Pokémon Rumble Rush

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
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Dull collection app minimizes interactivity, ruins gameplay.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Simplistic gameplay and auto-play button makes the app accessible to all ages. 

Violence & Scariness

The game features fantasy violence between creatures, but there's no blood or gore. Monsters simply vanish when defeated. 

Sexy Stuff

The In-app store is occasionally mentioned during play for various items that can be bought with real money, and progress is easier with purchases. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pokemon Rumble Rush is a free-to-play action game for iOS and Android devices. The game has optional in-app purchases, containing a loading screen banner ad. Its collection-oriented gameplay encourages the purchase of in-app currency (which speeds up progress) and hours of repetitious time with the game as kids try to “catch” all the Pokemon monsters. Combat between monsters happens, but there's no blood or gore shown, and defeated monsters fade from view. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

POKEMON RUMBLE RUSH is a freemium action game based on the popular Pokemon role-playing franchise. Focusing on the series' “catch 'em all” formula, the app boils gameplay down to alternating between combat and upgrades. Players embark on timed “Adventures,” exploring themed maps using preselected types of Pokemon and pitting their Pokemon against AI enemies. Combat occurs within short linear stages, with attacks and dodges performed by tapping and swiping. Pokemon monsters move toward targets automatically, and catching new ones happens instantly. Players earn gold (needed for upgrades) by defeating enemies, and each boss they defeat grants additional gold, feathers (which let players explore new areas of the map) and ore. Once “refined,” (refinement takes between one and ten hours to complete) ore grants currency and useful “Gears” for upgrading Pokemon. Gears come in two varieties: Power Gears that augment Pokemon monsters' abilities, and Summon Gears that give players access to special attacks. In addition to battling the AI, players can go head-to-head in online “encounters,” but the overall object of the game is to collect as many Pokemon as possible within the timed Adventure period. 

Is it any good?

This franchise is fun because it taps into everyone's inner hoarder to show off your collection and “catch 'em all,” but unfortunately, this disappointing mobile app could cure us of that urge. A thin narrative in Pokemon Rumble Rush encourages you to collect Pokemon on behalf of the Adventurers' Club, and feather emblems allow you to explore new areas of the map in search of these creatures. If you're fresh out of feathers, you can revisit areas you've seen before in hopes of catching higher-level Pokemon. Either way though, you're in for some simplistic, snooze-worthy combat. Automatic is the name of the game here, with Pokemon moving on their own and, after the tutorial, attacking on their own. You don't even have to choose which Pokemon to use in battle since the app will do it for you. 

The fun of Pokemon games is twofold: catching Pokemon and analyzing enemies to decide which of your Pokemon are best to defeat them. But this app, for some reason, goes out of its way to remove the fun. First, catching Pokemon doesn't include you at all and happens automatically during combat. Second, an optional pre-combat “recommended Pokemon” button chooses the best Pokemon for each battle so you don't have to. Yes, it's optional, and yes, it could seem useful if you're just learning the ropes, but it removes what little interactivity there is, leaving you with boring house-keeping chores -- namely, deleting excess Gears, Ore, and Pokemon. Despite these limitations, hard-wired Pokemon fans might not be able to resist the urge to collect all the Pokemon games and they could enjoy both the upgrade process and seeing their names on post-Adventure leaderboards. For anyone outside this exclusive circle though, Pokemon Rumble Rush is bound to be an unsatisfying excuse for interactive entertainment that can't be saved by the Pokemon name. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about games that feature an auto-play option. What's the point of interactive entertainment that's not interactive? 

  • How do easy-win apps affect kids' patience and drive when it comes to other things in life? Does it make kids expect that other things they play or interact with will be just as simple?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love collectible creature role-playing games

Themes & Topics

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