Hindsight Review #1 – Super Pokémon Rumble

It’s been a while since we introduced a new segment on 3DSBlessed, so here’s a fresh one for you to sink your teeth into ; Hindsight Reviews. 3DSBlessed was launched in 2013, two years after the console’s launch. Reviews on the site have, thus far, all focused on new releases (so have covered games from 2013/14), but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe that older games in the 3DS’ library still deserve attention! Hence this segment aims to readdress the balance…

The first game to have the spotlight re-shone on it is Super Pokémon Rumble (known as Pokémon Rumble Blast in the United States). Developed by Ambrella, it was released in December 2011. It is part of a Pokémon spin-off series, having been predated by the WiiWare title Pokémon Rumble, and succeeded by Pokémon Rumble U on the Wii U.

In stark contrast to main series games ; SPR allows you to traverse the game’s various worlds as your choice of Pokémon, without need for a trainer to mediate the action. A few quick button presses allows you to quickly change your Pokémon for another should you get bored (of if your Pokémon happens to faint). Battles take place in real-time, which is a huge selling point for this game and something the main series badly needs to catch up with. The action is fast-paced and satisfying ; there’s nothing like charging into an army of intimidating Claydols and knocking them all out with your tiny Tepig!

 

The Super Pokémon Rumble box-art

The Super Pokémon Rumble box-art

 

The sheer variety of Pokémon on show is very impressive (although, with the release of X and Y, now slightly outdated). There are a massive 712 Pokémon to collect (the UNOWN are treated as 28 separate entities) with the Legendaries proving particularly tricky to get (but very rewarding if you manage to as they have great stats). To Pokémon fans such as myself who love filling up their Pokédex this is the next big thing the game really has going for it. I’ve had the game since its release and still haven’t quite managed to catch ‘em all!

While the pursuit can be, and often is, enjoyable, this leads into one of my major gripes with the game : the need for grinding. Legendaries appear randomly at the end of certain levels, and the odds of them appearing are just 5% (with many containing pre-requisites for appearing such as the completion of the game). Sometimes you’ll get lucky and a Legendary will pop up without you even expecting it (I was able to catch many a Latias in this way). Other times you’ll be unlucky and fail to find that Lugia you so dearly want despite having dashed through a beach with your Speedy Rapidash for what feels like hundreds of times. Mucho frustration!

Another issue is the presentation in certain places. While the main cutscenes and in-level menus look fantastic, the standards can slip elsewhere in surprising ways. The worst example of this is during the battle sections where the font choice for the text announcing the battle is a tacky, blocky 3D affair that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a late 1990s Angelfire page. This laziness can also be seen in many of the cutscenes, with a 3D appearance that looks nothing if not amateur.

 

SPR will pit you against some of the most bad-ass Pokémon from Generations 1 - 5

SPR will pit you against some of the most bad-ass Pokémon from Generations 1 – 5

 

That said, the graphics used in the main game have clearly had a whole heap of time invested in them. All 712 playable Pokémon have been given little 3D models in the style of wind-up toys, and look simply adorable! The special effects generated when they execute a move demonstrate similar attention to detail. The environs themselves aren’t ground-breaking, they almost look as if they would be better suited to a DS title. But they’re good enough.

You won’t be buying this game for its stellar soundtrack ; its fair to describe the music as decidedly average. That said, it’s pleasant enough. Tracks are upbeat and have an electronic, 80s feel to them. I must warn you that the same tracks are often used on multiple levels, and they do become very irritating after a while, so I’d recommend making a playlist of songs you like on your PC and listening to that while playing the game with the volume down.

In conclusion ; yes this game is flawed. The graphics need more work, the audio could take more risks, and the gameplay badly needs more variation (because the need to grind on this level is just not acceptable in this day and age). That said ; I absolutely adore Super Pokémon Rumble and regard it as one of my favourite 3DS games to date (something demonstrated in my console’s Activity Log Charts, where it clocks in at no.3, with 90 hours play to date). That it allows Pokébattles to take place in real-time is a dream come true, and its execution is just so darn entertaining I can never go for too long without firing up my cart.

 

Gameplay is frantic yet cute...

Gameplay is frantic yet cute…

 

With the Final Fantasy franchise (which inspired the original Pokémon games) turning towards real-time battles, plus the technical prowess of current Nintendo consoles, GameFreak have absolutely no excuse for retaining its draconian turn-based battle system. If this title does nothing else it demonstrates that at the very least.

Many who criticise SPR say that, despite its impressive Pokémon roster, its flaws and limited scope mean it would have been more suitable as a mere eShop title, as opposed to the full retail release it was. With a longevity spanning over 100 hours I’m not sure I agree with this. In any case, now it’s been around for more than 2 years it can be obtained from places like Ebay and Amazon very cheaply. So don’t miss out if you’re a 3DS-playing Pokémaniac and this gem is still missing from your collection!

I originally reviewed this on PlusXP in 2012 and gave it a 6/10. As this is a hindsight review I feel I can score the game slightly differently. I can, for example, take into account the impact it’s had on me over the years (which was what spurned me to write this whole new review on the game). This is a title that’s certainly kept me coming back for me. Hence this time I will be giving Super Pokémon Rumble a 7/10.

Final Score : 7/10

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  • James says:

    It was a pretty fun game, I should go back and complete it at some point. I think the grinding put me off too. It wasn’t fun having to give up a pokemon because you found a better version of it. That’s basically going against everything Pokemon stands for, no? To train them and be the very best…. Still wind up toy pokemon are fantastic! 😀

    • helenbaby says:

      Yea I didn’t like the fact I had to keep disregarding my favorites either. But the more I played it the more I got used to it, guess it was just an essential game mechanic really (otherwise alot more work would have needed to go into it)! I’m on one of final battles (EX-5?) and annoyed that I’m going to have to assemble a team of Legendaries that are better than all the Legendaries I currently have if I’ve got any chance of winning… but I’m proud of myself for getting this far and I really -want- to beat this game! (its rare for me to feel like that).
      I really enjoy Super Pokémon Rumble. Moreso than X/Y I’d say. I’m so tired of turn-based Pokémon battles… My dream Pokémon game would pretty much be this, but without the flaws and with a levelling up system

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