Before I went out of town this weekend I went down to my local library to see what kind of 3DS games they had. What I was really looking for was Fire Emblem: Birthright and for the past couple of weeks every time I visited the library it was there. But of course this time, when I actually wanted to play, it was checked out. Go figure.
So I instead opted for Pokemon Rumble World because it looked sort of interesting. I remember downloading it once out of curiosity, it’s a free to play title on the 3DS complete with micro transactions and mobile-esque timers. But i remember it being kind of fun, a super easy action RPG with Pokemon. Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know what the retail version was like. Ever since Pokemon Mystery Dungeon I’ve enjoyed the Pokemon spin-off games a little more than the main ones. Nevertheless, It was a really strange experience.
Like most mobile games it hooks you in with easy but fun gameplay. Your Pokemon has one or two moves and you go around beating up hordes of other Pokemon. THere are different balloons you can buy which are basically packs of Pokemon and dungeons that you can enter. They either drop some coins or a collectable version of themselves that you can then play as. There’s the same arbitrary power ranking like in Pokemon Go. associated with every Pokemon drop. At the end of the dungeon there’s a boss a bigger more powerful Pokemon that will either drop a lot of coins or a supped up Pokemon. the dungeons take between 2-3 minutes and afterwards the balloon goes on a timer to inflate. Of course you can always bypass that by using the premium currencey. There are also challenges you can do to get some diamonds and of course you can annoy your friends with requests to play to get more diamonds
The game gives you 3,000 Pokediamonds, the premium currency, and a diamond mine that you can use once a day to get 40 diamonds. This is actually pretty good considering it only takes one diamond to inflate a balloon and only a few diamonds for special upgrades like better Pokemon drops and faster Pokemon. At first the game seems kind of predatory. Some of the timers are 4 plus hours with the shortest ones being 20 minutes. But what I found most interesting is that even if you play the free version you can only ever buy 3,000 diamonds or whats included in the retail version. After which the game gives you a diamond mine same as the retail version and you can’t buy any more.
I’ve never heard of a pay cap on a free to play game, you would think that limiting the amount of money you can extract from each user wouldn’t be great for your bottom line. But it is great for the player especially when we are seeing more and more games who rely on the “whales” and the players with less financial self control to turn a profit. I’d like to see more of this kind of business model who knows maybe what’s good for the players can also be good for the companies as well.
It turns out Pokemon Rumble World was good for my 3 hour road trip. It’s a great time waster but the charm wears off after a couple of hours. It turns into the same repetitive, non challenging game play and collect-a-thon. Which is great for scratching a grinding itch if you have one. One thing is for sure, there are a lot of Pokemon. In my short time with the game i managed to collect 191 of them, that still leaves over 500 more to go.