Video Game: Pokémon Trozei!

It's like Puzzle League, but different.

Pokémon Tro-o-zei, move real fast now don't go slow.
Pokémon Tro-o-zei, four in a row and you're good to go.
The U.S. commercial for the original game.

Pokémon Trozei!, known as Pokémon Link! in Europe, is a puzzle game series developed by Genius Sonority. Players use the touch screen to move Pokémon around the playing field, with the aim of making matches. The number of Pokémon required for a match depends on the game and difficulty level, but a successful match triggers a Trozei Chance, a short period of time where fewer Pokémon are required for a match.

The first game in the series, Pokémon Trozei! was released in Japan for the Nintendo DS in 2005, and internationally the following year. It follows SOL agent Lucy Fleetfoot, who has been tasked with rescuing kidnapped Pokémon from the Phobos Battalion. She accomplishes this by using a device called the Trozei Beamer, which teleports groups of Pokémon back to SOL headquarters.

To many people's surprise, a Nintendo 3DS sequel named Pokémon Battle Trozei! was released in March of 2014. In this game, the player battles and captures wild Pokémon. The wild target's hit points are lowered by creating matches, but it may attack the playing field in turn, which lowers the player's health. Once a Pokémon's hit points are reduced to zero, it may be captured.

Another game in the series on 3DS, Pokémon Shuffle, was released in 2015, with gameplay based primarily on Battle Trozei but based more on using a limited number of moves and building combos than on clearing the board. The game is also free-to-play, with a hearts system and microtransactions similar to many mobile phone games. Speaking of mobile phone games, Shuffle finally did get an iOS and Android port in August of 2015.

