Nintendo’s exploration of mobile games has been fascinating, largely because of Nintendo’s preference to build games around how a platform works. Magikarp Jump is utterly ridiculous, but it’s a fun silly mobile game anybody can play. Pokemon Go is an ambitious and largely successful attempt to get people to actually use augmented reality. And now Nintendo is at it again, this time with an adaption of an odd side eddy in Pokemon history.
Pokeland, just announced as a closed alpha, sounds quite a bit like Pokemon Rumble, a top-down brawler. You hop between islands, get in arena matches with Pokemon, and, as usual, get the little buggers to level up, become better Pokemon, and lay down money in the vast elaborate gambling economy that clearly exists just outside the view of Pokemon media. Hey, somebody’s got to pay for all those Pokeballs.
That said, the game fans really want, a legit Pokemon game, doesn’t seem to be in the cards. And, really, it might never be. Nintendo seems interested more in making games that suit mobile than adapting games that work for consoles to mobile, so it might be a long time before Pokemon have a legit battle on your phone. Until then, you’ll just have to settle for naming your Magikarp horrible things.