When we rang in the new year, we never even fathomed that a Pokémon-style Rick and Morty game, one where Rick travels around to battle and collect various versions of Morty, could be part of 2016. Then, it was announced that Pocket Mortys would be just that, would be free on iOS, and would be available very soon. Its release date was initially announced to be January 14, but Pocket Mortys actually came a day early. Now that we have the game in hand, we can tell you that it is surprisingly deep in some ways, but disappointingly shallow in others.
Much of what was speculated about the gameplay is true: Pocket Mortys uses Pokémon-style, turn-based battle mechanics, a Pokémon-style overworld… Pokémon style everything, really, except for the aesthetic. The art is colorful and faithful to the show, Justin Roiland did voices for the game, and the jokes are entertaining, containing references to both the meta humor of the show and self-awareness of the fact that it’s a Pokémon rip-off:
In terms of gameplay, there’s no questioning that Pocket Mortys is a watered-down version of its source material. In fact, if we don’t mention a specific gameplay mechanic, assume it functions like its Pokémon equivalent. There are over 80 types of Mortys (short of Pokémon‘s usual totals, but we’re still impressed), and while they all have a unique and often hilarious appearance, the unique types of Morty don’t function all that differently in battle.
Spooky Morty doesn’t fight all that differently from Ad-Space Morty, Geriatric Morty or Crazy Cat Morty because there are limited Morty types: Your original Morty doesn’t seem to have a type, but the others are either Rock, Paper, or Scissors. The naming convention is welcomed because it all but eliminates the learning curve, but it also makes battle more a grind and not based on a whole lot of strategy, a paramount element of the Pokémon games.
The initial excitement about the game may have set some lofty expectations for it, and the lack of depth might lead to a tiring experience once the novelty of playing a Rick and Morty-skinned Pokémon game wears thin, but you’ll enjoy Pocket Mortys more if you appreciate the game for what it is: Definitely not a rival to Pokémon in any way and a bit too thin to be considered a full-bodied RPG, but a free bit of fanservice that’s a fun distraction for a couple hours.
- The aesthetic and comedy are sure to please fans of the show.
- Heavily copies Pokémon gameplay mechanics, a winning formula.
- Surprisingly deep for a free iOS game based on a TV show.
- Gameplay is a watered-down version of Pokémon, though that doesn’t bother us too much considering, again, that this is a free iOS app based on a TV show. Context, people.
- Mortys may be visually distinct, but there is little variety in how they function during battle.
- Because of this, the game might grow old fast, especially if you aren’t a fan of the show or you get over the game’s novelty quickly.
Rating: 3 out of 5 burritos
Pocket Mortys is available to download for free on iOS devices as of today. For this review, Pocket Mortys was played on an iPad Mini 2.
IMAGE: All images are screenshots from the Pocket Mortys app.