Gotta catch ‘em all!
It’s impossible to ignore Pokemon’s influence on mobile games - The cute, sprightly turn-based battles are simple enough to emulate, and the rock-paper-scissors style element system (which has become ridiculously, albeit awesomely complex) has been lovingly re-created in many a clone.
And “Pocket Mortys” is no exception. However, the game knows this. It’s kind of the point.
It’s a fun little FREE Pokemon Clone for mobile. Need I say more?
Oh. You actually want to know more? Well, alright then.
“This all seems so cruel!”
During an unrelated experiment, Rick and Morty become aware of a secret cabal of alternate universe Ricks who are on a quest to catch and train various Mortys. And because Rick is a alcoholic scientist of dubious ethics, he joins in, pitting his grandson against the hordes of other Mortys.
These Mortys come in all shapes and sizes. There’s Red Shirt Morty, Veiny Morty, Greaser Morty, Scruffy Morty, and Old Morty.
Each Morty comes with a specific element. Throwing out the complex rock-paper-scissors model of Pokemon in favor of a more simple, literal element system, each Morty’s element is either Rock, Paper, or Scissors.
They run around on the maze-like maps, feral, frantic, and afraid. It’s your job to beat them to within an inch of their lives and implant a “Morty Manipulator Chip” (ahem, Pokeball) to catch them. Wherein they either join your party or end up in daycare.
While in daycare, they can be “combined” with other Mortys to evolve them and gain enhanced stats and powers.
However, Rick and his Multiverse counterparts are not the only trainers - There’s an entire host of baddies from the show who are just itching to throw their Mortys at yours! Simply walk in proximity to another trainer and BAM, they waltz up like Pokemon Trainers to fight.
There’s a relatively complex crafting system, item vendors, and (of course) pay-to-win vending machines. There’s a rather silly amount of content, and at the center of it all they’re parodying the cruelty inherent in Pokemon: Enslaved beasts pitted against each other in combat for the entertainment of the world.
It’s utterly ridiculous.
“You know what they say, ‘He who smelt it, dealt it?’ You know what I’m talkin’ about Morty?”
The music is friggin’ excellent. Jazz breaks, bleeps and bloops, funky breakdowns, and silly 80’s rock for literally no apparent reason.
The sprites and animations are on-point. They’ve got that same chibi cuteness of Pokemon sprites, and the different Mortys and Ricks are often laugh-out-loud awesome.
Unfortunately, the combat becomes tiresome without the Pokemon-level of complexity in elements. Rock beats Scissors; Scissors beats Paper; Paper beats Rock. Yawn.
The voice acting is fresh and entertaining for approximately 30 minutes. After which, you’ll start hearing the same joke told over and over and over again. I understand the constraints of the mobile platform and game size and whatnot, but did the 4 or 5 different ambient jokes really need to be cycled once every few minutes?
Items (such as the aforementioned Morty Manipulator Chip) are in short supply; You’ll need to craft or purchase them. Materials are strewn about each world, but, again, are in short supply. Look, I know it’s a mobile game and you wanna make money off of folks wanting to continue with content, but I’m a cheap bastard, and I’m immune to your wiles, damn it!
Yes, Rick moves slowly, just like the protagonist in Red/Blue. Yes, the uncertainty of catching a Morty becomes a thrill in and of itself (though unlike in Pokemon, the Morty Manipulator Chip seems to have a much, MUCH higher success rate than the standard Pokeball -- which is good, because the damned things are hard to come by). These tropes are trotted out and put on display. Haha! Get it? It’s another Pokemon joke! Get it? ...Get it?
Yes, game. We get it. Just because you’re parodying a game or a specific trope does not mean you should find yourself limited by those same tropes. This is the reason why South Park: The Stick of Truth was such a gem. Yeah, it parodied old-school turn based RPGs, but the variety of combat flipped the genre on its head and made the gameplay interesting.
Here, you have literally a stripped-down Pokemon game.
For a mobile, it works. You can pick up and play at your leisure, and find enough variance in activity to keep you interested for about 5 minutes at a time.
Anything more, and it all starts feeling rather samey.
Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. It’s a mobile Pokemon Clone, and until Pokemon Go! comes out later this year, it will have to suffice.
Also. It’s FREE.