Pokémon Rumble Blast is the first Pokémon game for the Nintendo 3DS, but it's not a real Pokémon game any more than the Pokémon Mysterious Dungeon or Pokémon Ranger games are. This is no role-playing game involving turn-based battles and gym trainers.
You're controlling Pokémon directly in this one, collecting some 600 of them in a beat-em-up played from an overhead view. It's an action game. It's something you could inaccurately but provocatively call Pokémon: Diablo. And it's in 3D. Worth getting?
Stephen Totilo, who has been playing Pokémon Rumble Blast for a week, hoping to make his subway rides: I've played most 3DS games, and this one has the best 3D effects I've seen. They're comfortable even with the slider at max and impressively deep, enabling the game world to recede deep below the system's upper screen while ejecting each captured ("befriended") Pokémon up from the screen at the player. But those are the only depths I can praise in a game that could have been special but is a monotonous bore. In theory, you're picking and training the best Pokémon to battle solo or in teams against a variety of classes of enemy Pokémon. In practice you're just tapping the attack button. A lot. For hours on end. The Pokémon Ranger games, which were based on literally drawing circles around Pokémon, had more stimulating gameplay that this.
My vote is NO, unless you know a kid who has high tolerance for dull Pokémon games, in which case, well, he or she is probably under seven and Nintendo recommends those of that age shouldn't play games in 3D, so they'd be missing the best part. So, across the board: NO
Joel Johnson, our obligatory non-player: Here's how out of the loop I am on Pokémon: I had to go to our own website to figure out what Pokémon game was coming out. Now I've discovered it's Rumble Blast, which frankly looks completely boring. I greatly respect the design that goes into the Pokémon series, but the offshoots have never piqued my interest one bit. On the other hand, 3DS owners can't really be too picky right now, and a first-party title shouldn't be ignored.
Still, speaking as the Gut Checker who hasn't played it, I just can't recommend it based on what little I've seen. It looks thin and for die-hards only. NO
Brian Crecente, who has dabbled with PRB: Maybe it's the relative drought of 3DS games informing my opinion, but Pokémon: Rumble Blast is on my short list of games I plan on spending some time with during the long hours of my semi-regular commute to and from New York City this fall. I haven't quite played an hour of this game yet, but what I saw of it I liked. It was a game that had me crawling around dungeons summoning up monsters to do real-time battle for me with an eclectic mix of attacks and powers. It may end up being a little too light, a little too Pokémon for my tastes in the long run, but for now I remain intrigued. YES
Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we'd tell a friend; how we'd respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us "Would you buy this game?"