Even with the new Nintendo Switch coming out in March, Nintendo is beginning to delve into the mobile game market, as they have just announced Tuesday that they will be making two to three mobile games each year, according to Engadget’s Tom Regan.
Nintendo began their involvement with mobile gaming with their one-week-hit that was Pokemon Go!, which was an adventurous yet watered-down version of the Pokemon games. Then they came out with Super Mario Run, which is a watered-down version of the Super Mario Brothers games. And on February 2 they will release Fire Emblem: Heroes, which is pretty much a high school reunion for all of your favorite Fire Emblem characters, which, as a fan of Fire Emblem, I am excited for, even though it will undoubtedly be a watered-down version of all the other Fire Emblem games. Not to mention there will be an Animal Crossing mobile game coming out next year, which will probably just be a – well, you get the idea.
All of these games, except for Super Mario Run, , will be free-to-play with in-game purchases.
I am not a fan of mobile games. They often do not feel like real games to me. They are small and they usually don’t have much content. I also am not a fan of simplifying games that I am a fan of. Again, it doesn’t feel like the real thing to me, like it’s trying to pretend to be like what it is representing, but falling ever so short.
But I am a fan of Nintendo. And I am a fan of “free.”
So I decided to try out one of their new free games. The game I downloaded is a little gem called Pokemon Duel. Take note that this is not a normal Pokemon game, nor is it a watered down version of a Pokemon game. It’s a new game entirely that just uses Pokemon characters. Think of this game like chess. The player can collect virtual figures that they can use in-game on a board, and the objective is to get one of your figurines on the base of the other team while protecting your own. If you want a more in-depth description of the game, Adweek describes it well.
So far, I’m pretty impressed. For one thing, it looks great! Of course, I guess all they had to do was program statues to hop around the board, but they did a good job at it. And I’m having fun despite it’s simplicity. And I’ve been winning. With only the base set, too.
However, this game did confirm the fears I did have.
With most free-to-play games, there is incentive to pay real money to progress, but you don’t have to. This gives the player two options: pay, or grind/wait. By grind, I mean that the player has to play a lot to get things he could get in a second if he just paid. By wait, I mean that the game is willing to give the player things, but only after a certain time period, normally by the next day, forcing the player to play consistently, but not necessarily for long periods of time. And Pokemon Duel is definitely a waiting game, and I don’t like that aspect of it. I would rather play more to progress faster rather than wait for my in-game presents to unlock.
But this doesn’t make the game terrible, it makes it slow. Moreover, it makes it a mobile game, which is what it’s supposed to be. And I know that a bunch of people don’t like that, in fact I bet they expect for Nintendo to port full console games onto mobile devices, but the size of those games are too big for that to ever happen.
I say, if Nintendo wants to keep making these games on a regular basis, more power to them. I doubt these games will hurt the company in any way, especially since Super Mario Run got 78 million downloads and earned them $53 million. And for the player, you only waste time if you download a free game you don’t like. Or at least hopefully you figured out you don’t like it before you spent money on it.
So in response to the announcement of even more mobile games: bring it on. Give me a reason to use my iPad for more than just an alarm clock.
But that’s just my opinion.