Over the past few years, Nintendo has repeatedly stated that it will not join the market of mobile gaming. During that time, the company has seen mobile gaming boom due to the likes of Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga and Clash Of Clans, due to the fact that most mobile games are seen as something light and easy to play on the way to school or work.
It wasn’t until last year that Nintendo finally softened their stance on the matter, after standing firm with their handheld console projects. Back in early 2015, former Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata (RIP), stated the following:
“Nintendo has decided to deploy its video game business on smart devices, but it is not because we have lost our passion or vision for the business of dedicated video game systems.
On the contrary, because now we have decided on how we will make use of smart devices, we have come to hold an even stronger passion and vision for the dedicated video game system business than before.”
It seems like a clarity has entered Nintendo’s mind – not only will joining the mobile gaming market be a profit for them, but as one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, they can influence the market in a positive way and build mobile gaming into something bigger than ever before.
In a simple way to start, Nintendo ported over their model of Pokemon Shuffle to mobile devices. The game itself is exactly the same as the 3DS version, which was released as a freemium game on the console, so it’s the same idea on there too, and what was likely a test for Nintendo to see whether it would be a worthwhile concept.
Pokemon Shuffle Mobile is a simple game that in effect is largely the same sort of model as Candy Crush Saga. Players make lines of Pokemon, and those lines score you points, disappear off the board and allow more to drop down, creating opportunities for larger combinations of Pokemon to use. A cool addition to the concept is that in Pokemon Shuffle Mobile, your objective is to score enough points of damage to a Pokemon you are facing and trying to capture. Upon capturing said Pokemon, you then have that creature among your group to be able to use against other monsters.
Like the regular Pokemon games you would play, some types are super effective against others, meaning you’re more likely to win if you manage to capture them, although some can be tricky. Like all freemium games, your experience is limited if you wish to stick with your money though; buying jewels will speed the game process along and ultimately means you can catch more of the Pokemon you encounter, but it’s not cheap, and if you have an unquenchable thirst to catch some of those pocket monsters, I’d recommend buying a game on the 3DS.
However, because it’s a Pokemon game and therefore owned by The Pokemon Company, if you search for ‘Nintendo mobile games’, for example, you won’t see this one among the list. That’s all a technicality, but be assured that Nintendo are entering the market. Their first official game will be named Miitomo, which is essentially a social networking game – the Japanese word tomo translates to ‘friend’ in English; however, if you’re playing the game in Spain or any Spanish speaking country, tomo translates to ‘I take’. I don’t know if that’s going to lead to some trouble in Spanish speaking countries, as they may assume that it means ‘I take your Mii’, and is a game where you bet your Mii’s life for a mini game. …Let’s just assume it’s going to lead to complications and disappointment in those particular places.
Miitomo will be a free to download game, but has add-ons available to buy, and it can only be imagined to be something similar to the 3DS’s Tomodachi Life. The basic idea of Miitomo is that the game asks your Mii a bunch of questions, and after responding, it links you with other Miis who answered similarly.
While both Pokemon Shuffle Mobile and Miitomo are freemium games, Nintendo will not continue to follow that model. Nintendo has announced that between March 2016 and March 2017, there will be four other games to download on mobile devices; however, there will be some games that are simply paid downloads.
One of the future downloads we know will be Pokemon GO, which, quite frankly, seems like a much more entertaining option than both previously mentioned games and will likely receive a lot of downloads from fans of the series (let’s face it, who isn’t a fan of Pokemon?). Another free to play game, Pokemon GO will once again support in-app purchases. Players will purchase a wristband, known as the “Pokemon Go Plus”, in order to be notified when a Pokemon is nearby.
As an augmented reality game, this is easily the most exciting of the trilogy – not that I wouldn’t recommend the other games, after all, they are all free to download.