Nintendo have seen a massive success in the last 2 years with the release of their hybrid console the Nintendo Switch. While we have best selling mario, zelda and donkey kong games, it is finally Pokemon’s turn to evolve from its history of handheld consoles to Nintendo’s main console the Switch, and what a debut it is. Despite being pretty a complete remake of Pokemon Yellow, the Kanto region comes to life in the most beautiful graphics you have ever seen. After spending a week playing my Switch incessantly, walking my Pikachu through the streets of Melbourne with the Poke Ball Plus and watching my caught Pokemon go back and forth between my Switch and Pokemon Go on my mobile. This is the most immersive Pokemon experience ever made and delivers the next generation of Pokemon games for a brand new generation.
You start off as a trainer with either Pikachu or Eevve depending on what game you choose. Meet your neighbour rival to catch your first Pokemon and set out in the world to catch all 150 Pokemon, battle gym leaders for badge pride and stop a dastardly plot from Team Rocket.
Ok now with the story out of the way let’s move onto the important stuff. The graphics are nothing short of beautiful. The Kanto region is perfect for 3D animation with dark tunnels, beautiful beaches, lush green forests and bustling city towns. The level of details in each area is spectacular and looks incredible both in handheld and when docked on the big screen. The Pokemon themselves are beautifully detailed, looking not only cute but very lifelike despite having the same monotone noises they have always had.
If you have purchased the Pokeball Plus then the catching process will be a lot easier than using the joy con. It is also worth noting here that you cannot use a pro controller at all during this game, this includes pressing the Home button to exit out, you have been warned! Fortunately the Pokeball Plus is super comfortable to hold in the hand. Having a finger holder and wrist strap is also advisable to leave on so you don’t send the ball flying across the room when trying to catch a hard Pokemon (take it from experience!) If you do need to use the joy con controllers it is less of an enjoyable experience with it feeling clunky and definitely a lot less fun to play with. This really is the perfect game to sell this Pokeball controller to fans. Another good feature is being able to transfer a Pokemon from the game to the Pokeball and take it for a walk with you during the day. I had so much fun brunching with my Pikachu, constantly shaking the Pokeball to check on his mood (much to the annoyance of other patrons around me, Sorry not sorry!)
You can also unlock the Park which will allow you to transfer Pokemon from the Switch to your mobile game and give them a workout. This is where things can get a little tricky. I am rocking a Google Pixel 3XL which worked perfectly and I tried it on my partner’s Iphone 8 + which also seamlessly connected. A few of my friends with older Android phones had problems connecting the Switch to the phone for this feature of the game.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu takes the classic Pokemon game that we have loved for many years and gives it a complete facelift for a new console with 3D graphics and updated play style that brings the game to the forefront for younger modern gamers who can happily play with their parents. While the gameplay mechanics are fairly simple and straightforward, it is fun to venture back into the Kanto region with new characters and a new console to play it on. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu is the poke game we have been waiting for many years now. Hopefully it is a sign of what is to come in the future. Fans of the series may be irked by the motion controls, however if you own a Pokeball Plus your experience will be everything you have been waiting for. Pokemon Let’s Go is a fantastic start to the next generation of Poke fans.
Pokemon : Let’s Go Pikachu is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
Review by Alaisdair “Leithal” Leith
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