Hey you! Do you like Pokemon? How about fast-paced puzzle games? If you answered yes to both questions and you own a Nintendo 3DS, then Pokemon Battle Trozei should be right up your alley!
Pokemon Battle Trozei is a puzzle/pet battle hybrid set in the Pokemon universe and is available now on the North American 3DS eShop for $7.99. Featuring all 700+ Pokemon, 10 different stages and easy-to-learn “match 3” gameplay, there is a lot of fun to be had for such a low price, especially if you’re a fan of the source material.
As with any puzzle game, expect repetitive gameplay up front. The core mechanics of Pokemon Battle Trozei never really change, but that’s usually par for the course in this genre. In each stage you’ll battle different Pokemon, but not in the traditional turn-based sense that you’re used to. Rather than filter through a list of commands, you have to match at least 3 Pokemon together in order to attack your opponent, but there is a bit more depth to the game than it leads on to.
Each Pokemon you battle has its own strength and weakness, which are taken from the games in which they appear on. Charmander, for instance, is a fire-based Pokemon that’s weak against Rock type attacks, etc.. In order to start attacking, you just use your stylus to drag 3-matching Pokemon next to each other. Since the rules are pretty lax, you can move any Pokemon on the grid to any other spot as long as it’s on your bottom screen.
The way battling works is the first Pokemon that you match will determine your attacker, so if you match 3 Pikachu together they will be your attacker and deal lightning-based damage to your opponent. Once you’ve made your first match, you have a short amount of time to match as many other Pokemon as possible to strengthen your attack, and once the attack has gone off you’ll start the process all over again — your first match becomes your next attacker, followed by increasing the strength of the attack by matching even more Pokemon.
The frantic pace of Pokemon Battle Trozei is non-stop and chaotic since you also have your own health pool to keep track of, which is reduced each time you’re attacked by your opponent. It’s easy to get sucked in to a match-making frenzy and completely forget about your own well being until you hit that Game Over screen, and I loved the feeling I got as my eyes raced back and forth between my game screen and my health pool as I decided what to do next.
Of course you can offset that whole dying thing by matching support Pokemon like Chancy that will heal you instead of dealing damage. There are also specialty Pokemon like Ditto that will act as whatever Pokemon they’re seated next to, so there is more to consider than just going nuts and matching Pokemon for the sake of blindly attacking.
While you’re on the attack, there are two things to consider — Scatter and Trozei attacks. Sometimes you’ll battle multiple Pokemon at a time, but you can attack them all by matching 5 Pokemon together. This will trigger a Scatter attack that deals damage to all enemies on the screen, but the same rules apply where your first match determines your attack type.
Trozei attacks occur when you match at least 4 Pokemon together and immediately match 3 more within one second. Triggering a Trozei attack allows you to deal a hefty amount of damage as you only have to match two of a kind during its duration, making it much easier to clear the entire grid for double damage.
Defeating a wild Pokemon captures it and adds it to your Trozei list (basically a Pokedex), and you can eventually choose one Pokemon from your list to always be available on your grid in-game. Choosing a Pokemon to champion allows you to strategically get an upper hand if you know what you’re up against. Your chosen Pokemon can be swapped out between levels, but using the same one over and over builds an affinity for added benefits.
Sometimes Pokemon Battle Trozei is a big game of trial and error as you have no idea what Pokemon you’ll be up against until you’ve jumped in head first, died a few times and then readjust your strategy accordingly. Going in to a new level and getting destroyed because you can’t find which Pokemon to lead with is bound to frustrate some, but I really enjoyed learning from my mistakes and strategically planning my next attempt using a better Pokemon.
Graphically, Pokemon Battle Trozei is charming yet basic. Each Pokemon is represented by a 2D portrait, but attacks and abilities are rendered in 3D, although neither are really worth writing home about. Again, this is all just par for the course as puzzle games tend to favor fun and addictive gameplay over top-notch graphics, and if you’re buying a Pokemon game you kind of know what visuals to expect at this point. Much like the graphics, the background music and sounds are just there, but not a central focus for the game.
If you’re in to battling with your Ninten-bros, Pokemon Battle Trozei offers up an awesome local co-op mode that lets you and your friends form teams to battle the levels in game together. Only the host’s progression is saved, but you can still build up your affinity with your championed Pokemon and work together to defeat the more challenging foes and levels. The leader of your team selects which level they’d like everyone to play and you’ll each work on your own separate Trozei grid to attack the opponent in unison. I had a lot of fun tackling levels with my girlfriend that I would have otherwise struggled with alone, and since it’s only $7.99 it should be pretty easy to convince your friends to give it a shot as well.
I know that I spent a large portion of this review going over the core mechanics of Pokemon Battle Trozei, but I wanted to stress the importance of strategy and emphasize its fast-paced, frantic gameplay so you know what to expect when you decide whether or not it’s the game for you. I’m a big fan of Pokemon and really enjoyed what Pokemon Battle Trozei had to offer, especially as a game to just pick up and play when I have a few minutes to kill.
Overall, Pokemon Battle Trozei definitely caters to a niche crowd, but if you love Pokemon, its battle mechanics and fast-paced puzzle gameplay you’ll find a lot to love for such a low price. I really enjoyed the nail-biting gameplay and replaying all of the levels for the chance to collect all 700+ Pokemon that span Red & Blue all the way to Pokemon X & Y.
What made it even more enjoyable was having the option to do so with friends and planning out our strategies for the more dangerous encounters, which usually lead to a nice mixture of laughter and cursing. If you’re not a puzzle veteran, you may be turned off by its repetition, charming graphics and lack of focus on any sort of plot, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Pokemon Battle Trozei.
Bradley Keene is an avid gamer & freelance blogger from Baltimore, MD who typically handles news and reviews here at What’s Your Tag?. If he’s not knee-deep in an RPG or some form of Nintendo game, he’s usually watching terrible horror films or listening to Gwar. Follow him on Twitter @amgfail_WYT, or contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.