I was motivated to spend time with Pokemon Rumble U because I knew that its smartphone follow-up, Pokémon Rumble Rush, was due to shut down this past July, just a little over a year of its initial debut. The Pokémon Rumble series has been one of the lamer Pokémon spin-off series, and I for one wasn't too sad to see this iteration go.
Yet again this game recycled the same beat-'em-up formula as its predecessors and featured the same blocky Pokemon "toys" for you to use in battle and try to "collect 'em all". The game was most similar to the second 3DS game, and at its core it had you travelling to different areas (in this game, "islands") to encounter and try to catch area-specific Pokemon. The main new feature was that you could come across ore that you have to refine in order to get a boatload of upgrades, the main one being "Power Gears" that upgraded a Pokemon's stats (most of which were by Pokemon type although some boosted certain types of attacks and some were only usable by specific Pokemon), and "Summon Gears", which enabled you to summon a specific Pokemon for a powerful attack. An update added a "Battle Royale" mode that had three of your critters to auto-battle against another team. The game was designed as a mobile game and had all the hallmarks of one, such as including daily missions, and the in-game currency was used to increase storage capacity of both your gears and your Pokemon, and also to increase the speed of refining ore. Its other main use was to enable you to visit more locations (via "Guide Feathers"), and although the main areas originally cycled through every two weeks, at the end they had all of them available all the time.
Overall Pokemon Rumble Rush was a harmless but forgettable smartphone entry in this mindless Pokémon spin-off series, and The Pokémon Company seems to be continuing to try to find its next big hit. Although I originally dimissed their later smartphone effort, Pokemon Masters, I've still been keeping up with that game more or less and it has come a ways since its debut a year ago and has recently been rebranded as Pokémon Masters EX (not to be confused with "Pokemon Master SEX", which I heard was trending on Twitter and refers to something quite different). I'm still not wholly convinced that even with the renaming that that game is worth spending that much time on, but I'm guessing with all these updates it's doing reasonably well, and I'll probably still keep up with it and so will probably have to write another post about it at some point.