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Pokémon Puzzle Collection
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Togepi's Great Adventure
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Legacy

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Togepi's Great Adventure (トゲピーのだいぼうけん) - Pokémon Mini (2002)

Japanese Pokémon Mini Cover

Togepi's Great Adventure is the only Pokémon Mini game with a story, albeit a rather silly one. Togepi is playing in the forest minding his own business when he is suddenly picked up by a passing Fearow - a bad tempered bird - and taken to its nest at the top of a nearby tower (whether Togepi has been mistaken for one of Fearow's eggs, or is to become its lunch is not made clear.) While trying to escape, Togepi trips on a rock and starts rolling down the tower, and so our great adventure begins.

The aim of the game is to guide our rolling hero through a series or mazes, reaching the exit before the timer runs out. There are various hazards to avoid along the way and most levels are littered with pits to fall down. There's no penalty for falling off the stage, you're just placed back at the beginning of the room, but your timer won't be reset so if you keep falling you will eventually run out of time. Levels start out pretty simple, giving you time to get to grips with the twitchy controls. Movement is very sensitive and to begin with it's easy to build up too much momentum and catapult off the edge of the stage. The core mechanics are simple, requiring only movement with the D-Pad, but the varied and imaginative level design keeps things fresh and a wide array of hazards are gradually introduced as you progress. There are arrow tiles that push you in a given direction, cracked tiles that disappear after you roll over them, moving platforms, bumpers, infuriating slippery ice, switches that must be pressed to unlock the exit, sink holes that you must shake the console to escape from, and so on. Most entertaining are the rival Pokemon, who must be knocked off the stage or occasionally rolled onto a switch. There's even a recurring boss where you battle the dragon Pokémon Charizard (who amusingly also started his rolling journey by tripping on a rock.) There's also a degree of visual variety between stages, with some being set in a forest, on a rocky mountain, or by the sea. It makes a nice change from the more abstract games on the system like Pokémon Pinball Mini.

There are three towers to play through, the Tower of Origin, the Tower of Adventure and the rather ominously named (in the fan translation at least) Tower of Ordeal. Each tower contains numerous stages some of which are broken up into several rooms. Progression is linear so if you get stuck on a particularly tough stage there's no option to pick a different one and come back to it later. This isn't a problem early on where levels are pretty forgiving but midway through the 2nd tower the difficulty ramps up considerably, with time limits getting tighter and hazard placement becoming more fiendish. Eventually you're bound to hit a wall. Don't let the charming exterior fool you, Togepi's Great Adventure wants you dead, and with almost 200 stages to play through reaching the ending will be no mean feat! You can take a breather by replaying earlier levels and trying to beat you best time. It's a nice feature and pretty much the only source of replay value as there are no alternative game modes outside the main adventure.

Overall Togepi's Great Adventure is one of the most charming and well designed games on the Pokémon Mini, as well as being probably the longest. Unfortunately it is also the rarest and finding a copy can be difficult (and insanely pricey.) If you can find a way to experience it though the game is a blast.

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  • Jupiter

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Togepi's Great Adventure

Togepi's Great Adventure

Togepi's Great Adventure

Togepi's Great Adventure


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Pokémon Breeder Mini (ポケモンそだてやさんミニ) - Pokémon Mini (2002)

Japanese Pokémon Mini Cover

The Pokémon Mini was often mistaken for a Tamagotchi and it's somewhat ironic that this is exactly what the console became with its swansong title. Pokémon Breeder Mini is a virtual pet game where you are tasked with raising and training one of three Pokémon; Mudkip, Torchic or Treecko (the starter Pokémon from the then newly released Game Boy Advance titles, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.) Mileage may vary with this one. If the idea of blowing bubbles at a virtual gecko and watching it chase them across the screen sounds adorable (it is) then this is the game for you. If on the other hand you like your games to contain mentally stimulating puzzles or tests of physical dexterity then look away now (there are none.)

