Free-to-play Pokemon Shuffle is set to launch for the Nintendo 3DS soon, which means that it’s now time to reveal some details concerning its microtransactions model. Warning: It ain’t pretty.

Okay, so, here’s the deal, Pokemon Shuffle is basically what you would get if everyone favorite pocket monsters got cross-bread with the hugely popular Puzzles & Dragons series. Your job is to match the adorable faces of various Pokemon in order to deal damage to the level’s bad guy. Do enough damage and you win. Along the way, you’ll unleash special abilities, collect new minions, level them up and play through 160 stages worth of face-matching goodness.

If that sounds a lot like last year’s Pokemon Battle Trozei, that’s because they are very similar games. The big difference is that Battle Trozei cost like five bucks to download and Pokemon Shuffle can be yours for zero dolla—NOT SO FAST!

While it’s true that Pokemon Shuffle will be available at no cost, the game does utilize a microtransaction system that is, well, kind of gross. According to a recent report from Destuctoid, PS will charge players a buck for an in-game Gem. Like many of the match-three f2p titles out there, you’ll be limited in the number of times you can actually play the game at a given moment. Get ready for some obnoxious math!



For starters, each play will cost you a heart and you only have five hearts to begin with. One gem will refill five hearts so, if you really want to play for more than a few minutes at a time, you’ll need to fork over a dollar to do so. There are deals for those willing to buy more hearts, though, including three gems ($3) for 20 hearts, six gems for 45 hearts and 10 gems for 75 hearts.

Don’t feel like forking over your cash to play the game? Then simply wait 30 minutes per heart to refill. Destructoid’s Chris Carter already did the last bit of math for us, stating that if you manage to win every single round (thus not wasting a heart) and choose to play the game without forking over cash, it’ll amount to a whopping 80 hours of waiting for hearts to refill between matches.

Gems can also be spent on coins, by the way, which can be used to trigger abilities or make a stage less difficult. You’ll earn coins naturally through playing but, if the rate of coin growth is anything like the rate of heart replenishing, you’ll probably need to grind like mad to scrounge together a measly supply.

Yeah, doesn’t sound too appetizing to me. I’ll likely try out Pokemon Shuffle because it’s free, but I’m not too quick to drop money on these types of microtransactions. I guess we’ll see if I, and the rest of the world, sing a different tune come when the “free” game launches on Feb. 18.

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