Oct 23rd, 2014

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire logos

Following in the footsteps of Bravely Default, Nintendo has released a playable demo of the upcoming Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, creatively titled Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Special Demo. Like the Bravely Default demo that inspired it, it takes place outside of the main story of the game and assigns the player a series of minor tasks in order to give them a small taste of what Pokémon’s gameplay is like and the ability to transfer over some rewards to the main games once they comes out.

Of course, Nintendo has also followed in the footsteps of their Tomodachi Life and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS demos, and instead of putting the demo on the eShop, are releasing limited numbers of demo codes via various channels. Here’s a list of all the ways you can get a code should you desire one. Although that list isn’t quite complete, as I got my code via email today because I had signed up for the “Official Pokémon Trainer Club.”

Gameplay

The gameplay is simple enough, and if you’ve ever played a Pokémon game in your life, you’ll have a pretty good handle on it. You start off in Mossdeep City, where you, a young trainer named Orlando, are recruited by Champion Steven to help him prevent Team Magma and Team Aqua from capturing a Pokémon capable of Mega Evolution. To help you in this task, you’re given a starter Pokémon that’s one level from it’s final evolution. You go through a fairly linear cave fighting a series of incredibly easy battles against some grunts before facing two admins, who aren’t particularly difficult either. You’re given a Mega Stone along the way so you can test out Mega-Evolutions as well. You then capture the Pokémon they were looking for: Glalie, in a scripted sequence which allows you to catch it automatically with the first Poké Ball.

You’re then whisked back to the title screen, but told that you can continue playing for more adventures. Pressing start will take you back to Mossdeep City, where Steven will ask if you want to go on another adventure, he’ll also let you know he gave you the final evolutions of the other two starting Pokémon, in order to compliment your Glalie and original starter.

For this “adventure,” he’ll take you to a tiny a tiny island where you have to fight three easy trainers to help them train. You then go back to the title screen again and are free to press start again and go on another adventure. There are nine of these little “adventures,” and each one involves visiting a tiny island, completely disconnected from the main game, and completing some inane task, like finding a lost child or Pokémon along with fighting some trainers, who you will always outlevel by 5 to 10 levels Levels don’t carry over from adventure to adventure, so there’s really no reason to fight when it’s not required. Every couple of “adventures” you complete, you get a few more rewards to send to the main game, including the Glalie and a Mega Stone to evolve it with, several Poké Balls and Heals Balls, and some Heart Scales.

Between adventures you can wander around Mossdeep City, but there is literally nothing to do there, aside from talk to some NPCs.

Story and Characters

There’s not much of a story to speak of. Like the Bravely Default demo, the gameplay here is separate from the story in the full game. Unlike that demo though, there is nothing really tying in the demo’s story to that of the main game. You just go on little context-free “adventures” with Steven on tiny islands disconnected in any way from the world presented in the games.

Even the island of Mossdeep is mostly desolate, there are a few NPCs, but almost none of consequence. A few interesting NPCs do pop up in Mossdeep after certain adventures including a few Gym Leaders and some characters from the story. If you’ve played the original Ruby of Sapphire, you might find some of the NPCs dialogue somewhat interesting at least, since some of them actually make minor references to the storyline of the game. They’re small and easy to miss, but they’re there. Otherwise there’s not much point.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I can’t really recommend this demo to most players, unless you really need a Mega Glalie. While the most bare-bones elements of the series are there, the things that truly make the series great: catching Pokémon, training Pokémon, exploring the world, or even battling with any strategy are all absent. The demo just feels boring, repetitive, and pointless.

I’m not even sure why there needs to be a demo, anyone who’s played Pokémon knows how the game is played. This isn’t so different that you need a demo for it.

I suppose if you’ve never played Pokémon before this might be as good a way as any to see what the series is about, but just be warned most of the magic of Pokémon isn’t here. Also, let me just say to our hypothetical person who’s never played Pokémon before: Welcome comrade, to the distant year of 2014! Your rickety Soviet-era time machine has clearly malfunctioned and sent you rocketing to the distant future,  and I’m sorry to tell you this, but the Soviet Union has fallen, capitalism has won. But do not despair, for we have video games now! Just a tip, only play games from Nintendo, games from Sony or Microsoft are full capitalist pig-dog lies.

But how about you guys, do you have any thoughts? Have any of you had the chance to play it yet, if so what did you think? Let us know!

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