Childen and man-children of the world, rejoice: Nintendo has announced that the Skylanders-esque Pokemon Rumble U will be released on the Nintendo e-Shop in North America and Europe next month.
Pokemon Rumble U is the latest game in the Pokemon Rumble spin-off series that began as a downloadable title for the original Wii and was later fleshed-out into a fully featured sequel on the 3DS. The upcoming third game in the series for the Wii U takes a page from Skylanders’ money printing business model and lets players import new Pokemon into their game by scanning actual, real life figures into the game with the Wii U pad’s near-field-communications capabilities.
The Pokemon Rumble U game will cost $18, while individual figures will retail for $4 each. Eighteen figures will be sold exclusively at Gamestop at launch, though Nintendo plans to expand to other retailers and may eventually offer figurines of all 649 Pokemon (which begs the question: who would pay money to buy Mr. Mime?) Nintendo has already confirmed that the current version of Pokemon Rumble U will not feature any of the new Pokemon from the upcoming X and Y versions, which seems like a strange omission. The Pokemon figures are only compatible with Rumble U and not any of the “main” Pokemon games, so don’t get the idea that you’ll be able to craft a team of top tier Pokemon in X and Y by buying a couple of legendary figures off of eBay.
Nintendo’s not the only company who’s trying to get a piece of the Skylander’s pie: Disney Interactive’s Infinity “platform” also launches on all consoles next month, and will similarly require players to buy (somewhat expensive) figures in order to expand their game. Skylanders has sold millions of games and many millions more of toys, so it’s not surprising that other companies are trying to cash in on the craze. Given the Pokemon franchise’s perennial popularity and its focus on collecting, I’m surprised that it’s taken Nintendo this long to jump on the bandwagon.