Pokemon TCG Online for iPad

Have fun learning and mastering the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online! Practice against the computer or go head to head with your friends or other players from around the world. Unlock cards and decks as you play to build up your collection and make truly unique decks. Your decks and card collection are stored as a part of your Pokemon Trainer Club account, allowing you to switch between iPad and desktop with ease.

Pokemon Trading Card Game Online - A commendable re-contextualising of an already brilliant trading card game that unfolds in the palm of your hands

Whimsicott and Whimsy

Come on now - I'm not going to give you all that rubbish about being a secret Pokémon fan at the age of 26. It's 2014 and I'll be damned if it isn't ok to shout out my love of Pokémon from the god-damned rooftops whilst holding my prized collection of cards: the entire fossil set of the original Pokémon cards from way back when (there used to be a mere 151, remember?). So imagine the delight and borderline whimsy I experienced when the much-loved trading card game hit the iPad, and by extension me, squarely in the face with its promise of effectively re-living the past with the technology of the present.

Cards on the Table

I'll be frank with you from the outset: Pokémon Trading Card Game Online isn't as good as it potentially could have been. Even as an avid Pokémon fan from way back when (I cut my teeth on Red and Blue as well as the real-life trading card game with shiny cards and everything), there are a number of things about it that could simply have been done better. Before I go slating a game from the franchise I love so dearly however, let me bring up some of the good bits.

The single-player campaign in the game is definitely its strong suit. As should always be the case with any game you're playing for the first time it has a sort of ease-in tutorial mode that plunges you into battle, though gently and at the relatively shallow end of course. You get to battle against a non-playable character (i.e. anyone that isn't you, aka the A.I) using some basic cards, getting to grips with utilising energy cards, potions, and of course Pokémon of varying strength. The interface isn't the strongest but the game itself is very, very addictive, and it is this way from the outset.

The initial tutorial-style stages allow you to get accustomed to how the game works as well as serve a more useful purpose: to unlock some more useful cards so that you have a better arsenal to battle with next time around. When you've won a total of 8 times you will then be able to take your skills - as well as the cards you've won along the way - and use them online, just like you would if you were at a real Pokémon World Championships, only things are a little easier here of course.

A Game of Chansey

Perhaps the biggest attraction of this game for most people however is the online experience - the ability to take your Pokémon cards and battle opponents over your network. This section of the game again works very well, bar a few minor delays and some noticeable lag (this has improved a little since the initial release of the game however). The online play allows you to play in a multitude of formats against either friends or random opponents, and you can also enter tournaments where some pretty cool prizes are available.

However you look at it, when it comes down to it a significant part of the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online - this also applies to the real-life card game as well - is chance. You're at the mercy of the cards that are drawn, and they are done so on a random basis. You could end up drawing some mighty cards in one match and dominate over Pokémon that are stronger than you by far; you can also end up drawing some weak ones that are mostly energy cards however, putting you at the mercy of the draw. This is to be expected in this kind of game however, it's just something to take into account when playing as it effectively means the difficulty can be in itself difficult to predict.

Charizard or Cryogonal (aka Hot or Not)?

This part is really what you're waiting for, isn't it? My final judgement on the game is that I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it's Pokémon, so there's a part of my brain that immediately pops on rose-tinted glasses so the game's flaws appear to be softened somewhat.

As a true game however I can see past this gaming equivalent of beer goggles however: the game's design could have had more attention paid to it; the music seems to repeat over and over with none of the character of the main-series games; the pace is too slow for non-paying players; there's also just something missing, as if this was some sort of bootlegged game that didn't come from The Pokémon Company itself

So if you want authenticity that reminds you of the days and days you spent playing the original Pokémon games on the pre-colour Gameboy, I would opt for the hugely nostalgic Pokémon Tower Defense or PTD2. But Pokémon fans out there on the other hand should still love PTD Trading Card Game online because, well, it's Pokémon, and Pokemon is just fantastic.

67/100

Pokemon TCG Online at Pokémon.com