Pokémon Rumble World is a quirky little action game with a microtransaction scene that almost manages to stay out of the way.

Pokemon Rumble World: Are the Microtransactions Fair?

Pokémon Rumble World is a quirky little action game with a microtransaction scene that almost manages to stay out of the way.
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Pokémon Rumble World — which saw its reveal during the last Nintendo Direct — broke out to the Nintendo 3DS eShop Wednesday, April 8th. Nintendo announced Pokémon Rumble World would be free to start, and similar to Pokémon Shuffle, feature microtransactions to purchase Poké Diamonds used for adventuring with and pampering your collected Pokémon Toys.

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This is Nintendo’s second dive into the wild waters of microtransactions. No matter how upset we are about Nintendo caving into the sweet seductive fragrance that mobile companies cling to ferociously, Nintendo made it happen — and they used one of my favorite franchises as the base of their experiments. It was only a matter of time.

Pokémon Shuffle plays like a Candy Crush Saga clone, so I vowed to my inner Pokémon fan that I would never play it — I’m glad I haven’t caved yet. I’ve seen what Candy Crush Saga does to people first hand, with even my grandfather caught up in the wave.

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When Pokémon Rumble World crashed into the Nintendo Direct, the gameplay stood out to me and I knew I had to try it. Being new to the Pokémon Rumble series, I had no idea what to expect.

What is Pokémon Rumble World?

Pokémon Rumble World is a game based upon the world of Pokémon, but the Pokémon aren’t “real” creatures like they are in the main series. Instead, you collect Pokémon wind-up toys to battle against other toys. Rather than the usual turn-based battle sequences, the toys fight each other in real-time — but each Pokémon toy only has up to two moves (which may determine its type).

Pokemon Rumble World free to play 3ds downloadWhile battling wild Pokémon toys, they will sometimes drop an item and are added to your collection upon pick-up. Pokémon Rumble World boasts the ability to find and collect all 719 Pokémon introduced up through Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. New to the Pokémon Rumble games, Primal Reversion and Mega Evolution join the brawl to aid you in these fast-paced rumbles.

The only method to obtaining more powerful toys is to collect them. Pokémon toys do not have a leveling system, but the same Pokémon can come with higher power ratings and different moves.

The Kingdom of Pokémon Rumble World

The real hook in Pokémon Rumble World is the Gotta Catch ’em All mentality.

After booting up the game and picking which Mii you want to represent your adventures in Pokémon Rumble World, you are greeted by a jealous king. The king envies a magician who visited his castle lately, boasting a hefty 10 Pokémon toys in his collection, when the king only has one: his faithful Pikachu. To prove that he is better than the arrogant magician, he tasks your Mii with finding 11 Pokémon and gives you his Pikachu in good faith.

After collecting a certain amount of Pokémon, you gain an Adventurer Rank for your Mii and can take on harder challenges or unlock new items from the Shop. The higher your Adventurer Rank, the more you can accomplish in your personal Kingdom.

Your Kingdom acts as a central hub world for all of your adventures, where you can participate in between-rumble-activities.

  • Visit the Castle to tackle the King’s Requests for daily Poké Diamonds.
  • Take a gander into the Shop to purchase Hot Air Balloons, Clothing, and further profile customization as well as extra abilities, upgrades, and even Poké Diamonds if you’re running low.
  • Depart on an adventure to catch wild Pokémon toys from the Balloon Stop.
  • Customize your public Profile and Mii settings.
  • Keep track of and release Pokémon you’ve befriended on your Hot Air Balloon adventures.

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At higher Adventurer Ranks, you will unlock more shops and new options for you to fiddle with, making Pokemon Rumble World a truly customizable experience.

Microtransactions – Poké Diamonds Rumble Forth

Pokemon Rumble World free to play 3ds downloadThere are two types of currency in Pokémon Rumble World: (P) and Poké Diamonds — the latter one being harder to earn, and is purchasable with real-world money in the Shop. Poké Diamonds are used in a lot of purchases, everything from new Balloons, to extra Pokémon Housing.

But is it actually necessary to buy Poké Diamonds to progress?

Nintendo may consider Pokémon Rumble World a “free to start” game, but there’s not a lot of need to go out of your way to buy Poké Diamonds. You could always get more by StreetPassing other players, reaching a specific Adventurer Rank, or completing the King’s Requests. However, this sometimes means a bit of waiting — not a lot.

It seems as if Nintendo has hit the nail for a solid game with a fair stance on microtransactions — or about as fair as we’re going to get. It probably won’t make nearly as much money as Pokémon Shuffle, but it certainly feels a lot less shady.

Pokemon Rumble World free to play 3ds download

After Adventure Rank 5, each Balloon has a much longer cooldown between adventures. Though by the time it becomes an issue, you’ll have enough balloons stored up to virtually bypass the cooldown timers. It’s not like there’s any way the game can force you to stop playing. So… it is kind of like any other game in that sense.

At no point during my first few hours with Pokémon Rumble World did I feel like I had to pay for Poké Diamonds to progress, and that’s what makes this game essentially fair.

Have you played Pokémon Rumble World yet?

Pokemon Rumble World free to play 3ds download

Let us know how your adventures in Pokémon Rumble World are shaping up! What do you think of Nintendo’s newest payment scheme? How could Pokémon Rumble World turn out even better? Chat off our ears in the comments bellow!

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Autumn Fish
Autumn is a freelance writer that grew up on GameFAQs walkthroughs trying to suss out how to get through her favorite PC and Nintendo games. These days she's a capable game pioneer, mapping out guides and tips so players of all skill levels can join in on the fun.