New Pokemon E-shop Game Introduces Microtransactions to the Series

Nintendo has never been very eager to introduce post-purchase add-on content to their games. They’ve only recently begun to embrace DLC, and while they may be new to the concept, they seem to be handling it quite well, with Hyrule Warriors DLC packs being celebrated as fairly good deals.

But is Nintendo ready to enter the world of Free-to-play?

Launched today on the 3DS E-shop, Pokémon Shuffle is a simple puzzle game in the vein of the previous Pokémon Trozei Games. Much like Bejeweled, or the massively popular Puzzle and Dragon, players match groups of 3 similar tiles in a row to eliminate them from the board and gain points. In the Pokémon Trozei Series, these tiles are represented as pokémon, each with their own strength and elemental type. Matching specific creatures will result in a specific kind of attack, which will then be launched against an enemy pokémon to defeat wave based challenges.

Pokémon Shuffle costs nothing to download directly from the E-shop, but it has other plans in mind for monetization. In a tactic usually regulated to mobile phones, each time you play, you expend a single heart. If you run out of hearts, you must wait for them to replenish, which will take two and half hours to get back to the maximum of five.  Alternatively, players can purchase the games premium currency, Gems, using real E-shop credit. This currency can also be used to purchase in game coins which can be exchanged for items during play.

FullSizeRender (1)-620x

While many view Microtransactions as a herald of manipulative tactics, there are quite a few games that use them that can be quite enjoyable experiences. Nintendo themselves have been quoted as saying that the game offers “hours of fun to be had at no cost”, and, for the patient among us, I have no reason to believe that’s not true. No doubt this move is being made to capitalize on the growing percent of mobile gamers that have become used to these kinds of tactics. It may be too early to tell wether nintendo will use their poke-powers for good, but it surely is a sign of the times.

Pokémon Shuffle is Available to download for free on the Nintendo 3DS E-shop. Download now to receive the exclusive pokémon, Mew, as part of the launch event .