I've been trying to get through all the downloaded games that have been sitting on my 3DS, so I spent some more time with yet another Pokemon Rumble game, this one called Pokemon Rumble World. Although the game is a free-to-start downloadable game, it was was also given a retail release, which is a bit unusual. This one is the fourth in the series (I skipped over the Wii U release, although I've dipped into that as well), although from a few feet away it's pretty hard to tell the games apart as they're all extremely similar.

Unsurprisingly this game is most similar to its 3DS predecessor, Pokemon Rumble Blast, which I spent some time slogging through last year. Both games feature the same beat-'em-up-like mechanics which consist of collecting little toy Pokemon that you send on short stages where you have a chance of collecting other Pokemon you defeat. Each stage ends with a boss encounter, but it's basically more of the same. The stages have minimal differences and are bland, and the action is extremely repetitive and mindless. The developers have gone to a lot of effort to come up with beat-'em-up analogues for every move in the main games, although a lot of them are unwieldy or pretty useless in this context. Both games also mix things up a bit with arena "free for all" brawl challenges, in which you battle against a large group of Pokemon all at once.

Pokemon Rumble World adds in a few wrinkles, most of which are for the worse. One is that it introduces balloons which you have to buy with the in-game currency in order to visit stages that are home to particular Pokemon. You can only use a balloon after a certain amount of real-world time has elapsed, which is a familiar but annoying free-to-play mechanic. "Poke Diamonds" are the in-game currency that you have to pay real money for in order to unlock everything in the game. The download game maxes this currency at 30 real dollars and after that apparently you get a number of free diamonds a day, which seems like an extremely awkward combination of free-to-play mechanics with a regular paid game.

The game includes the Pokemon from the then-most recent generation of games (Generation VI, which included Pokemon X and Y), and also some of the mechanics introduced in those games, namely mega evolutions and the fairy type, which may get some people excited. It also introduces mission challenges which make things a little more interesting (which isn't saying much since the core game is so boring) since they add challenge that's really not seen in the rest of the game. It also puts a bit of focus on the social element, as you can earn costumes and backgrounds for your Mii and your Mii profile card. Profile cards are exchanged via StreetPass and include various stats such as play time.

All in all this is basically just a free-to-start version of Pokemon Rumble Blast, and I can't imagine anyone but the most hardcore Pokemon fan would be interested in playing both extensively. The Pokemon Rumble formula has long worn out its welcome for me, but I suppose this free-to-start iteration was released in order to attract new people to this Pokemon spin-off series. I can't say I'm particularly looking forward to playing more of these games, but I guess there are worse games in the world.

Some mindless Pokemon Rumble World links:
- Official site
- Entry at Bulbapedia, which includes passwords
- Page on Miiverse
- FAQ at GameFAQs
- Review at NintendoLife
- Entry at Metacritic