|Release: August 29, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Jenni Lada
Literally one minute after Skylanders was announced, people started wondering when Nintendo would do the NFC figure thing with Pokemon. After all, a series about collecting them all with an already large and devoted fanbase seems a natural fit for a game that requires people to spend extra money on an assortment of extra figures. Well, Pokemon Rumble U is that game, and it's really better to think of it as a Pokemon Rumble successor that just happens to have NFC figures that go with it.
Don't worry, though--the NFC figures are optional. You won't have to devote your life savings to purchasing all 649 Pokemon so you can use them in Pokemon Rumble U. It can be enjoyed with just the virtual toy Pokemon you capture within this eShop exclusive. I can hear your sigh of relief from here, and let me assure you that I feel the same way.
Should we want to, though, we wouldn't have that many Pokemon to purchase. Unlike Skylanders and Disney Infinity, the GameStop exclusive figurines are affordable. It's only $3.99 per character, after all. There are 12 standard figures available in Japan in two series, two special "shiny" figures, and a handful of promotional figures given away at special events in Japan. Placing one of these figures on the Wii U GamePad adds the toy Pokemon they represent to Pokemon Rumble U. If you're jonesing for super-awesome ones, the promotional figures are the strongest of the batch.
But, as I said earlier, they're all optional. Pokemon Rumble U is just like previous installments in that it allows players to capture (toy) Pokemon in-game as they go. Befriend might be a better word for it, however. See, in Pokemon Rumble U, players see the world through the eyes of a lost toy Pokemon. As a gachapon machine was being filled, four capsules fell out and dropped in a river. They floated away, and when the toy Pikachu, Oshwott, Snivy, and Tepig woke up, they were determined to return home to the store.
This is quite a feat for a toy. We've all seen Toy Story, though, so we already know that. To get home, the Pokemon travel through five different places, with 3-4 areas in each. Each area also has at least two stages that must be completed to win. These stages are arena environments where four Pokemon have to face a horde of wild toy Pokemon. In Pokemon Rumble U, that means as many as 100 enemies can be on screen at a time, attacking your toy. The only way to survive is to move fast while also button mashing the attack buttons to use the toy's special moves. Don't worry about PP--this is a beat'em up! Sometimes, special power-ups will appear on the field as well, such as rockets or an item that will increase an ally Pokemon's size. These can be crucial to beating groups of opponents, so run towards one if you see it.
Capturing remains the same as well. Sometimes, when fighting these hordes, a capsule will appear. Inside will be a toy Pokemon who can become your ally if you grab it. Money will also drop, which can be used to change moves and improve Pokemon outside of battles. Each area also has special challenges that, when met, will result in special capsules being dropped. Don't worry if you fail a challenge or miss getting a capsule from an enemy Pokemon, stages can be replayed.
Now, you probably noticed earlier that I said four toy Pokemon appear in every Pokemon Rumble U stage. If you're playing alone, the other three characters will be controlled by the computer. If you have friends nearby, they can pick up Wii Remotes and help fight the good fight. It's mainly cooperative, with players working together to take down enemies. However, some competitive elements are available, as groups can fight to see who can beat or recruit the most toy Pokemon after a battle. Really though, you're all working towards a common goal.
Pokemon Rumble U is coming to the Wii U eShop on August 29, 2013. It'll cost you $17.99. As long as you have a Wii U and a GamePad, you're ready to play. Although, a few of those toy-Pokemon NFC figures might look nice lined up atop your console.
Date: July 29, 2013