Top Critic Average
- Simple, 2-button controls and universal, easy special move inputs with no complex joystick motions.
- Short combos with easy timing and a straightforward cancel system.
- On-screen frame data bar and visual indicators for properties like invulnerability help players understand fighting game mechanics and how individual moves work.
- Simple, unambiguous health and damage system: All characters have 12 HP and all hits do 1 damage.
- Diverse cast of characters each with their own unique meter and mechanics.
- Quickly swap characters after a lost round to counterpick, just like between matches in a tournament, without slowing down the pace of the match.
- Near-flawless online multiplayer* with GGPO netcode.
- Play with any combination of Joy-Con and Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for multiplayer wherever you go.
- Arcade: Face off against the rest of the game's cast back to back! Can you survive all 8 matches?
- Versus: Play local matches with friends or the CPU, and get competitive with hidden cursors for double-blind character select at the touch of a button.
- Career: Take part in fictional fighting game tournaments around the globe, playing against AIs based on some of Pocket Rumble's top players and eventually facing off against AIs from some familiar faces in the FGC.
- Lessons: Robust tutorials that teach you the very basics of how fighting games work
- Training: A fully-featured training mode with a variety of hotkeys and options including viewable hitboxes, save states, dummy recording and more.
- Ranked: Get matched up with players of your skill level online, earn points and rank up with Elo ratings, leaderboards including character-specific rankings, and a rematch button to challenge someone to an unranked set when you need that runback.
- Unranked: Invite your friends to play unranked matches just for fun!
Pocket Rumble - Nintendo Switch Launch Trailer
It's a beautiful game, but that beauty can't hide the fact Pocket Rumble still needs a bit of work. When playing with friends locally the game is an absolute blast. That's when it's at its best. It's all the other modes that weigh the package down. I'm not too keen to return to any of the single-player options until the AI is fixed nor do I wish to endure the spammy assaults of the same three or four characters I face online. With some fine-tuning, Pocket Rumble can get to where it needs to be, but Cardboard Robot Games should probably hurry because the Switch isn't short on quality fighters and the field will only grow more crowded as we continue the march towards the end of the year.
Despite being a useful tool in your training, Pocket Rumble's arcade mode is slight, but in multiplayer the game excels thanks to a diverse (albeit small) lineup of characters. Fighting games can be complicated things, off-putting to newcomers with their wide array of moves and techniques, but Cardboard Robot Games has crafted a fun and easy to learn experience here, bundled up in a wonderfully nostalgic audio-visual imitation of the old Neo Geo Pocket Color brawlers. By employing just two attack buttons and simplifying the special moves, it may not offer as much depth as some fighting games, but there's still enough to keep even a genre veteran happy here. As newcomer friendly as the game is, timing and correct move choice are still key, so experience is undoubtably a factor. Working well with any controller, the game is good fun and perfectly suited for quick bursts of play, whether that be in online battles or playing tabletop against friends. Admittedly the Switch is not short of decent fighting games, but Pocket Rumble still provides great entertainment.