Nintendo’s mobile efforts won’t get underway until later this year, but that’s not stopping The Pokemon Company, which operates independently, from continuing to experiment.
It’s headed to iOS and Google Play sometime this year, but there’s not much to look forward to. Patricia Hernandez, Kotaku’s resident Pokemon expert, hated the game.
The question then became: would I be willing to a) wait a little while to be able to play a little more or b) spend some money so I could play for a longer chunk of time? Right now, for me, the answer seems to be neither. I’m not super keen on Pokémon Shuffle, even though it’s free, and it’s a perfectly competent match-3 game with some neat mechanics. But when you consider that you can purchase Pokémon Battle Trozei for $7.99 on the eShop, and get the same experiencewithout the hassles that come with a free-to-play game, why would you bother with Pokémon Shuffle? Those seven bucks in Shuffle wouldn’t give you nearly as much mileage as Trozei could.
It is possible to earn jewels via StreetPass—so the option to play the game without spending money does exist. I haven’t been able to get any of those yet, admittedly. But, these options aren’t really a solution to the problem here: while the game is meaty, you can’t play much of it on any single playthrough. From a business standpoint, this design makes sense, sure. Strangely, it even feels like a very Nintendo-like design, given how much they like to remind players that they should take breaks while playing games. Regardless, microtransactions are still really annoying in practice, and they manage to ruin the coolest things that Shuffle has to offer. I just hope that games like Pokémon Shuffle are just the result of Nintendo’s early experiments with microtransactions, and not a sign of things to come.
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