Tropes used in the Pokémon Trozei! games:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: The third Safari event in Shuffle includes stages that yield high amounts of coins (Staryu) and EXP (Starmie). They aren't encountered frequently enough to be used for regular grinding, but they do make the hunt for the others (especially Garchomp and Phione) feel like less of a waste of time and Hearts.
  • Anti-Grinding: Skilled Shuffle players may get to the point where they can blaze through the new levels, so the game puts in measures to either stall them, or make some money out of them. For example, once you advance far enough, even some Com Mons have extremely low capture rates, leaving the player with the option to forge ahead without catching it, or using up turns to repeat the level and catch it. Normally, forging ahead is fine...until you hit levels where a Pokemon is near-nigh impossible to capture without having one particular Pokemon on your support team. For example, the Spewpa level, with only three turns, is nearly impossible without the Scatterbug on the level preceding it. Players must either cross their fingers and hope that their team can do it without Scatterbug, burn through hearts repeating the Scatterbug level, or spend Coins on boosts to even the odds. And then there's S-Ranking, the only way to unlock the Expert stages.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : Like many free to play games, Shuffle utilizes a "Hearts" system where you spend one Heart to play a stage. The Hearts recharge over time at a rate of 1 per 30 minutes, and you can hold a maximum of five rechargeable Hearts at any one time (though you can stock up a backup supply that through streetpasses and other free hearts.) However, you can spend Gems to get more Hearts, allowing you to exceed the five Heart cap.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In Shuffle, some stages only allow you to carry up to three support Pokémon instead of the usual four.
  • Bonus Boss: Shuffle's EX Stages, where you get the chance to fight Legendary Pokemon, fully-evolved Starter Pokemon, or otherwise powerful or popular Pokemon. The difficulty between stages can vary (Swampert won't give a seasoned player much trouble, Blaziken can be pure hell), and you may need to get adjusted to the different rules—you can make any move within a time limit, instead of only being able to make matches within a turn limit.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: In Shuffle, Milotic, full stop. All outside tiles and the four tiles in the middle are frozen with Feebas you start the stage, giving you very little room to move. Using the absurdly weak and ineffective Feebas instead of another pokemon who's strong against Water types is almost the only way to actually beat it without buying more moves with gems. Good luck.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Many of the event-based Pokémon and stones are not actually better than the others, and are more valued by completionists. One notable example is Manectric. It's a rare encounter in a Safari event that lasted for a few weeks, followed by a competition where a limited number of top scores earned its Mega Stone. However, anyone who was able to get it and its stone should have no trouble getting Ampharos and its Mega Stone in the main stages, you can only use one Mega Evolution at a time, and Ampharos is a stronger Electric-type.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Downplayed in Shuffle. The game is free to play, but via Microtransactions, you can purchase Gems from the shop to use in game. Gems can be spent on more Hearts (see Anti-Poop Socking ), or can be traded in for a payload of Coins, which in turn, can be used to purchase helpful items. However, the Coins used to buy help items are generally easy to come by, and you can earn a large amount twice per week by tuning in on Saturday and Sunday and battling Event Meowth. Additionally, the game is truly free to play, in that there's nothing in the game that can't be accessed without paying for it.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Escalation Battles in Shuffle, for those insistent on getting all the prizes. They start out easy enough, and it's not too hard to get the prizes before the last Mega Speedup, but, true to their name, they gradually get harder each time you play, and around level 50 (Giratina) or 161 (Cresselia), moving forward without items becomes a pipe dream. The fact that you have to go through 40-50 more of these levels to get the final Mega Speedup renders the task completely impossible without IA Ps or serious poop-socking (especially in Cresselia's case); as such, most players don't even bother.
  • Cap: In Shuffle, the maximum amount of coins you can have is 99,999.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Lucy Fleetfoot does not appear in Battle Trozei! or Shuffle.
    • Amelia the reporter serves as a Justified Tutorial for the first ten stages of Shuffle and has yet to appear again in the game.
  • Completely Different Title: Pokémon Shuffle is actually called PokéToru (combination of Pocket Monsters and the word toru (とる, possibly means "to capture")) in Japan. For the mobile port, Pokémon Shuffle Mobile is called PokéToru Smart Phone in Japan.
  • Critical Hit: In Shuffle, there's a chance "Super Catch Power" will occur if you initially fail to capture a Pokémon, but have enough money to afford a Great Ball. Where-as a Great Ball doubles your capture rate, a Super Catch Power increases it by about 2.3x. If a capture rate of 25% turns to 50%, then a Super Catch Power ups that to about 63% or so. Additionally, a Pokemon will normally run away after escaping from a Poké Ball, but you can keep trying to throw Great Balls so long as you can afford them.
