Developer(s) – Genius Soronity
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
PEGI – 3
Pokémon Shuffle is a free-to-play game that I’ve heard many times over as being described as Pokémon meets Candy Crush, and it’s easy to see why. Though it is more enjoyable to play than the aforementioned Candy Crush, It’s a lot more restrictive in comparison to not only that but most other app games as well.
Graphics – 6/10
Since this is essentially an arcade puzzle game, the only emphasis out on visuals is how each section of the game board looks as the game progresses. The idea of which is to give the illusion of it taking place in several different locations, but in a game like this, visuals shouldn’t really take precedent anyway, so I don’t think the game should lose out on too many marks because of this. There is also a basis in visual diversity with the amount of pokémon there are in it from all over the franchise.
Gameplay – 7/10
The game plays out almost identically to the likes of Candy Crush and Bejewelled, but unlike any f these examples, there’s also a fairly strong RPG element to it, in that each pokémon fought can be captured and re-used in different battles and can be leveled up over time. There is also a lot more incentive to playing it than most other app games in this respect as well since there is nothing much to be gained from getting all three stars on a stage other than bragging rights. The problem with this game, however, is that it is indeed a lot more restrictive in the sense that each stage takes a life of the player regardless of whether they win or lose a battle, whereas, in games like Candy Crush, lives are kept if players win a stage. I think that if Nintendo does indeed plan to publish more games like this, they need to ease up on these kinds of restrictions; otherwise, players will begin to lose patience and fast.
Controls – 10/10
These kinds of puzzle games have been in development for over 30 years now, and there would have been some serious problems if Nintendo hadn’t implemented a decent control scheme. The entire genre started to find its feet after it was ported to the original Game Boy, making for even further reason why Nintendo should never have had problems; and so, there aren’t any.
Originality – 4/10
The most original thing about Pokémon Shuffle is how well the RPG element of the Pokémon series has been implemented, and it gives me hope that Nintendo will continue to implement series staples from other franchises into their upcoming smartphone games to differentiate them from others as much as possible. Otherwise, however, it essentially plays out like most other app games, and I think Nintendo needs to do even more to be able to compete with some of the more established app game developers.
In summation, Pokémon Shuffle is not without its charms, but it is far too restrictive in terms of how often it can be played, and it doesn’t do quite enough to distinguish itself from other games of its kind. Perhaps Nintendo will go on to make better games than this for smart devices, but there are far better games out there for the 3DS than this.