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3DS  header logo

Pokemon Dream Radar

For: 3DS

To Sleep mode, perchance to Dream Radar

Product: Pokemon Dream Radar | Publisher: Nintendo | Format: 3DS | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Pokemon Dream Radar 3DS, thumbnail 1
I hesitated about whether or not to review Pokemon Dream Radar here on Pocket Gamer, and with good reason.

You see, this new motion-controlled AR shooting game from Nintendo almost feels like DLC for another title (Pokemon Black and White 2) as opposed to a standalone product.

But, here I am, writing a critical piece in which I espouse its virtues, list any shortcomings, and assign it a score.

Why? Well, because Pokemon Dream Radar is actually something more than a cynical cash-in, and because this companion piece does significantly enhance the experience of Pokemon Black and White 2.

It also represents Nintendo's first clumsy steps towards a business model that dabbles with freemium mechanics.


Here's the thing: if you don't own Pokemon Black and White 2, you should forget that this title exists. The goal in Pokemon Dream Radar is to catch Pokemon and other items for use in the abovementioned RPG-lite affair.

You're given the Dream Radar by a scientist who advises you that she wants to find legendary Pokemon in a reality that's somewhere between ours and Veridian City. Existing between these are strange clouds that, when you shoot them, release bubbles of energy or expose Pokemon that lie hidden within.

To shoot them, you enter an augmented reality, using the cameras on the 3DS to look around your surroundings and keep a watchful eye out for clouds in your vicinity.

When you spot one, you tap the A button to fire a laser. This either breaks the cloud up into orbs, or starts the process of catching a Pokemon.

To zap these orbs, you tap the A button once again - shooting them quickly can also ensure one of them splits into more energy balls. If you've got a keen eye, you can repeat this process multiple times, greatly increasing the amount you find with each scan of an area.

After you uncover a Pokemon, the game becomes a fishing title of sorts. A large glowing circle of energy begins darting about the screen (or appears in the flesh in the case of legendary Pokemon), and you need to keep your reticle on it while hammering the A button. If you're successful, that particular pocket monster is all yours.

Do Porygons dream of electric Mareep?

You can exchange the orbs you collect for Dream Radar upgrades that include more opportunities to catch Pokemon, and a longer period of time in which you can continue smashing away on the fire button until the Pokemon eventually escapes. There are also single-use power ups that yield similar bonuses.

The Pokemon you catch can range from the useless to the mighty, and each of them can be transferred to Pokemon Black and White 2 using this method. If you're a super-fan of the series, it's incredibly useful, and a nice break between grinding out XP in the main game.

There's a catch, of course: you must wait for the clouds to rebuild after a scan, or (and here's where the freemium bit comes in) you can refill the area via a purchase using Play Coins.

It's a little frustrating when you simply want to get in and catch something cool, but, hey, you should be amassing Play Coins all the time by taking your 3DS out with you, anyway.

Given Pokemon Dream Radar's decent presentation and the fact it's priced cheaply, if you already own Pokemon Black and White 2, then this will make for a solid purchase to sit on your memory card and for dipping in and out of to try and nab something interesting.

If you passed on the latest edition of the main game, though (perhaps you're of this school of thought), Pokemon Dream Radar doesn't work well enough as a standalone release to warrant purchase.
Pokemon Dream Radar
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 29 October 2012
Ultimately pointless if you don't own Pokemon Black and White 2, Pokemon Dream Radar is, however, an absolute must-buy for Pokefans
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