Pok?mon Shuffle’s microtransactions are even worse than I thought

Initial impressions

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I just obtained my review copy for the upcoming 3DS match-three puzzler Pokémon Shuffle, and man, is it rough to get on-board with this microtransaction scheme. If you want the full rundown of what to expect you can read this article, but the gist is that it features both power-ups and an energy mechanic.

You’ll start with five “Hearts,” — one of Shuffle‘s in-game currencies — and win or lose, each stage takes one Heart to play. Hearts take 30 minutes to refill, and since I haven’t been able to get the StreetPass functionality to refill limited Hearts working yet, I’ve been waiting a lot. Within 15 minutes after the first five tutorial stages, I was waiting 30 minutes to play again. Not good. 

But, that’s not the worst of it. 

You see, each stage features a new Pokémon character like Bulbasaur or Eevee to catch. It is possible to beat the stage and be done with it; but, to actually catch the Pokémon and use it in your party, you have a percentage chance to nab it depending on how well you match. Even if you do great on some stages, the percentage still isn’t always going to be 100%.

In fact, some very early Pokémon with a decent run were already bottoming out at a 44% capture rate. I hope you like waiting and replaying. Of course, you can pay 2500 Coins for a Great Ball (one premium currency $1 Gem translates to 3000 Coins) to catch it automatically. That’s almost a dollar per Pokémon you want guaranteed, which is unfortunate because Coins don’t come easy.

Pokémon Shuffle wants you to catch ’em all, because then you can use their abilities and elemental strengths against stronger foes.  You’ll basically need to capture tougher Pokémon by paying for a Great Ball or using tons of hearts to brute force it.

I need to play more to get the full picture, but it isn’t looking great so far. It’s such a shame because Shuffle is actually really fun at its core — whenever you’re allowed to actually play it.


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Chris Carter
Managing Editor - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step in January of 2009 blogging on the site. Now, he's staff!