Eight years ago, Pokemon Trozei! was released for the Nintendo DS. After its release, Nintendo never said anything regarding a sequel. Despite that, I, being a big fan of the original, still held hope for one. In a very unexpected turn of events, Nintendo announced a sequel, Pokemon Battle Trozei!, during the February Nintendo Direct. Being a downloadable title, it does not have the diversity of its retail prequel, but Battle Trozei! is a great sequel for fans of the original. For those who are not familiar with the Trozei! series, Pokemon Trozei! (known as Pokemon Link! outside of America) is a match-3 Pokemon game with a different kind of gameplay than most; instead of swapping icons in adjacent rows, players can drag Pokemon heads anywhere on the board that they would like. This leads to a much faster pace than most match-3 games, and eliminates the turn-based gameplay of other match-3 games. Instead, after three or more Pokemon heads are aligned, they glow, and disappear after a few seconds. If you are quick enough, you can even match four or more Pokemon at once before they disappear.
In the first Trozei!, you captured Pokemon and added them to your Pokedex by matching a certain amount of the same Pokemon. In Battle Trozei! works a little differently. In this game, there is a large Pokemon head shown at the top of the screen with a health bar under it. When you match a Pokemon, their head shows up next to it, along with a number. This number is your combo. Every time that you match another set of Pokemon within a few seconds, your combo goes up. Once your combo stops, the first Pokemon that you matched attacks the wild Pokemon on the top screen, dealing damage proportionate to your combo. There is also a typing mechanic like in the main games; it is more beneficial to match Chespin first if you are battling Greninja, but you might want to match a Water type first instead if you are battling a Fire type such as Fennekin. Once a wild Pokemon's health is depleted, you capture them and move on to the next one. There are usually three Pokemon to a stage, but you are able to acquire a Pokemon's evolution (indicated by a glowing silhouette on the stage selection screen) by fulfilling an unspecified criteria. Sometimes you need to knock them out with a super effective attack, sometimes you need to get above a certain combo number, and sometimes you need to do something else. However, getting a combo of 40 or above can be pretty hard if you don't have incredible reflexes, which is why there is the Trozei Chance system. If you match four or more Pokemon at once, then make another match, you initiate the Trozei Chance, which allows you to make matches of only two or more Pokemon for as long as you continue your combo. During the Trozei Chance, Ditto will periodically rain down from the sky, and they can be matched with any Pokemon on the screen. Reaching long combos and capturing all of the Pokemon is crucial, because you can only attain an S Rank in every stage by doing so. You are also required to attain a Critical Capture on every Pokemon in the stage. This means that you need to defeat each Pokemon with only one attack. This can be done much more easily with the help of a super effective attack.
Some Pokemon only evolve if you defeat them with a super effective attack, but that is unable to be done if none of the matchable Pokemon in the stage are of a super effective type. That is why you can choose a Favorite Pokemon on the Pokedex screen. Each Pokemon that you have defeated has a designated power level and type, and you can choose one as your favorite. Your favorite Pokemon will appear in every stage that you play, able to be matched just like any other Pokemon. This is a very useful mechanic that can help you out if your are stuck on a tough Pokemon. Nintendo claims that there is every Pokemon in Battle Trozei!, but as it happens with most Pokemon spin-offs, the three event legendaries (Diancie, Hoopa, and Volcanion) were not included, so there are only 719. With only 10 Zones and 6 Stages per Zone, it does not seem possible to have 719 Pokemon available for capture without some excessively long stages. That is why there is an eleventh Zone with only three Stages, called the Safari Zone. This name may be familiar to fans of the main series, and the theme of the Safari Zones stays with Battle Trozei!. The Safari Zone Stages have exclusive Pokemon available for capture, and the Pokemon they contain change every day. This adds some longevity to the title, and gives you a reason to come back long after you have cleared the main game. The game itself is very fun, and the presentation is great too. The art is nothing special, but the style of the Pokemon is cute and similar to the Dream World art. If you were a fan of that, then you should enjoy the looks of Battle Trozei!. Similar to the art, the music in Battle Trozei! is not incredible, but it is not intrusive either. Unlike the main series', this music is not something that I would leap at the chance to buy on iTunes.
Altogether, Battle Trozei! is not the fantastic, full fledged sequel that I was hoping Pokemon Trozei! would eventually get, but it is certainly a great game, and for only $8, it is a solid purchase. If you are a fan of Pokemon or have some leftover funds on the Nintendo eShop, then I highly suggest you get this game. However, if you are not familiar with the Pokemon series, you might not enjoy this game as much as others, as it is aimed at fans of Pokemon. Maybe you should play the spectacular Pokemon XY instead.