hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Pokemon Rumble Blast

Review: Pokémon Rumble Blast

5:00 PM on 10.24.2011 // Jim Sterling

Pokémon Rumble was launched on WiiWare in 2009 and apparently did well enough to justify a retail appearance. Pokémon Rumble Blast is the mildly anticipated sequel and first official Pokémon game to come to the Nintendo 3DS -- not counting the Pokédex that was offered as a free download earlier this year. 

One would assume that the legendary franchise's first appearance on a Nintendo system would be a red carpet affair. It is not.

Pokémon Rumble Blast (Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: Ambrella
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: October 24, 2011
MSRP: $39.99

Pokémon Rumble Blast changes little from its WiiWare predecessor. Taking place in a world where Pokémon toys are living creatures in their own right (because of reasons), it's a top-down dungeon crawling affair that shares quite a few things in common with mindless arcade titles like Smash TV and hack n' slash RPGs such as Diablo, only simplified to a rudimentary degree. 

Simple perhaps doesn't begin to explain exactly how bereft of complication Rumble Blast is, because it's as basic as basic gets. The thrust of the game is in mashing one or two buttons to perform singular attacks against marauding Pokémon who are ostensibly doing the game thing. Each Pokémon has a power level to determine its general combat strength, as well as its own set of moves -- and by "set" I mean up to two because no monster can have more. When defeated, there's a chance that enemies will remain on the field as collectible toys which can be collected to grant the player control of that particular monster. This achieves the "gotta catch 'em all" philosophy of the Pokémon games, albeit in an incredibly shallow way. More than usual, at any rate. 

Once collected, a Pokémon cannot be leveled up at all, so the only way to improve one's chances of beating tougher opponents is to collect new Pokémon. While this ensures that players are constantly switching their characters, it also means that there's no point getting attached to a single creature. One can use in-game coins to buy new moves for their Pokémon, there's no point because you'll rarely be keeping a roster of characters for more than one dungeon. 

Speaking of moves, some Pokémon will remain worthless regardless of power level thanks to whatever attacks they randomly possess. A staggering amount of attacks are horrible, forcing Pokémon into lengthy animations that often send them directly into the path of enemy assaults. It soon becomes apparent that projectile-based attacks are the most useful since they don't place player characters in danger, which ultimately turns Rumble Blast into one of the slowest shooters on the planet. It doesn't help that the vague auto-targeting is slightly off, so attacks miss as often as they hit. 

The brainless button mashing is certainly not the most unpleasant of experiences, but it's thoroughly pointless. This is hammered home by the fact that there is almost zero variety to be had, with a dreary formula that plays out repeatedly during the course of the game. You visit a dungeon, hit the same button over and over again across several floors, then fight a large boss. This happens over and over again until you fulfill some arbitrary requirement to take on a Battle Royale. In a Battle Royale, you fight against yet another swarm of Pokémon with a time limit in place. Once you win a Battle Royale, the game acts like a broken record and skips back to the beginning, expecting players to do it all over again on a slightly different map. 

The only other battle variant is the "Team Battle" which lets you choose two CPU-controlled allies from your roster and progress through a sequence of rooms. It's still exactly the same type of combat, exactly the same type of formula, just with two idiot Pokémon getting themselves killed all the time.

The only thing driving the player forward is some inane story about healing "Glowdrops" being stolen from fountains. I'll be honest, I did not will myself to draw this story out to its conclusion, but I will bet real money that the story ends by having our randomly collected heroes traipse their way through a dungeon that looks fairly similar to the dozens of other dungeons before fighting a boss and recovering the Glowdrops. For bonus points I'll bet the bad guy was good at heart. 

Every now and then, the bitter cycle of vapid combat is broken up by some random inanity, such as "Charge" sequences. In a charge, you gather your whole collection of Pokémon and use them to bust through enemy defenses by hammering a single button and watching the canned animation repeat itself several times. There's also a Street Pass feature in which other 3DS owners can visit your game and give money, or provide new Pokémon to battle. It's a neat little extra, but nothing astounding. Later in the game, you can also fill a meter that temporarily allows you to mash three Pokémon together. In this state, they'll recharge health and do more damage, though the boost isn't significant enough to be anything special. 

That's pretty much what Pokémon Rumble Blast is from beginning to end -- nothing special. It looks fairly pretty and the game is decently put together, but it's barely even a videogame when you truly consider what it offers. With a combat system that's hollow even by brawler standards and a structure so blatantly circular that even gullible children would soon detect the pattern, Rumble Blast is a game that not even ardent fans should bother with. In a world crammed full of lackadaisical Pokémon cash-in products, this is up there with the laziest and I struggle to summon up any feelings for the experience outside of cold indifference. 

Going to sleep is a more interesting prospect than playing this exercise in insignificance.



Pokemon Rumble Blast - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I really wish MGO had been implemented with free-roam gameplay PMC (clan) setup instead of the standard matchmaking. Imagine roaming bands of PMC's opposing each other on the battlefield. How sexy would that be?
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Pokemon Rumble Blast

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -