With Pokémon Black 2/White 2 coming out in the near future, a new Pokémon Spinoff has appeared to stave away the last 4 months till B2/W2’s release date. Popular company Tecmo Koei (Publishers of games like Dead or Alive) decided to combine the lovable Pokémon franchise with their tactical RPG game Nobunga’s Ambition.

The game starts of with you, a young Warlord in charge of the Aurora kingdom of the Ransei region. Word spreads about Nobunga, leader of the Dragnor Kingdom, who seeks to destroy Ransei region for reasons unexplained. It’s up to you to unite the Ransei region and stop Nobunga’s Ambition.

The main storyline is short and most experienced gamers will plow through it in a good two to three days. However the post game side stories dramatically increases the playability tenfold and really expand on the mechanics of the games.

The game runs by months. Every month you can choose to improve the nation you’re in, find new allies or Pokémon to link (the method of catching) with, or invade neighboring territories. A nation can hold up to 6 warlords and every Warlord can hold from 3 to 8 Pokémon at a time, though in battle they can only use one of their linked Pokémon. Warlords can be recruited them by defeating them in under 4 turns in your nations or when battling the head of an army in their final controlled nation. Linking works by using the Link command next to a Pokémon adjacent to that warlord’s Pokémon then pressing A when “Link Orbs” pass through the “A” button target.

In battle you can up to a 6 vs. 6 battle. Like Pokémon the Type Effectiveness chart is kept. Certain Pokémon like Ghost and Fire have special movement properties such as walking through foe Pokémon or walking on Lava respectively. Pokemon also have the ability to evolve much like the main series. However they evolve depending upon their stats, their link to their warlord, or by items and locations. Also there's maybe around 200 Pokémon from the current National Dex so you won't be able to have every Pokemon useable. Each warlord has special abilities known as powers. Powers can range from Increasing stats to Healing allies, but these can only be used once per Battle. There are also two types of battles: Conquer and Capture. In Conquer battles it is your task to eliminate your opposing forces before they do. In Capture, you must capture banners. First to capture all banners first win.

All main characters, as Nobunga's Ambition series characters are based off of real people of the Sengoku period of Japan during Oda Nobunga's real unification war. Everyone notable from Nouhime to Ieyasu can be found in the game. And then there is numerous generics. But aside from the generics they did good jobs giving each of the unique warlords real character depth, whether they are accurate depictions or not is up to historians.

Music is, not surprising, very feudal Japanese sounding. Not particularly noteworthy, but excellent for the background of the game.

My main complaint about the game is the lack of move customizations since Pokémon moves are fixed. In other words, no matter what, my Musharna can only use Dream Eater and my Abra can only know Teleport.

Score: 8.5/10. As a Pokémon spinoff it’s a lot of fun and is executed well. However as a tactical RPG it’s nothing special. Still any Pokémon lover should give this game a spin.

Tips: Look for golden icons when Linking Pokémon, they usually lead to Perfect Links which improves not only the Pokémon Stats, but the Warlord’s stats when doing tasks.