Pokemon Conquest review
Pokemon spin-offs aren't a new idea. In fact, there are way more spin-offs than there are core Pokemon RPG games for handhelds. For every Gold and Silver Version, you have your Pokemon Colosseum and Snap, for every Black and White version, you have your Ranger and Mystery Dungeons. All these games, however, were still very much accessible to a younger generation of Pokemon fans. Enter Nobunaga's Ambition, a strategy/tactics game I've never laid my hands on, mainly due to the fact that I'm usually quite terrible at those games. Someone over at Koei and Nintendo must have thought it would be a genius idea to mix the two universes together. And I have to absolutely agree. This is definitely one of the best, non-core Pokemon games that I literally couldn't put down.
If you're familiar with the cast and characters from the Samurai Warriors series, you'll see a lot of familiar faces. Everyone from Hideyoshi, Nene, Oichi, Masamune to Nobunaga himself are present in this game, as well as a myriad of familiar Pokemon that those warriors use to do battle.
The game takes place in the region of Ransei, where Pokemon run free and aren't confined to the inner walls of Pokeballs. The legend goes that a mysterious and legendary Pokemon will appear to those who conquer all of the Kingdoms in the region. Of course, the evil Nobunaga has caught wind of this legend and is also on a conquering spree so that he may plunge the region of Ransei into chaos.
Enter either a young girl or boy, who under the guidance of Oichi want to see Ransei flourish and live (mostly) in harmony, rather than live under the tyranny of Nobunaga. It's up to you to then conquer lands, recruit warriors, train Pokemon, manage your kingdoms and, ultimately, unite the lands of Ransei.
The premise, as whacky as it sounds, is actually quite clever, even though it's silly that these Warriors that you usually witness battling to the death are all of a sudden commanding a legion of Pokemon to do their bidding.
Although I did mention that I'm usually terrible at these sorts of strategy/tactics/management games, Pokemon Conquest manages to still be relatively kid friendly and eases in players who might find this genre relatively foreign to them. There are essentially two parts to Pokemon Conquest — management and battle. Luckily, however, the management portion is in fact not as in-depth, which means you won't spend hours in menus; rather, you'll get to the action much quicker — but more on that later.
The map, which expands as you take over various kingdoms, will be your go-to screen to manage both your character and any recruited warriors along with their Pokemon. Each kingdom will have various amenities available to you, such as shops that contain consumables and equipment, or fields and areas teeming with wild Pokemon and roaming warriors who are able to be recruited. Combining items eventually becomes open to players, which adds a simple crafting element to the game as well. Every time a certain character or Pokemon uses these amenities, however, he or she cannot be used again until the next month (next turn), so choosing how you spend your turn is something that needs to be considered.
Since you amass kingdoms over time, it's safe to say you won't want to tend to each one manually, although you certainly can. Thankfully, you're able to delegate any stationed warriors to do one of three things: train in order to raise stats, search for new Pokemon or warriors to recruit, or develop, which raises a Pokemon's energy, which in turn has an effect on their stats, links and more. These delegations then happen automatically every time a new turn is made, which ensures you just have to focus on the kingdom your main character is currently occupying. You're also able to march selected warriors along with their Pokemon to already claimed kingdoms for increased fortification, or to switch up your main lineup of Pokemon.