Pokken Tournament comes to Wii U on March 18th, but critics have already been putting their scores up for the Pokemon fighting game. There has always been a disconnection between the main Pokemon RPGs and the Pokemon Anime, and many were hoping that Pokken Tournament would fill that desire for fast-paced Pokemon battles. It looks like players don’t have to worry, as Pokken Tournament has received very positive reviews from major gaming outlets.
As far as gameplay goes, Pokken Tournament is being praised for its accessibility for beginners and its deep core mechanics for experienced players. Even with only three attack buttons, the fighters have a wide variety of moves and combos that make each of them unique, even Pikachu Libre has different moves from regular Pikachu. Players are also allowed to pick assists, similar to Marvel vs. Capcom, that give players an edge like anti-air attacks, projectiles, and traps. Some reviewers found the perspective of the game a little confusing, as it changes from a circular stadium from a distance to a more 2-D plane when fighters get close, but the game does a good job of teaching the player. Speaking of, critics are saying that Pokken Tournament’s tutorial provides great help for learning the games mechanics while also showing combos for more advanced players.
The biggest common criticism for Pokken Tournament is the lack of content. Out of more than 600 pokemon, it’s a little disappointing to only have 16 fighters, two of those being different versions of the same Pokemon (Shadow Mewtwo and Pikachu Libre). While the game does a great job with giving the fighters it has plenty of depth, 16 is still pretty low. Perhaps there will be DLC in the future, after all look at all the content we got for Smash Bros. Another common complaint is the local multiplayer. While it’s great to have one player use the TV and the other use the Gamepad, the game slows down from 60fps to 30fps, and the change isn’t a deal-breaker but is a little irritating.
The game has a story mode where players compete in the Ferrum League, but it basically just an Arcade mode. Players have plenty to unlock though, including new characters (which have all been revealed already), hats and accessories for your trainer avatar, and new modes. However, outside of the tournament/arcade mode, there isn’t many other modes besides online matches, which have been praised for their smooth flow and lack of lag.
Overall, Pokken Tournament is a solid fighting game for Pokemon fans, fans of fighting games, and generally anyone who owns a Wii U. Right now the game has a 76 on metacritic, which is usually a game that nails its core gameplay but suffers from a lack of content. We’ll see how consumers react when the game is released on March 18th and whether we’ll see more from Pokken Tournament in the future.