What a world. A mere couple of years ago, the suggestion that we’d ever see a major Nintendo franchise like Pokémon on mobile was laughable. Flash forward to today, and suddenly the App Store is asking us, “Hey, who wants to poke at some disembodied Pokémon heads?”
Said heads belong to Pokémon Shuffle, a match-three puzzle / battle game from The Pokémon Company. The game hit the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year (as a free-to-play title, which is the formula this iOS iteration subscribes to as well), but it’s really at home on mobile, where puzzle / battle games roam and breed freely.
The mechanics are simple: Fight wild Pokémon by lining up three or more identical Pokémon heads on the match-three grid. Traditional Pokémon type advantages are in play: Electric types trump flying types, flying types trump bug types, and whatnot.
When you clear a stage, you have a chance to capture the Pokémon you tussled with. You can increase your rate of capture by using coins to purchase Great Balls (you in the back — stop snickering). Coins can be earned in-game, but they can also be purchased via microtransactions. Welcome to the world of freemium, Nintendo.