March 2, 2017 is a day that will forever grace the halls of gaming history with a light so bright that no gamer worth their salt would be able to look away from. The midnight release of the Nintendo Switch, arguably one of Nintendo’s most revolutionary pieces of work, went off with a blast inside the Owasso GameStop Thursday evening. To be at ground zero during the launch extravaganza was a special opportunity for the Nintendo gaming community. There was pizza served from Papa John’s as well as Smash Bros. and Mario Kart tournaments until 11 p.m. with some of the most enthusiastic gamers in the community.
Nintendo and its affiliates have been killing it lately with mobile content like Pokémon GO and Mario Run, and adding on to the list is another strategic Pokémon spin-off game, Pokémon Duel. The game released this January in the US with little to no advertisement, taking the states by surprise. The goal of the game is to get your Pokémon to the opponent’s side of the board while defending them from doing the same thing, moving your 6 chosen Pokémon across the board like the Pokémon spin-off – Pokémon Conquest (shout out to the person who remembers that game.) Just like most other Pokémon games, you have to knock out your opponents Pokémon to meet your goal, which in Pokémon Duel happens by spinning discs that have the chance to use different attacks, dodge attacks, or even miss your attacks- much like the Pokémon Battling Coin game from the 90’s (anyone remember that one? ….anyone?) If like me, many of you play it and think “this seems like it should be an actual board game” well then you would be right, but about 10 years off. This game is actually almost identical to a physical game called the Pokémon Trading Figures Game that released in 2007 but didn’t do very well at all due to costs of the game and figurines and lack of support within the Pokémon organized Play program
I’m extremely biased towards both the Nintendo and Pokémon franchises, but I don’t think either of those biases are the reason I’m having a blast with this game. It’s a break from the regular search-and-catch game play with a more strategic approach that anyone could enjoy. An unfortunate downside of the game right now is the issue with connectivity it’s having, but that sort of thing seems to get ironed out once any newly released game is out for a while (must… stay… optimistic…) Once that gets a little better, I can see this very well polished game rise in popularity and continue to usher in the age of good mobile content that isn’t just a League of Legends mobile rip-off. Pokémon Duel is free to download and play now on Android and IOS so go try it for yourself!
-Nico ‘Calm Lava’ Villalobos