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Pokémon Dream Radar - 3DS Download Review

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Pokémon Dream Radar

3DS Download | Nintendo / Creatures Inc. | 1 Player | Out Now | $2.99 / £2.69 | Play Coin Support
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22nd January 2013; By KnucklesSonic8

Having previously used photography as a basis for a spin-off, Pokémon Dream Radar is holistically in the same conceptual ballpark as fan-favourite, Pokémon Snap, this time using augmented reality as its main mechanism. The difference here is, Snap had an all-encompassing vision, while this...this just reeks of being a tremendous afterthought. Regardless of whether you're a fan of the franchise or are looking for a generally good AR game, it doesn't make a lick of sense how Pokémon Dream Radar could be viewed as anything but a bare cash-in.

    Harnessing a literal interpretation of dimensional barriers, players are enlisted to aid Professor Burnet in understanding the role of the Interdream Zone in linking our world with the presence of Pokémon creatures. Your 3DS functions as your main tool for seeking out these entities, done by hold it out in front of you and allowing the top screen to pick up any signs of life in the area. The game makes no use of any other key system functionality, and, as such, might as well be labeled as a higher-class DSiWare title for its clean, yet still underwhelming presentation.

    At any rate, Dream Clouds act as open windows for you to launch your radar's beam towards, either unveiling collectible Dream Orbs or a hidden Pokémon. When the latter takes place, you'll essentially have to latch a tractor beam onto a glowing orb and follow it as it moves about in the space in front of and around you. The pace is relatively balanced on a standard level, but when it's a matter of mystery Pokémon turning up, younger fans might be thrown off by the resulting effect of slight dizziness. The Touch Screen functions as your inventory belt for support items that can be bought through the accumulation of these Dream Orbs. Once the meter at the top screen becomes full, you'll have successfully captured the Pokémon, but on occasion an item will be the caged object instead.

    In the initial phases, your radar will be very limited in scope and can only pick up certain clusters of Pokémon. Dream Orbs not only act as a currency but also a progress marker through which new applications will be made available, expanding the capacity of the system. Even with these in place, though, Pokémon Dream Radar as a whole conveys a frail make-up that ends up foiling its capability. For some inexplicable reason, there's an unwelcome limitation put in place that restricts hunts from only being done once every 45 minutes. It's one thing to implement a cooldown system, but this wait time of a forced system recharge doesn't have any validity.

Play Coins can be redeemed to speed up the process, maximizing the number of available Dream Clouds up to three times a day. Doing so, however, demonstrates that the game is entirely artificial and is hardly (if at all) based on the conditions of your surroundings, instead populating the screen with elements that are gathered at a rate that at times feels superficially inflated for the sake of extending use. This notion is also supported by the nature of the Development Lab upgrades. Ultimately, a majority of your time is spent, not making discoveries, but basically sifting through trash, with the only meaning attached to these endeavours being that they incrementally further your chances of actually making one of these sought-after encounters.

    Really, then, the only measure of worth that can be assigned to this entire system is the way it works as a companion to Pokémon Black/White Version 2, allowing for transfers of souvenirs to the main quest. But even with that being the case, this is a non-essential supplement that can be easily done without, largely for the reason that besides the activity being pointless and a waste of time, the organization of it all is done with clear intent to apply a mirage of there being a lifespan to this when there is, in fact, little here. As it happens, it neither functions well on its own accord, nor does it prove especially self-sufficient in its attempts to piggyback off of the retail releases it groups itself in with.

    At the end of the day, Pokémon Dream Radar is a wasted opportunity with little desirable benefit, and I dare say is even an insult to the fanbase. It's not laced with anything worthwhile, and the gameplay itself, as minimal as it is, doesn't live up to certain standards. Instead of developing an accessible AR game that even non-fans could delve into, Pokémon Dream Radar doesn't even captivate existing fans with its scarce premise and even scarcer execution.

14/30 - Very Poor

Gameplay 4/10 - Unwelcome design restriction, upgrades to improve usage, largely worthless gameplay with artificial extensions, a huge afterthought
Presentation 6/10 - Pretty basic, not many details present just like gameplay, clean organization yet still underwhelming, could pass as a DSiWare title
Enjoyment 2/5 - Bare in the way of content, lacks meaning in where time is mostly spent, fails to intrigue or justify its presence as a standalone iteration
Extra Content 2/5 - Primarily functions as a companion product for Pokémon Black/White Version 2, relatively few souvenirs to acquire

Equivalent to a score of 47% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Pokémon Dream Radar
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