Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’re probably already aware of the Namco Bandai developed Pokkén Tournament fighting game in Japanese arcades. Imagine taking Tekken and morphing that game to fit in the world of Pokémon. That’s basically what Pokkén Tournament is all about. The game plays like a arena fighting game (think Powerstone or Dissidia Final Fantasy) with some of your favorite Pokémon duking it out in one-on-one battles.
While the Japanese arcade game released July 16, 2015, Nintendo today announced that Pokkén Tournament will arrive on the Wii U on March 18, 2016. The game features playable Pokémon characters, as well as other Pokémon that you can call upon to assist your main character during battles. When the game launches on the Wii U the roster will include Blaziken, Braixen, Chandelure, Charizard, Garchomp, Gardevoir, Gengar, Lucario, Machamp, Mewtwo, Pikachu, Pikachu Libre, Sceptile, Shadow Mewtwo, Suicune and Weavile.
All characters have a basic move set that consists of a Weak Attack, Strong Attack, Jump, Pokémon Move, Grab Attack, Counter Attack, Synergy Burst and Burst Attack. Most characters in the game have four special moves that are performed by some combination of a direction and the A button. In addition, there’s a Support Gauge that allows you to summon helper Pokémon, and a Synergy Gauge that allows you to use the Synergy Burst mode, which in turn gives access to the Burst Attack.
There are a few different ways you can fill the Synergy Gauge, but the most common is by attacking your opponent. The game uses a rock, paper, scissors format for the main attack types. Normal Attacks beat Grab Attacks, Grab Attacks beat Counter Attacks, and Counter Attacks beat Normal Attacks. If you use an attack that beats your opponent’s attack, a Critical Hit occurs. If you land a Critical Hit your Synergy Gauge fills up faster compared to landing other attacks.
When your Synergy Gauge is full your Pokémon can use a Synergy Burst. This provides a massive power up that increases your character’s attack, defense, health and other attributes , as well as making your Pokémon invincible at the very start of the effect. Synergy Burst only lasts a short time, but Weak Attacks from your opponent will not stun during this time, so you can be far more offensive.
The effects of Synergy Burst vary per character, but for all Pokémon it’s a huge advantage against your opponent. In addition, you gain access to the Burst Attack while Synergy Burst is active. This attack can only be used once during the Synergy Burst period, but inflicts massive damage if you can connect with it.
There are three different types of Support Pokémon you can use to help in battle. Attack types will directly attack the opponent, Enhance types offer support for your Pokémon such as replenishing your health, and Disrupt types have a negative impact on your opponent such as knocking them back or interrupting an attack. After selecting your main Pokémon, you can select one Support Pokémon to assist you. It’s also possible to change your Support Pokémon between rounds.
There are two phases that combat shifts between, the Field Phase and the Duel Phase. During the Field Phase both characters battle from a distance and have full 3D movement. Synergy Power is scattered around the arena during the Field Phase. Collect this to increase your Synergy Gauge. Certain attacks will transition the combat into the Duel Phase.
During the Duel Phase, both characters battle at close range and the fight is essentially on a 2D plane. You can switch between a high stance and low stance by pressing Up or Down on the controller respectively. The high stance allows for attacks that work well against aerial or jumping opponents, while the low stance hits opponents low to the ground or far away.
With Pokkén Tournament set to hit the Wii U in just two months, we’ll have more strategies and character breakdowns in the near future. For now find out how Nintendo will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pokémon!