Pokémon Battle Trozei
Developer: Genius Sonority
Platform: 3DS (Nintendo eShop)
Release Date: 3/20/14
I should preface this review by saying that I am a big Pokémon fan. I started back in the Game Boy Advance days with collecting and battling Pokémon. But, I can’t claim to have played any of the spin-off games. When Pokémon Battle Trozei was announced, it peaked my interest as a Pokémon puzzle game, and gave me a chance to try something new on my 3DS. Now after having played it, I can say that I had a good amount of fun with the game. It definitely earned its place on my 3DS as a game for killing a few seconds.
The main structure of the game, being a smaller downloadable title, is menu-based Zones with each Zone having multiple Stages. It feels pretty barebones, but it fits the time-killer theme and gets you to the core game without needless animations or loading. In fact, the speed it takes to go from launching the game to playing a stage is one of my favorite features of the title.
At its core, Pokémon Battle Trozei seems fairly simple to get into. It doesn’t take long for the game to start getting complex though, and that complexity takes some getting used to. Luckily, there are optional tutorials to help get your feet wet before you jump in, and the first Zone does a good job of aiding the player in understanding how to play the game. This game also has a multiplayer feature, but it couldn’t be tested as it is local only.
The goal of each stage is to deal enough damage to the attacking Pokémon to capture it as a Trozei and add it to your collection. Later in the game, you can pick support Pokémon from your collection to appear in the Trozei Box. Some Trozei also have abilities like repairing your Box or healing you.
Each Trozei has a type based on the corresponding Pokémon, and combos can be super effective or not very effective. This can be annoying with Pokémon that are dual-type in the main games. Sometimes, these Trozei don’t have the type you expect and it is possible to forget what type there are until you use it. This can also be frustrating when different combos get used on accident, especially for non-effective attacks.
Aesthetically, Pokémon Battle Trozei is very cutesy, both in sound and visual design. The soundtrack is clean and nice to listen to, although some songs repeat frequently. Sound effects are nice and fitting as well, ranging from match chimes to attack sounds to low health warnings.
The designs of the Trozei look great with all 718 Pokémon (including male and female variants of certain Pokémon and different Pokémon forms) being represented well in a small circular space. In some cases though, Trozei can look too similar and it can be hard to differentiate quickly. If you want to build the biggest combos, you need to be able to react and similar-looking Trozeis don’t help. As far as the entire HUD, it was difficult to stop focusing only on the bottom screen. You need to be able to check the top screen to see the condition of your box, your combo, and the attacking Pokémon, and I still haven’t gotten used to it.
Collecting is really the meat and potatoes of Pokémon Battle Trozei. You can go the distance in this game without focusing on getting them, but you will find yourself running into a brick wall if you don’t try. There is no beating around the bush, Pokémon Battle Trozei is a skill game, and the ultimate goal of collection may not be worth the trouble for some.
The game does provide a variety of different way to get Trozei. The Safari Jungle unlocks early on and has a rotating roster of Trozei for each day of the week. The game also has a StreetPass feature that lets you trade support Trozei with other players. The Trozei traded are copies, and any new ones you receive are registered to your collection.
Most of the more powerful Trozei can be found by completing certain actions in the stages. You unlock evolved forms of Trozei usually by getting a high enough combo and score from beating it. Some techniques are more complex, involving the use of certain combos and support Trozei with varying degrees of complexity. It feels difficult to figure out, but most of the techniques used make sense. In the end, the results you get from trying to complete your collection is entirely dependent on your level of involvement.
Pokémon Battle Trozei is a solid puzzle experience. It definitely feels like a niche game for a niche audience, but its gameplay is fun and it’s a great time killer. At the end of the day, though, the core of the game is the “Gotta catch ‘em all” feeling it shares with the mainline Pokémon games. If this isn’t enough of a reason to pick it up, I wouldn’t recommend it.