It may or may not be part of Nintendo’s new mobile push, but Pokemon Shuffle is officially headed to Android and iOS devices later this year. The Pokémon Company made the announcement Monday with a new trailer that appears to add a new feature from the Nintendo 3DS version.
Pokémon Shuffle will release as a free download to the iTunes App Store and Google Play this year, according to Nintendo. This is a match-three game that was originally released for the Nintendo 3DS in February. The title was ready made to be a mobile game, since it follows the same mechanics and structure of touch-enabled mobile titles such as Candy Crush Saga.
Players match three or four Pokemon on the screen to deal damage to opposing Pokémon. The challenge comes in that there are a set number of moves to clear the stage.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) June 29, 2015
The game follows the freemium model and requires players to use hearts to attempt each stage. Players can have up to five hearts at a time, but they take up to 30 minutes to regenerate. This is where the micro-transactions come in.
Extra hearts can be purchased with jewels, which are earned either by defeating trainers or buying them with real world money. Players can also purchase power-ups, such as extra moves or a Great Ball, to increase the chances of capturing a Pokemon.
Pokémon Shuffle was heavily criticized for its freemium model when it launched for the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year. The game received an overall Metacritic score of 56, with the micro-transactions receiving the bulk of the negative feedback.
“As match-three puzzlers go this is well above average, but the cynical microtransactions make it a horrible slog to actually play,” added Metro GameCentral.
It’s unknown if Nintendo and The Pokémon Company will make any changes to the freemium mechanics for the iOS and Android release. However, it appears that there is one feature that is being added. Screenshots of the mobile version of the game show a gift icon that is not present on the Nintendo 3DS version. Presumably, this is to gift coins, power-ups, or something else to friends who also play Pokémon Shuffle.
Pokémon Shuffle is actually the second mobile title from The Pokemon Company. It released Pokémon TCG Online for the iPad last year. It’s unclear if this counts as one of the first mobile titles that Nintendo plans to release this year.
[Images via The Official Pokemon Channel]