When you read the words ‘Pokemon’, ‘3DS’ and ‘free’ in the same sentence, it’s perfectly acceptable to jump for joy and dance like a Thriller zombie on Wonka bars. Announced at yesterday’s Nintendo direct, it’s a match-three puzzle game similar to Bejeweled or Candy Crush, but the boring jewels or squishy candies are replaced by the faces of cute little Pokemon.
However, Nintendo showed that it wasn’t just an aesthetic change while describing the game. There will be a limited number of moves, requiring the player to think ahead before matching Pokemon up if they want to maximize their combos. The Pokemon will also level up and some will Mega Evolve and function as one of those match-three ‘bombs’ during gameplay.
It sounds like a Godsend for Pokemon fans, being free and having cute Pokemon into the bargain. The slightly less good news? It’s free-to-play, with microtransactions. Gamers can play for five sessions at a time, but once those are depleted they’ll have to wait a set time before they can play again. Or, if they’re that addicted, in-game microtransactions will allow them to keep playing. It sounds a bit troubling that microtransactions are being introduced to the 3DS, but let’s hope 3DS owners will be able to control their addiction better than the powerless smartphone ones.
Pokemon Shuffle will come to the 3DS eShop in February.