Earlier this year Nintendo announced they were going to enter the mobile market in 2015. Today, they have announced their first mobile title: PokeMon Shuffle.
If you are unfamiliar with PokeMon Shuffle, it’s basically a match-3 puzzle game where you collect and battle PokeMon. It was released for the Nintendo 3DS as a downloadable game on February 18th. Everything about the game screamed “Mobile” and now, we know why.
I have personally logged over 12 hours with the 3DS version and the game is a lot of fun. My biggest complaint is that, from day one it was a mobile game, so playing it on the 3DS was not the ideal experience.
Just to outline what I mean. The game is free. You get “diamonds” each day. You spend diamonds to battle PokeMon. Once those diamonds are depleted, you have the option to purchase more with real money or just wait the allotted time for the diamonds to refill. You can also earn extra free diamonds by beating certain high level PokeMon in game. This is, to a T, what the mobile market is full of right now. There are also your standard power ups, which you can spend your diamonds on to swing the battles in your favor. In the 12 hours that I’ve played the game, I haven’t spent a dime and I have enjoyed it very much. But, when I open up my 3DS, I want to play something more meaty, something like Zelda or Bravely Default. Which is why this might not be a great 3DS game, but it will dominate on a mobile platform.
In the end, this is such a brilliant move by Nintendo. Sure, this is going to answer the cry of the thousands of fans that didn’t get to see a Zelda trailer at E3, but for the masses. For my daughter and my wife and my mother-in-law, this is a game they will download and try almost guaranteed. Multiply that by all of the people that have mobile phones in the world and the people that love PokeMon and mix in our social impatience and expendable income and Nintendo is going to be swimming in mobile money very soon. I think this is a great first step for fans and novice alike and can’t wait to see what Nintendo does in the mobile space over the next few years.