Pocket Rumble Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Cardboard Robot Games

Publisher: Chucklefish Games 

Release Date: Out Now

Price as of Article: $9,99 USD, £6.99 GBP

Game code provided by Chucklfish for review

Intro

Pocket Rumble was built with simplicity in mind but that doesn’t mean it has not got depth. It was developed to be a streamlined game, inspired by SNK’s classic fighters which appeared on the NEO GEO. Pocket Rumble has been in development since 2013 and had a successful kickstarter back in 2014. In 2016 there was the chance for early access for the game and now in 2018 we finally have Pocket Rumble on the Nintendo EShop. Is this back to basics fighting game worth your hard earned cash though? Let’s find out…

Gameplay

Pocket Rumble boasts a number of features to make it accessible to both the casual player and the more hardcore player who wants to go further in-depth. I am not sure it quite satisfies the latter to the degree that a hardcore player would want but I would suggest to try it first. The game uses just two buttons and there is 8 characters to choose from. Special moves are pulled off very simply with no complex joy stick inputs. Gone are the days where people are struggling to pull off those dragon punches in Street Fighter. Here you can pull off specials with no difficulty, press A and hold diagonal down and your pulling off fireballs in no time. There is even a frame data bar and indicators to help players understand fighting mechanics and how certain moves work which is welcome for those keen to get further into Pocket Rumble.

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The combos are kept super short and can be cancelled out quite simply. There is handy training and lessons for each character so you can get to know their moves better. Tenchi for me was one of the easiest characters to use and I found was a pleasure to play. He seems fairly well balanced and I liked how easy it was to pull off the special moves, either a fireball, some sort of fire horns or a backflip kick, all easy to do. My overall number one and go to was definitely June, I just loved how versatile her moves were and how devastating you could be with her. I found playing online that many would choose Tenchi and then spam fireballs which could get annoying but the joy is beating those players!

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The cool thing is how simple the health bar works and is very easy to understand for all level of gamers. Each characters health bar is made up of 12 chunks with one hit taking a chunk or a special move taking more chunks from the opponent as well as combos of course. Each character also has their very own special meter. So for example, if Tenchi keeps pulling off special moves using his energy then his bar fills up quite quickly. Once full you can pull off a super special move, like a fireball that does excessive damage.  I loved how simple all this is as it really is quite refreshing from all those complex fighters you may have played in the past.

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Different characters had differing special moves. Quinn, for example, has a bar which when full, he can turn into a Werewolf but this is a one-off use in the round and the bar cannot be refilled. The power for Quinn, if used at the right time, can cause serious damage but’s it’s never really unfair because if you can get one hit in then it takes Quinn out of his Werewolf state. Other characters are more complex but equally fun to use.

Parker, for example, can use electricity to leave an energy ball on the screen, then if he makes a second energy ball, and the opponent is unlucky enough to be in between both, electricity will flow between the two electrifying the opponent which is super fun. I also really liked June who is the undead and likes to get inside her opponents to damage them, as well as having all sorts of cool moves. There is a character here that you will no doubt take to straight away especially if you like exploding cats… Keiko I am looking at you!

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Each fight feels nicely balanced with each character doesn’t feel vastly over-powered. Figure out their moves and timings, using block when needed, jumps and straightforward cancel system and you will be on a good footing to become decent a Pocket Rumbler.

There is a host of modes too which will keep those that are competitive occupied. There is ranked matches online or you can invite a friend to play from your friend’s list which is really handy. The best thing about online is that GGPO is used for a near flawless experience, which in fighting games is absolutely paramount so that the dreaded lag doesn’t appear.

There is a rankings table which will be perfect for those wanting to conquer the Pocket Rumble world. There is also an arcade mode, Vs CPU mode and Vs player and career mode. With a training and lessons mode designed to get you used to the mechanics of the game. So the game does cater for solo players.

The game is really fun to play, especially against your friends, and ultimately these types of games are always about getting one over on a good mate, Sister, Brother, partner or any member of the family who is into games and even if they are not this is a nice and simple one to get them started.  Beating strangers online may be your bag and if it is this game caters for it.

Pocket Rumble allows for a player to each use a Joycon and using the switch in tabletop mode is a pleasure. Being a game called Pocket Rumble it would be criminal if HD Rumble wasn’t used and I am glad to report it works nicely here.

Visuals and Performance

Visually Pocket Rumble hones that classic look from the Neo Geo days and the fighters look great. The animations of their moves are imaginative and each character is unique which I really appreciated. Like when Quinn turns into a werewolf as it gave me Altered Beast vibes and June has some awesome looking undead moves with skeleton heads flying across the screen and using her hair to block. The levels themselves are really pleasant looking with moving objects in the background and a lovely use of colour. The visuals are, in my view, fantastic in this game. The performance was ultra smooth with no issues that I noticed.

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Audio

The audio has a collection of tunes which again is reminiscent of fighting games of old. Enjoyable but nothing hugely memorable. Sound effects are rather basic and it wasn’t the strongest point of the game for me but good enough to carry the game along.

Value

Pocket Rumble is £6,99 folks or 10 dollars. Quite frankly the amount of fun you are going to have for this money is well worth the investment. The fighting is short and fun, great for quick bursts on your own or matches against friends. There will be plenty of games played if you can get others involved and having the ability to invite a friend online is a huge bonus for a game of this price. It really is fully fledged for this money.

The developer is also bringing further DLC with a new character being introduced to the rooster so the game will be supported which is great news at this price as it shows the developers really love this game. Bosses are also going to be added which is something I am very much looking forward too!

Pros

P

Smooth gameplay

P

So Cheap

P

Lots of modes to keep you occupied including online

Cons

P

Solo modes are a little short

P

Audio slightly misses the mark.