GAMES - Review
10:34 - 19th July 2016, by Michael Dodson

Pokkén Tournament

Ever since learning to bring the thunder with Pikachu’s Down+B attack in the original Smash Bros, we’ve dreamed of a purely Pokémon themed fighting game, and Nintendo has finally delivered. Pokkén Tournament on Wii U pits 16 characters from one of its most successful franchises against each other, from the legendary Pikachu and Charizard to the more unexpected – but inspired – choices of Chandelure and Suicune.

Attacks are carried out using simple combinations of the d-pad and face buttons – tough to master, but easy enough for novices to pick up and give the game’s early opponents a good thrashing. Landing certain hits switches the camera between 3D and 2D perspectives, each of which favours certain moves and characters. This unique mechanic may seem a little disorienting at first, but it’s something we soon got used to and appreciated for keeping us on our toes. After a while, assist Pokémon – chosen before each battle starts – can be called in to offer offensive or defensive support, whilst building a synergy gauge allows you to unleash a more powerful form of your chosen fighter, capable of dealing lethal amounts of damage with powerful, flashy attacks.

After working our way through the clearly explained tutorials, much of our time in single player was spent working our way up the ranks of the Ferrum League, a lengthy series of bouts with a satisfying difficulty curve. Player versus player matches are also available both on- and offline (the latter giving each player their own screen thanks to the Wii U GamePad), with all modes granting coins that can be used to customise your trainer avatar with a huge array of hair and clothing options.

Being developed by Bandai Namco, it’s no wonder Pokkén Tournament has turned out to be this engaging. We can only hope that success at retail will result in some extra modes and characters added via DLC.

Though the roster size may seem small compared to some fighters, Pokkén Tournament still has a lot to offer when it comes to character variety and competitive potential.
SCORE: 4/5
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