The Pokémon mobile universe continues to expand, as The Pokémon Company announced earlier today that Pokémon Rumble Rush will be heading to smartphones worldwide, possibly within the next few days. Pokémon Rumble Rush will have big footsteps to follow in, as Pokémon GO remains one of mobile gaming's killer apps, with over 100 million players worldwide and a content release schedule that has kept it at the very forefront of mobile gaming discussions since its release several years ago.
The Pokémon brand has been expanding at a rapid pace recently, with more games releases on various platforms than the franchise has typically done in the past. A brand new main series game in Pokémonn Sword & Shield will be released on Switch for the first time ever, following in the footsteps of the successful Pokémon Yellow reimagining Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee, which laid the foundation for a mainline game appearing on a Nintendo console. On mobile, Pokémon GO has remained one of the most lucrative games on the market, showing no signs of slowing down as developer Niantic continues to roll out fresh content, including new generations of Pokémon to keep players hooked.
The Pokémon Company will hope that Pokémon Rumble Rush will maintain the brand's momentum on mobile. The game is described as "free-to-start," and will be a beat-em-up game that sees players tasked with discovering new islands and the Pokémon that inhabit them. Players will need to use their partner Pokémon to fend off waves of enemy Pokémon during gameplay, and during those encounters there's a chance that enemy Pokémon will befriend a player. Each island adventure will also include a Super Boss fight and an item system that will enable players to power up their existing Pokémon.
Pokémon Rumble Rush doesn't have a specific release date yet, with the game's release simply being referred to as "soon" in the official press release, but it's already available for a lucky few — mobile users in Australia can already download the game on Google Play, with an iOS version and worldwide launch soon to follow. Currently, there aren't many details on what The Pokémon Company means by "free-to-start," which is a phrase that certainly carries some microtransaction baggage with it, but more information is likely forthcoming in the next few days as the game gears up for its full launch.
Pokémon Rumble Rush sounds like the right direction for a new Pokémon game on mobile — far enough away from Pokémon GO that it shouldn't cannibalize that game's dedicated audience, but similar enough that it might entice existing GO players to pick up yet another Pokémon habit for their smartphones. As for longevity, Pokémon Rumble Rush will likely deploy a similar content rollout plan to Pokémon GO, which, if successful, could help The Pokémon Company establish a one-two punch for mobile killer apps in the future.