I must admit Nintendo, I’m a bit disappointed. Not because I have beef with Pokémon Battle Trozei. In fact, I think it’s a well-crafted little puzzler, and about as good as anybody could have hoped for. No, the reason I’m torn up is over the abandonment of the Trozei theme music from the commercial for the original DS game. You know, the hauntingly catchy, robotic chant that was beamed ceaselessly to TVs ‘round the USA? That Trozei theme music. I’m just glad there’s a functioning artifact on YouTube to remember it by.
Regardless, Battle Trozei takes the Trozei series one step closer to feeling like an actual Pokémon game, and for most players (especially newcomers), it’s an unequivocal step in the right direction.
In Battle Trozei, you’re a presumed Trainer scouring the globe for new pocket-monsters, and the way you catch them is via a process called a Trozei–the act of lowering a Pokémon’s HP and subsequently capturing it with a Poké Ball. I have no idea where the word Trozei comes from, and when I tried to look it up online, I got results about Pokémon Trozei exclusively. I also don’t really understand why it’s not called “Trozei” when you perform said sequence in a regular Pokémon game. If I start using the term “Trozei” in Pokémon conversations with friends, is it cannon? “Man, I Trozei’d that Snorlax so hard!” The answer remains a mystery. Or should I say, a Mystery DUNGEON. Bam! But I digress.
Upon selecting a course (dozens of which are unlocked as the game progresses), you’re presented with a grid of Pokémon heads, a larger head at the top representing the wild Pokémon you’re currently confronting. A box surrounds your Pokémon grid, and its color essentially represents your health. The enemy, meanwhile, has a traditional HP meter. To attack, the player must match at least three of a kind (up to five), and the attack type will align with the Pokémon used. So if you want to launch a water attack, match three Squirtles.
In the early stages the importance of type advantages is minimized, in favor of teaching an equally crucial aspect of the game–the Trozei Chance. Each time you make a match, there’s potential for a Trozei Chance to occur, and if it does, you need only match two of a kind to keep your combo going. At first these will happen seemingly on their own, and you’ll watch in stunned amazement as matches seemingly form by themselves. Eventually, though, it becomes clear that you can radically extend the length of a Trozei Chance by frantically dragging heads around yourself, staying one step ahead to continuously make pairs of two. Once you finally master the technique, you’ll rack up massive damage with relative ease, and the results are immensely satisfying.
A potential negative on Trozei’s scorecard is the relative ease with which this central technique can be learned, but as with most things Pokémon, the polestar soon shifts from strategic battling to simply catching them all. Every single Pokémon in existence (that’s 718, for those keeping count) can be Trozei’d, and as you reach some of the game’s more difficult stages, you’re going to need all the type variety you can get. Partway through the game’s second batch of levels, it became clear that I wouldn’t get far without Rock type ‘mons, and the Regirock I had Trozei’d earlier came in extremely handy. It adds an additional layer of strategy, too; instead of just matching the nearest monster without thinking, I’d try and save enough Regirocks so that they’d be available when the rock-sensitive “boss” of the level finally appeared. One-hitting a boss with a 14-stage, super effective Trozei Chance may be one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in a puzzle game, despite the relative ease with which it can be pulled off.
Pokémon Battle Trozei does eventually reach a state of noticeable repetition, at which point you have a decision to make–do you intend to catch them all? If not, you’ll probably stop playing the game for long sit-down session, and instead whip it out for a stage or two when time permits. That’s how I plan to continue. If you’re obsessive about completing your Pokédex, though, you may find yourself hooked until the very end. It all depends on the player.
There is one last potential downside to Battle Trozei, but it could be seen as a plus if you’re a newcomer who plans to jump into Pokémon proper at some point in the future. The game requires a substantial amount of pre-existing Pokémon knowledge in order to succeed. If you’re a newbie, you’ll have to learn not only the 18 different Pokémon types, but the faces of all the Pokémon you encounter in the game, and what type they actually represent. It is possible to just spam Trozei Chances and hope for the best, but it’s going to take a lot longer to progress that way, and will be a lot more frustrating.
Still, I’d recommend Battle Trozei to almost any player, as a fun diversion for existing Pokémaniacs or a vigorous boot camp for the uninitiated. It’s not terribly hard if you just pay attention and learn the required strategies, and the upbeat soundtrack and vibrant visuals (that unfortunately lack stereoscopic 3D) are enough to keep even the most distracted players very much engaged. Pokémon Battle Trozei is just $7.99 on the 3DS eShop, and Pokémon fan or not, it provides solid, addicting entertainment per dollar spent.
This review is based on the 3DS exclusive, which was provided to us.
Pokémon Battle Trozei isn't the most complex of puzzle games, but it is a satisfying and fun Poké-fied way to catch 'em all one more time. It includes every Pokémon known to man, and serves as both a good way to keep your basic Pokémon strategies sharp, or a means to learn them for the first time. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it is fun, and costs less than $10.