Pocket Rumble aims to strike with quick, snappy fun.
A core idea behind Pocket Rumble is to steal a page from the book of Smash Bros. You fight using only the analog stick and two action buttons: a quick attack and a strong attack. And like Smash, your character's special attacks are used with a simple combination of specific directions and a button. No need for a half-circle in a backwards direction here, just tilt the control stick down and back and hit an attack button!
In my quick session with the game, it simply works. I view fighting games with apprehension, and I'm convinced it's mostly because I've never cracked the memorization of lengthy button sequences nor the mysterious timing of all those half circles and directional inputs. I picked up Pocket Rumble and instantly none of that mattered. For the most part, the controls melted away (I found diagonal jumping occasionally tricky) and most of the match was a high speed chess-match with my opponent as we felt out both our character's abilities as well as each other's vulnerabilities.
The matches were fast, and the next match came fast too. The showdowns were short and snappy and exceeded the boundaries of a traditional best of 3 setup. In all honesty I can't recall how many matches we played: each defeat was immediately followed up by another opportunity to try for victory, each victory was immediately reset with a new challenge. I could easily see myself losing track of matches if the game hadn't eventually thrown a "Final Match" at us after a handful of them.
Only three characters were available in the demo (a fourth character had some issues in the current build so we were told to avoid choosing her), but on the immediate character selection screen there was obviously room for 8 different choices.
If Pocket Rumble is aiming to be the delicious popcorn of the fighting game genre, it could well succeed. It's innocent, breezy, and doesn't require a seasoned palate to dig into. But once you savor that first delicious handful, what's going to stop you from going back for more, and more, and more?