  • Crutch Character:
    • Mega Kangaskhan in Shuffle. It's available early on, easy to catch, and sees a lot of use in the beginning-to-mid stages for its nifty effect that clears large chunks of tiles, but is eventually left in the dust by other Megas, owing to its Normal-type (meaning no super effective hits), its slow power creep (struggles to get past 60 attack power when other Pokémon with 70-80+ are available at level 1), and the conditions that its effect requires to work properly (it has to be lined up in a column to erase five columns to the left and right, which is extremely unhelpful when trying to beat a level with frozen tiles).
    • Also in Shuffle, Mega Sableye. While its base form has the ability Risk Taker (which does either double or half normal damage randomly when it activates), its O pattern Mega power helps clear out otherwise unbreakable obstacles and builds up a fair bit of damage from the large number of tiles it clears out. Besides that, it has a tendency to set up very large chains quite easily, especially with Complexity -1 selected.
    • Mega Lucario, assuming you're one of the lucky 30,000 players to have earned the mega stone, is most likely to be used more than anyone else after stage 135, because many of the pokemon after that point are weak to fighting types.
      • Even better in Shuffle Mobile, where starting from the mobile version's launch, you're given a passcode (in the 3DS Shuffle's Check In notification) that can be used there (as long as the passcode isn't "expired") to instantly claim a Lucarionite. Keep in mind that Lucario itself (has 70 base power) is available as soon as you've S-ranked 12 stages, which is rather early. You still need a rather strong team to tackle its stage, however, due to being an Expert stage, but if you can capture it that early, get ready to sweep through several early stages.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Albens Town in Shuffle re-uses the background from the first area, Puerto Blanco.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory:
    • The games have different methods by which you move Pokémon around the board. In the original, you move them in any of the four cardinal directions and try to line up matches, while Battle Trozei! and Shuffle have you swap their positions instead. Moving from one system to the other can be very jarring.
    • Pokémon that have two types in the main games only have one type from Battle Trozei! onwards, which can be disorienting since type matchups play a crucial role in the gameplay.
  • Depending on the Artist: The first game makes it rather obvious that Lucy Fleetfoot has a rather exaggerated art style compared to the Pokémon who retain their own distinguishable art style.
  • Difficulty By Acceleration: The infinite modes speed up as the player reaches higher levels.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Battle Trozei! starts using Legendary Pokemon as bosses in world 3.
    • Mega Ampharos in Pokémon Shuffle. The stage is 90% frozen tiles, and they're refrozen as quickly as you can thaw them.
    • Mega Gengar in Shuffle as well. It keeps the middle two columns frozen nearly at all times, and Mega Sableye is the only Mega Pokemon who's Super Effective against Gengar. His mega ability is nearly useless because of the pattern.
    • The original game gets one on 4th General.
  • DRM: Shuffle Mobile, unlike the 3DS version, cannot be played offline.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Shuffle demonstrates this quite well. Many of the standard Pokemon Main Stages are fairly simplistic, being mildly challenging at worst. The Mega Evolved Pokemon, on the other hand, tend to be magnitudes more difficult than most of the other levelsnote , with a particular few, like Mega Mawile and Mega Glalie, being a mix of Nintendo Hard and Luck-Based Mission with a dash of Character Select Forcing. After Mega Glalie comes Mega Gengar, who combines the worst of all the above-mentioned tropes. See Difficulty Spike above. Much later after Gengar comes Mega Aerodactyl, where Mega Mawile is most likely your only option of using if you weren't able to get a limited edition Lucarionite or Venusaurite.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: The sequels utilize this, though to a lesser extent than the main games in that you just have to remember the basic type matchups.
  • Endless Game: Endless and Forever modes in the original, and Infinite Ruins in Battle Trozei!.
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Excuse Plot: The first game features a SOL agent named Lucy Fleetfoot, who must rescue boxed Pokemon from the evil Phobos Battalion by matching four of the same Pokemon in a row. Battle Trozei! didn't even bother with a plot.
  • Final Boss: The first game had Baron Phobos. Battle Trozei's final boss is supposedly Xerneas and Yveltal. However, the screen slowly scrolls up and some awesome boss music plays. And then out comes Zygarde, the final boss of Battle Trozei.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Or rather, Trozei them all. They're Pokémon games, of course.
