Pocket Rumble will hit you like a punch to the back of your head. Touted as being the accessible fighting game for a broader audience, the simplified controls will not save you from a brutally-difficult arcade mode AI and wonky matchmaking that will pair newbies up with top-tier competition. Simpler special move inputs will not spare you from having to climb the mountain in order to “git gud”.
The mountain is still steep, but you don’t have to climb it blind. Hopefully these tips will get you on the right track!
While the game is promoted as being a two-button fighter, the game gives you configuration options to use more. Two buttons can be mapped as “tap only”, and a third can be mapped as L+H together. I would recommend using all three. Mapping two buttons as tap only gives you a clear distinction between normal moves and special moves. The tap buttons can work freely as normal moves without worrying about holding the button down too long and getting a special move instead. For the latter, I map it to right trigger for easy access to my meter, but it’s probably better to map it to a single button of your choice rather than hitting two buttons at once.
Start With Tenchi
Pocket Rumble‘s strongest asset is its characters. While the roster is only nine deep so far, each character is wildly unique from one another. Of those in the game so far, Tenchi is the best character to start with. Since he’s been intentionally designed to emulate Ryu from the Street Fighter games, you probably already have a base understanding for how the character works. Play as him to get a general feel for how the game plays and then venture off elsewhere if you so choose.
Unlike most fighting games, every character in Pocket Rumble possesses a unique meter that works in different ways. Tenchi has one that will be familiar to most, as he gains access to a super fireball once his meter is full. Other characters have wildly different meters. Naomi can fill hers up by pressing L+H, giving her access to more powerful versions of her regular moves. Quinn gets a full meter at the start of each round that he can spend for a limited-time ability of turning into a werewolf. June fills hers up by collecting red flames that are created when she hits you. Once that’s full, she creates a shadow of herself that can mirror the last special move she performed. Understanding how these meters work will go a long way towards playing as and fighting against the Pocket Rumble roster.
In a game with a lower execution barrier, having the ability to consistently perform combos becomes an even more critically important skill. You don’t want to just practice the longest or craziest combos, either. What you really want to develop is your ability to generate combos in every possible situation. Just as a loose list, here are a few scenarios where you will want to have a combo ready:
- You hit the opponent with a standing attack
- ” ” with a crouching attack
- ” ” with a jumping attack
- ” ” with a cross-up
- ” ” and have meter to spend
- ” ” with a meaty attack (at the very end of a move’s active frames)
- When your block an unsafe move and can punish for free
Start by practicing in training mode, then in actual fights, try and get into the habit of performing each combo as the scenarios arise. With practice, your ability to score maximum damage should become automatic!
With Great Power…
Having the ability to throw a fireball or perform a flash kick with a simple input is a huge selling point of Pocket Rumble. However, spamming special moves, as with any other fighting game, is a quick way to get knocked out. For all the benefits you get from being able to hit someone from full-screen with a fireball, its slow start-up and recover gives players within jumping distance enough time to sail over the fireball and kick you in the head. Every special move has its pros and cons, as well as appropriate times to use them. Put in the homework to determine when is the best time for each move to maximize your overall ability.