By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Yes, I admit to having an obsession with Pokémon Shuffle. It’s colourful and cute. I play it far too many times during the day trying to catch that pesky Genesect. The many fauna created since this franchise’s inception just keeps growing and I have to wonder if the world is going to explode from overpopulation. The concept of gotta catch ’em all really works for this game because once a Pokémon is caught, he or she can be used to make an earlier stage feel like a breeze to S rank. That is, to defeat a certain number of moves.
The music is feel good and there’s a track which reminds me of Spongebob SquarePants. When I want to get silly and start surfing to find water Pokémon, I visit these stages to play again until all those levels are ranked. A new patch released early this week adds more goodness and enhancements to the game’s early stages less boring to play. There are goals to reach. With this update, a lot of information is presented. All the data now available to find can be overwhelming, but they are included to make both the 3DS and mobile version look the same. The data junkie in me approves.
Players can bounce between encounter areas easier, get stats on each or how many Pokémon are captured and know how much experience is earned when a level is defeated. When fighting, there’s now an extra option to list all the best warriors to select from to defeat the opponent. When selecting an individual warrior, the current level and amount of experience needed to achieve the next is displayed.
The mechanics remain the same. These extra guides only help fill a problem area stats gurus like me are coveting. They helped me figure out which Pokémon must get caught first and others to leave for later. Before this update, I had to guess and rely on online guides. Coins do not necessarily have to be spent on power-ups or to catch them with a Mega Pokéball.
Instead of the usual weekly creature to defeat or jungle hunt, there’s a survival mode and mission cards in this revised game to toughen trainers. In the former, the gameplay requires players to select their best Pokémon and fight until his or her team is defeated. Power-ups can be used between fights to ensure success. To reach level ten is not as easy as selecting the best maxed out Pokémon to do a hit and run, which was what I tried to do. I did not get far that way and later decided one Pokémon from the primary elements from earth, wind and fire. Representation of the best types is needed to fight a variety of opponents. Once the player selects his or her best four, they keep on fighting until defeated. The game allows you to take breaks for resting between waves of combat but does not let you exit. Three hearts are consumed to enter this combat mode.
Mission cards give players the opportunity to replay the simpler levels on a quest to gain a variety of power-ups and stars. The latter are like coins and once enough is acquired, mega starts or evolution stones are awarded. However, if the player has that stone already, a jewel is given instead. This diversity helps make replaying the easier levels seem tougher and give a bit more diversity in what this game offers. When considering levels 250 and higher are tougher to beat, some players may well consider retiring this game. Fortunately, with this game update, playing the lower levels give easy challenges to figure out. At the time of writing, I’m still plugging away as mission card two and only managed to succeed at two-thirds of the goals. Two of the eight are not that easy to achieve!
When concerning micro-transactions, dishing out money to purchase in-game items like power-ups or extra moves, Nintendo now offers bonuses as an incentive to spend actual cash. Depending on the amount purchased, the number of hearts (moves) get can get bumped up to two and extra coinage during daily check-in is increased. Not everyone will want to shell out real cash for the game though. When doing the math, a daily check-in at 300 coins each day nets 9000 a month. Add the regular bonus of 1000 every ten days, 12000 coins can be accrued. Die-hard Trainers can hit stage 37, where Meowth lurks, to pick up extra coins whenever needed (he drops 300-500 coins) or wait until Saturday where the daily slots can be played with that version of the Meowth where from 500 to 1500 (my maximum strike) can be hit. Sadly, this game depends on coins to acquire power-ups to defeat really tough stages. Most of them require a combination of luck and knowing how the Pokemon tiles will land.
With this game, you’re not going to catch them all in one day. Patience is key to an ever evolving game.