The Pokémon game series is one of the best known gaming franchises in the world. Over 260 million Pokémon games have been sold across the globe, it has spawned an official trading card game (which has in turn sold over 21 billion cards in 10 different languages), while over 800 episodes of the Pokémon animated series have aired, and over a dozen feature-length Pokémon films have seen release. But what’s even more impressive than Pokémon‘s massive success is the fact that the series has mostly been almost solely on Nintendo consoles.
While it is true that certain offerings such as the official Pokédex (on iOS) and the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (Windows, Mac and iOS) have been offered on non-Nintendo platforms, generally speaking, Pokémon fans have had to buy a Nintendo console to gain access to the core installments of the franchise. This has constantly been a huge selling point for Nintendo’s consoles as even when the Wii U and the 3DS miss their sales targets, Nintendo is always be able to count on the ‘pocket monsters’ to help them shift extra units.
But recently Nintendo has chosen to embrace other platforms, having announced a partnership with DeNA to make smartphone games, in a move that could help introduce mobile gamers to iconic Nintendo franchises. So it may seem unsurprising that The Pokémon Company (the company responsible for Pokémon marketing and licensing) is also making a bold move by releasing Pokémon Shuffle as a free to play game on iOS and Android devices after it was previously exclusive to the 3DS.
Looking at the trailer, Pokémon Shuffle Mobile doesn’t appear to be massively different to the 3DS version of the game. Just like on Nintendo’s handheld, Pokémon Shuffle Mobile allows players to match three or more Pokémon together which in turn adds points to their score and it also results in an attack on a pocket monsters at the top of the screen. The aim of the game is to use combos, as well as knowledge about the different Pokémon types (matches of Fire-types are effective against Grass-types and so on), to knock the Pokémon’s HP (health points) down and capture them, adding them to a player’s collection. Players can also level up their captured Pokémon so that they become ‘Mega-Evolved’.
However, what the trailer doesn’t point out is that Pokémon Shuffle Mobile uses a ‘move’ system similar to Candy Crush Saga, as once players run out they will be unable to continue. Furthermore, it’s also unclear whether or not Pokémon Shuffle Mobile will use regenerating ‘hearts’, which are essentially tokens that players must cash in to play (one heart equals one round of play). When Pokémon Shuffle launched on 3DS this was a source of controversy, as players were frustrated that hearts and extra moves were so expensive, so it will be interesting to see how (or even if) that will be addressed here.
Pokémon Shuffle Mobile will launch on iOS and Android devices later this year.