At the beginning of the game you are visited by professor Birch who gives you an egg and asks you to look after it for him. Once you hatch the egg it's time to start raising your new charge. The game plays out in real time using the Pokémon Mini's built in clock function and your Pokemon needs to be fed several times a day in order to keep its energy up. They also need to sleep after strenuous activities, such as chasing bubbles. Thankfully there's little penalty for neglecting your pet, they'll simply flop on the floor and refuse to do anything until you've fed them or put them to bed. It's a nice change from the rather more hardcore Tamagotchi model, where virtual creatures could easily starve to death, leaving many a traumatized child in their wake.

You interact with your Pokemon via a disembodied hand which is moved around the screen using the D-Pad and you can pick up, pet, or beckon them by pressing the A button. Feed your Pokémon and they will become dirty and must be cleaned with the brush, play games or exercise with them and they'll get tired and need to be put in their basket to rest. There is also a toy box containing various items you collect along the way such as a little car for them to drive around in. Some of these are amusingly cruel, like the toy ghost which can be used to scare you poor pet, or the bucket which can be dropped on their head. Not exactly the best training procedure.

Your Pokémon responds to all these actions with an array of charming animations, it's fun to mess around with the environment to see how they will react. Even when left to their own devices there is a wonderful sense of life to your virtual pet as they waddle around the room, stand on their head, or chirrup for your attention. The level of detail is pretty impressive and shows that while the Mini was underpowered next to other game consoles of the time it was a veritable super computer compared with a simple LCD Tamagotchi.

As well as being charming and funny, interactions with your Pokemon cause their stats to grow. You can increase their Love, Strength, Intelligence or Beauty by doing various things. For example, excessive brushing boost their beauty while forcing them to climb the stairs will give them higher strength. Each toy will effect a different stat as well, and when you receive a new one you can call Professor Birch for an explanation of what is does. Another way to boost stats is with Pokeblocs, a special kind of Pokémon food obtained by connecting with another console via infrared. Interestingly you can also connect with other infrared devices such as TV remotes.

The training mechanic makes Pokémon Breeder Mini much more objective focused than many sim titles and there is even an end game, which can be reach by maxing out three of your Pokémon's stats. This will cause them to 'grow up' and Professor Birch will come and collect them. You can then pick a new monster and start all over again. Each Pokémon you raise will be added to a gallery on the menu screen with a picture of their new owner.

Pokémon Breeder Mini is the most text heavy of the Japanese games and since a lot of the mechanics are explained via in-game text it can be quite a baffling experience. There is a fan translation available but playing through an emulator removes the portability which is pretty integral for this type of game. The best way to enjoy Pokémon Breeder Mini is on the original hardware either via a flash cart or playing the Japanese version with an FAQ to hand.

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  • Jupiter

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Pokémon Breeder Mini

Pokémon Breeder Mini

Pokémon Breeder Mini

Pokémon Breeder Mini

Pokémon Breeder Mini


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Legacy (Pokémon Channel & Homebrew

Nintendo's various hardware blunders are often fondly referenced in the companies games. For example; Rob The Robot and the Virtual Boy turn up in the Mario Kart and WarioWare series among others. By contrast, the Pokémon Mini has been all but forgotten since its release. The console did make a notable appearance in Pokémon Channel, a virtual pet game for the GameCube where the player spends most of their time watching TV with Pikachu. The game contained a fully functioning Pokémon Mini emulator and pared down versions of several games. Using Pokémon Channel an enterprising group of ROM hackers managed to reverse engineer an emulator of their own and this led to the emergence of a small but passionate homebrew community. They have designed a handful of original games for the system, and even attempted ports of R-type and Sonic The Hedgehog! Sadly most of these projects remain unfinished but if nothing else they show that the Pokémon mini had incredible untapped potential.

PokeSonic


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Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Pokémon Mini
Pokémon Mini Party Mini
Pokémon Pinball Mini

Page 2:
Pokémon Puzzle Collection
Pokémon Zany Cards
Pokémon Tetris

Page 3:
Pokémon Puzzle Collection Vol. 2
Pokémon Race Mini
Pichu Bros. mini

Page 4:
Togepi's Great Adventure
Pokémon Breeder Mini
Legacy

Discuss on the Forums!

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