    • Back to catching in Battle Trozei! and Shuffle, where defeating a Pokemon gives you a chance to capture it, then use it against other Pokemon.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Shuffle, Disruptions that cause your own Pokémon tiles to transform can cause this. This may happen because of two things: 1) The transformed tiles match in a row and damage the opponent, and may possibly start a combo, or 2) the resulting Pokémon's type is super effective against the opponent. The latter is even more hilarious if the opponent and the Disruption Pokémon are both of a type super effective against itself, like Ghost or Dragon.
  • Interface Screw: Bosses in Trozei can use a "Jammer" move that temporarily turns all Pokémon shapes into silhouettes. Some of the expert stages in Shuffle such as Blaziken include puffs of black smoke hiding certain tiles from view. You can still just see the edges of the pokemon beneath the cloud, and touching the tile will reveal what it is because you "pick up" that pokemon.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: In Battle Trozei!, Espeon and Solrock only appear during the day, and Umbreon and Lunatone only appear at night. Additionally, the Safari Jungle has a different set of wild Pokémon every day of the week.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • Legendaries in the original are this, if one wants to complete the National Pokédex. They only appear very rarely, and only under very specific circumstances.
    • Shuffle requires getting an S rank on 150 stages to unlock Mewtwo, one of the final Pokemon unlocked in the Expert stages. You'll obtain Mewtwonite Y long before you fight Mewtwo himself.
    • During a Safari event, this takes effect once you've managed to capture around 3/5 or 4/7 of the 5 or 7 featured Pokémon. See the Luck-Based Mission entry for why.
  • Lost Forever:
    • Shuffle introduces new Legendary pokemon, usually a new one each month, before moving onto the next one. There are so many legendaries in the series already, and the game hasn't existed long enough to even get close to reusing old ones that have already been cycled out. As of July of 2015, Mew, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Keldeo, Giratina, Manaphy, Celebi, Dialga, Shaymin, and Regirock have already come and gone.
    • Likewise, there are also competitions held every few weeks to obtain mega stones for Pokemon that only appear in the Expert stages or are not obtained through regular stage progression. Pokemon such as Charizard, Blastoise, Venusaur, Sceptile, Blaziken, Swampert, Scizor, Pinsir, Absol, and Lucario. You have to score high enough to rank within the top 30,000 players to get the mega stone, or else you get a Gem as a consolation. There are significantly less Mega stones to collect than there are Legendary Pokemon, so it's heavily implied that the chance will come again if you missed out the first time.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In Shuffle, the Safari events count. Each such event contains 5 (7 in the third such event) Pokémon species to be captured, but which Pokémon that will appear per access is randomized from the 5-Pokémon (or 7-Pokémon) pool. Also, because of this, the "Optimize" button doesn't show up whenever you try to play a Safari event, forcing you to try to use your strongest Pokémon at that point and switch between types once you get to learn the featured Pokémon types. However, once you've figured out all featured Pokémon by yourself (or by looking at a guide) you might notice their in-common weakness due to having types that are weak to a certain type (except for one, usually, and so far it's always a Normal-type), allowing you to stick with a fixed team of Pokémon of a certain type to take care of them.
    • However this trope still applies to that event because more often than not, Last Lousy Point begins to take effect when you've captured 3 or 4 (4-6 in the third event) of the featured Pokémon, and you've seen the already-captured ones so many times it's not even funny. It's even worse when the only Pokémon left that you're going to capture is the one capable of Mega Evolution. The third Safari event makes the Luck-Based Mission a lot worse as there are actually 7 Pokémon in total, lessening the appearance rate for each monnote . If you really want that Garchomp, prepare to waste your Hearts and time a lot, thanks to the regenerating Heart system.
    • There's also Victini, who can only be fought ONCE and only once every Saturday. Win or lose, you obtain significant amounts of XP afterward. Even without a 1.5 exp boost, you can expect your pokemon to gain 2-3 levels per attempt. The battle itself isn't terribly difficult, but Victini's capture rate starts at about 2% and doesn't increase very much. Even with a Critical Capture when using Great Balls, your chances are still around 20-25% at best.
    • Speaking of Pokémon that can be fought once per day, the "One chance a day!" events can be this. So, you want that Pinsir (capable of Mega Evolution) and that Jirachi (a mythical Steel-type Pokémon with 70 base power at level 1)... but you can only fight them in their respective event once a day, and it usually goes on for 4 days, meaning 4 tries. And... remember the fact that capturing the Pokémon itself is a Luck-Based Mission as well, unless the capture rate is at maximum (which it can't be for Pinsir). Not to mention that if you're not really good at the game or if the Random Number God hates you, you'll simply waste an opportunity anyway by failing the stage.
  • Match Three Game: Three Pokémon are required to make a match in Battle Trozei! and Shuffle, four in the original, and five in the original's Forever mode.
  • Metal Slime: Every level in the original had three "Can you Trozei these?" Pokémon. They were rare enough that it was possible to clear the level without seeing one, they would disappear if you couldn't Trozei them fast enough, and this was the only way to get Pokédex data for them.
