‘Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire’ are released on Nintendo 3DS on 28 November.
Some video games are easier to review than others. And usually, if a game is appearing on a Nintendo console (maybe it’s a 100-person brawler, or a hybrid RTS alien fruit collection sim) then it will be on the difficult end of that scale.
‘Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire’ is not one of those games.
This review is simple.
- Question: do you like Pokemon?
- Answer: If yes, then buy. If no, then ignore.
Oh really, you need more?
Ok, then look. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the needlessly Greco-Ish names for a reboot of 2003’s Pokemon Ruby and Emerald, themselves entries in the very long running series of addictive, but essentially harmless RPG megaphenom that is Pokemon. In the game, as ever, you walk around collecting and fighting with little monsters, which gradually evolve, gain new moves and grow larger over time.
With this cohort of POcKEt MONsters you battle against mean, but not actually evil enemies and attempt to collect ’em all, which you can’t do without going online or trading with friends in person, because that’s just how this works.
The new games are reboots, with some changes. That means better 3D graphics, bigger and brighter scenery, some mechanical changes (like the Exp Share ability, also seen in last year’s true sequel X&Y, which shares experience equally between your monsters) and a few other surprises like Mega Evolutions. This is a system whereby Pokemon can evolve again mid-battle, and look all cool and… stuff. Here you can also try ‘primal reversions’, where Pokemon revert to dinosaur-like versions of themselves, also in order to kick Gym Leader butt.
You can also get to know your Pokemon in person through Pokémon Amie, a sort of Tamagotchi system for your little guys, which unless you’re literally a child you should maybe avoid getting hooked into.
And that’s sort of the rub. This is a very well made, established, consistent game that totally knows its audience. But while adults are among the most dedicated Pokemon fans in the world, that primary Pokemon audience is still… kids. This is a kids game. It has the story, look, feel and attitude of a kids game. And the reason it has been remade is not to sate adult players with collections of retro consoles, but because kids don’t have old consoles.
So if you like Pokemon, go nuts – this is another solid 50 hours of Pokemon for you to play through. If you don’t, or you sort of did in the mid-1990s but now you have actual human children to raise and not just a load of make-believe cartoons, maybe think again before diving in. Or at least get last-year’s X&Y, which was better.