Pokemon Rumble Blast review

  • More than 600 Pokemon to collect
  • Lots of moves to choose from
  • Great graphics and soundtrack
  • Boring level design
  • Feels repetitive
  • Gameplay is too simplistic for older fans

The first Pokemon game for 3DS, Pokemon Rumble Blast is a simple beat-em-up-style action game featuring nearly every Pokemon in the series, including all the new Pokemon from Black and White. What it sets out to do it does fairly well. Just by its nature though, this is the type of game that's mostly going to appeal to younger Pokemon trainers only.

Above: The language of battle is universal

To be clear, the actual gameplay in Rumble Blast bears absolutely no resemblance to the main series of Pokemon games. It's a sequel to WiiWare's Pokemon Rumble, and the gameplay remains largely unchanged. You play as a toy version of a Pokemon, beating up other toy Pokemon with two moves mapped to the A and B buttons. Instead of leveling up, you obtain stronger Pokemon by defeating them, and then discard the weaker ones when they're no longer useful.

That's pretty much all there is to it. Different move types add variety to the combat though, and the various moves actually feel distinct, so it's fun to experiment to see which moves you prefer. You can also purchase more powerful moves from vending machines using the in-game currency (P), which gives a welcome element of resource management since most moves are super expensive.

What really brings Rumble Blast down more than anything is the boring level design. Aside from aesthetic differences among level types (beach, tree tops, cave, etc – and even those types repeat frequently), each level is more or less the same, where you just walk forward attacking Pokemon with A and B until you've defeated them all. The end of each level has a boss battle against a giant version of a Pokemon, but even then, most bosses have a nearly identical attack pattern, so it starts to feel repetitive pretty quickly.

The best parts are the Battle Royale arenas at the end of each area, where you duke it out among a crowd of Pokemon until you're the last one standing. It's chaotic, but fun in a cathartic kind of way for those times when you just feel like punching a bunch of Pokemon.

Because a large part of its charm is seeing all our favorite Pokemon in action, Pokemon Rumble Blast will only really appeal to Pokemon fans. It helps that it's pretty too, with or without the 3D turned on (the soundtrack is great too). The problem is that the gameplay itself is too simplistic for more sophisticated Pokemon players who love the series for its deep strategic gameplay. Younger, less discerning Pokemon fans will undoubtedly love it though.

More Info

Available Platforms: 3DS
Franchise: Pokemon


  • patissier - October 31, 2011 2 a.m.

    Purchased the game on day one. Enjoying the game still.
  • Smash_Bro - October 25, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    ...Am I the only hardcore PokeFreak who really likes this game? The original WiiWare version surprised me; I'd end up playing it for 3+ hours at a time. This sequel has been no different (so far). I'm so focused on dodging attacks and attempting to catch the little guys that I don't notice the repetitive qualities. This game has been brought to its knees for being too simplistic, when all we really need to remember is that it's a good ol' time. At least you gave it a fair review! Nevertheless, I think the game deserves a 7.5, at least.
  • jackthemenace - October 25, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    I still want a more adult version of Pokemon, for the older gamers, With a Coliseum style vibe. Older gamers realise that enslaving small animals and forcing them to fight each other is illegal in the REAL world, so why not make a version NOT aimed at children that emphasises that? Underground, illegal poke-battle rings, getting to be on the 'team X' of the game, stuff like that, with a decent, grown up story. Killing pokemon also sounds fun. And I don't mean other peoples.
  • Moondoggie1157 - October 25, 2011 12:57 a.m.

    Personally, I wasn't a fan of the Wii version... but hey, as long as a younger generation of trainers are interested I say full speed ahead! I'll be an old man one day, a cranky old man who won't let you pass unless I've had my coffee. Battling the youngins' with their 1500 Pokemon (by that time, sure). "Catch 'em all Let Oak Sort 'em out" If I am able to catch every Pokemon by the end of this generation or next (legit only) I will get my Pokemon tattoo: "Catch 'em all (pokeball) Let Oak Sort 'em out" Good review!
  • ScottyPippen - October 24, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    " It's chaotic, but fun in a cathartic kind of way for those times when you just feel like punching a bunch of Pokemon." That line by itself almost sold me on this game. I have had that feeling so many times, but without a proper outlet.
  • millarrp - October 24, 2011 8:12 p.m.

    I'm probably going to hold out for a price drop or sale before I pick this game up.
  • GameManiac - October 24, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    I considered picking this game up. I'm still considering if I should or not.
  • emeraldphoenix7 - October 24, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Hey, Carolyn, quick question: has Pokémon Monday been unofficially cancelled, or will it resume once news if the next mainstream PKMN game surfaces? I'd like to know, because it was literally the only thing that I ever looked forwards to on Mondays, and then it suddenly vanished in June with no explanation... Thanks, Sincerely, Pokémaniac EP7
  • GamesRadarCarolynGudmundson - October 25, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    Pokemon Monday will be back in some form soon, but it probably won't be every week like it used to be. So yes, please stay tuned for a new episode within the next month or so. =D
  • emeraldphoenix7 - October 25, 2011 1:48 p.m.

    Th... thank you. I think a tear of joy just ran down my face. Hopefully we'll get some discussion on the rumor the Nintendo registered the domain name pokemongray dot com. I'd love to hear your and Henry's thoughts on it!
  • losthero15 - October 24, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    I agree that the original game iwas boring on your own. But in a room with 3 friends fighting over who gets to use the new super powerful poke you just got and trying to have the most kills at the end of a level made the game alot more fun. I would assume the same holds true here
  • shawksta - October 24, 2011 6:36 p.m.

    Awesome review Carolyn,again in the same day. I actually liked the Original Wiiware game, sure its repetitive but to me atleast it was fun to control the pokemon outside Turn based but it can do more and be better. With that said, this sequel adds ALL Generations, plus new modes like the huge group assault, I think you can agree that if someone like me, enjoyed the original, they'll love the sequel correct?
  • GamesRadarCarolynGudmundson - October 24, 2011 6:41 p.m.

    Yup, I would agree with that! I enjoyed Rumble Blast for what it is, and I liked the original WiiWare one a lot too. Rumble Blast is quite a bit longer than Rumble, so some of the issues with repetitiveness are a little more apparent here, but at the same time it's not necessarily a bad thing that it's longer either. It's not a game you'd want to play for hours at a time, but playing it here and there is still quite fun.
  • shawksta - October 24, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    Awesome, I had no problem with the repetitiveness, my only complaint was that the only thing it was is just to be stronger and be the best higher up pokemon. With Rumble Blast having Story, and new modes that are different,and is overall much Bigger, this is just what I needed as a sequel. Definitly picking this up.

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