  • Microtransactions: Shuffle operates using this business model.
  • Money Grinding: You pretty much have to resort to this in Shuffle if you want more coins without spending your jewels. Both regular Meowth stage (stage 37) and once-in-Sunday Meowth event stage ("Meowth's Coin Mania") are perfect stages to gain more than just two-digit coins.
  • Mythology Gag: In Shuffle, Milotic's grid is completely frozen except for a 2x2 square of Feebas. This is a reference to the main series games, where Feebas is only ever available in four tiles in one body of water.
  • New Game+: After completing story mode in the original game, the player can start over with a greatly increased difficulty level.
  • Not Completely Useless: Many of the Pokémon from Wacky Workshop in Shuffle are already outclassed by the fully-evolved Pokémon from earlier areas. Feebas in particular is extremely weak, as is to be expected from a Magikarp Expy. Now scroll back up to the entry on Boss in Mook Clothing. That's Feebas's evolved form and the ALL of those frozen spots are filled with Feebas. While Water-types resisting themselves further weakens the already pitiful damage Feebas can do, bringing Feebas to open up the level is the easiest way to handle Milotic without having to shell out coins for either Complexity -1 or Mega Start.
    • Starly and Scatterbug are both obtainable in Albens Town, one of the game's several "expansion" areas. Both also possess the lowest possible base power comparable to the likes of Pidgey, Pichu, Togepi, etc. However, they have similar cases to Feebas. Doing an "itemless" run on the Staravia and Spewpa stages (each has the respective Pokémon as obstacles trapped behind barriers) becomes much easier when you have Starly in the former and Scatterbug on the latter as your Support. Especially Spewpa's stage, where it's possible to win by doing nothing at all.
  • Play Every Day: Shuffle encourages with its "Check In" feature ("Log In" in Shuffle Mobile), which allows the game to connect to the internet to look for any extra data. Checking In also grants the player 500 bonus Coins once per day, with a 1000 Coin bonus per 10 Check Ins/Log Ins.
  • Power Up Let Down: Some abilities in Shuffle are fairly useless.
    • Ampharos has Dancing Dragons, which powers up all Dragon-types in a combo, but since Dragons are only super-effective against other Dragons, why would you use the Electric-type Ampharos alongside one?
    • Sylveon has Mega Boost like the rest of its family, which builds mega meter for a Pokémon of the same type, but there are no Fairy-type Megas in the game and it doesn't seem likely that this will change unless Gardevoir or Diancie is made a Fairy-type upon their introduction to the game rather than their other type.
    • An event allows you to catch Arceus, who happens to have the highest base power in the game at 90. Unfortunately, it's also Normal-type, and in this game where STAB and your Pokémon's defense don't matter and you are only ever facing one Pokémon at a time aside from Safari randomness, a type that never has type advantage is almost completely useless. Its ability allows for other Normal-types to do more damage, but you're still better off choosing a type that's strong against your opponent, and anything with a base attack of 60 or higher will do better than a max-leveled Arceus.
      • However, as demonstrated by the Blazikenite competition (the top player in that event uses Arceus), Arceus can be more useful in timed stages, that is if you're good at the game, have the perfect team of high base power Normal-types for it, and all of them are high-leveled enough.
  • Rank Inflation: Battle Trozei! has D, C, B, A, and S ranks, awarded based on score and combo performance. Shuffle cuts out the D and only uses C, B, A, and S, and grades based on moves/time remaining.
  • Solar and Lunar: SOL is represented by Solrock, while the Phobos Battalion uses Lunatone as its symbol.
  • Super-Deformed: All the Pokémon are represented as chibi face icons.
  • That One Player: In Shuffle's competitive events, starting from the Blazikenite one, pretty much anyone at the near-top (or outright number one) ranks whose Pokémon consist of simply a Gengar (a common Pokémon capable of Mega Evolution used to score lots of points), Arceus, and two strong Normal-type mons. This combination is considered Difficult but Awesome because you need to think fast (especially getting Double Normal to work without breaking your combo), but once you've mastered it, you'll soon become this type of player and the "Optimize" button means nothing anymore (that is, unless the target Pokémon is resistant against Normal-type). For a somewhat specific example, one Japanese player used this exact strategy and managed to score around 150,000 points! Assuming that Attack Power ↑ is used (making the base score around a still-whopping 75,000), such score is near-impossible to achieve (even if the Random Number God is friendly towards you) unless you're using a "Home" button exploit that no longer works in the more recent versions.
    • For the America region, there's zonextreme, who is (mostly) always on the top 5 in the competitive events. It also helps that since the Arceus event, he/she took advantage of the strategy mentioned above.
  • Wrap Around: The original did this with the bottom screen, to facilitate its movement system.

Alternative Title(s):

Pokemon Link, Pokemon Battle Trozei, Pokemon Link Battle, Pokemon Shuffle