In 2016, The Pokemon Company dropped a trailer in Japan for an upcoming mobile game that would use figures for combat. This trailer seemed to have been lost on the rest of the world because when Pokemon Duel appeared in the app store on January 24, everyone seemed to be at the same level of surprise. Pokemon Duel is a strategy-based mobile game in which you collect figures to battle them in an arena all with the goal of capturing an enemies point. The entire game seems to be fusion of a title no one remembers – Pokemon Battling Coin Game – and Pokemon figures.
Figures are categorized from EX to C, with EX being ultra rare and C being common. Figures are collected from an in-game store and can be leveled up by collecting items to fuse into them. For some reason do you keep pulling Pidgeys like Pokemon Go is haunting your every move?
Well instead of turning them into candy, you can fuse them into that Pikachu you are so fond of. The figures really are the main reason to download this game. Not only are they amazingly detailed, but they also look rad as you kick the living crap out of anyone who dares stand in your way.
Sadly, being an interactive figure library is one of the only things Pokemon Duel has going for it, seeing as the actual gameplay is so agonizing it makes me want to destroy my innocent phone. Battles play out on a square with several lanes. Each figure has a different speed and can move that many spaces per turn. The map itself might have an effect that slows that speed. When two figures are facing each other it is time to battle.
Combat plays out through the spinning of the two hidden coins in the figures. Coins have different attacks, abilities, a dodge section, and a miss section. It’s the latter that makes this game both rewarding and unplayable. Rewarding in the fact that if you actually manage to land a hit you are immediately thanking to your lucky stars. However, I have lost many matches in a row because my figure just kept deciding to land on miss. What is the point of pulling a Latios in your first pack if it can just get wrecked repeatedly by the god mode computer that never misses?
The online capabilities in this game are also sorely lacking, especially compared to Yugioh Duel Links – another game that was released within the last 2-weeks – which has a superior online structure by far. The app itself ranges from kinda working to not working at all. Trying to get into a match against the person sitting right next to me is more trouble than it is worth.
However, it’s the increasingly annoying Play mode that takes the cake in this game. I am not sure if you are fighting the computer in Play mode or if you are fighting actual players. Play mode lags as if you are playing a real person but when you in-game with someone they take their turns quickly as if the computer was playing. This leads to the easy battles in the beginning of the game being impossible later on.
So what does all of this mean? Well, Pokemon Duel tends to fall flat on its face. The game did manage to bring me some enjoyment at first, but it all melted into anger by the end. The game is worth checking out if you are that curious. If not, you aren’t missing much.
Gameplay - 6/10
Controls - 5/10
App Stability - 3/10
A Spin and A Miss
In the beginning, Pokemon Duel looks like a fun way to pass the time. However, peel back the layers of painfully balance gameplay and sub-par controls and you will find yet another flash in the pan for the mobile game world. By the time they fix the problems the masses will be on to the next thing.