Apple Aracde rescues the cult hit Pokémon developers from the 3DS

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Riders ride horses playing cards and fly overhead.

Image: Game Freak/Nintendo

The first gameplay surprise of 2023 is here, and it’s surprisingly nice: pocket card jockey is coming to Apple Arcade on January 20. Game Freak’s experimental 3DS game stands out for being a lot of fun and one of the studio’s only non-Pokémon releases, and Apple’s continued exercise in subscription gaming is now poised to save it from death. nintendo dead platform.

pocket card jockey is a mix of horse racing and solitaire. You play as a man who dies and comes back to life to use his card playing skills to help his horse win races. He sounds absurd and he is. But it’s also brilliant in that it shows that Game Freak knows his way around more than just iterating on Pokemon aftermath

Apple announced the port to iOS, called Go ahead!, on Tuesday, and while the gameplay will remain the same, horse racing will now be rendered in 3D. It’s the perfect kind of pickup for the platform’s subscription service, rewarding players who signed up with a hidden gem without ruining a beloved formula with ads or microtransactions.

Pocket Card Jockey – Launch Trailer: Available Now!

Players compete in each horse race by clearing stacks of cards, with their corresponding horse performing better the more cards they are able to pass. Thats not all. Certain cards also provide bonuses, improve performance, raise the horse’s level, or give it new abilities. There’s even horse breeding, because while cards are forever, a horse’s life isn’t.

Done Kotakuthe 2016 list of “The Weirdest 3DS Games You Might Have Missedwith former editor-in-chief, Stephen Totilo, praising the gameplay as “strategic and surprisingly deep.” But why does it exist in the first place? Why does Game Freak, the studio, continually release new Pokemon best seller, does it take you long to ship a $7 microgame?

The studio has an internal system called “Gear Project” where employees form teams and submit game projects. Those approved then get the green light for full development. In addition to Pocket Card Jockey, games like HarmoKnight, Tembo The Badass Elephant, and Giga Wrecker were also born out of this process. Game Freak programmer and director Masayuki Onoue previously said in a Interview with CVG that helped the staff build their expertise in creating original games and get back to the Pokemon “revamped” series.

The most recent game released this way was small town hero for Switch in 2019. Another card-based hybrid, it was a fun little tactical RPG with lovely visuals and a soundtrack of under the storyis Toby Fox. Hopefully the current onslaught of Pokemon The games, and their clear need for more development time and polish, don’t stop Game Freak from continuing to experiment with weird one-off projects in the future.

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