Game Freak and the Pokemon company have shown off the news that Pokemon will be getting it’s first entry in the Franchise on the Nintendo Switch. In the form of a pair of spin offs, Pokemon Let’s Go and Pokemon Quest.
Before the pitchforks are raised, remember two things.
One, not everything is made specifically for you.
Two. Pokemon has been getting spin off games since the Gameboy version of the Pokemon Trading Card Game and Hey You, Pikachu in 1998. This is not new.
So what have we got coming to Switch in 2018?
Game One is Pokemon Quest. This game is a free to start (meaning micro transactions) game that will also be releasing on Mobile devices.
The game sees various Pokemon reduced to a cartoon cuboid design and is based around gathering a team of three Pokemon to fight.
This team will wander around an arena on their own, but the player controls their attacks. From the trailer we’ve seen, there’s at least a little customisability in the move sets, in addition to some pretty animations.
In addition, as with most mobile games of this ilk, the player can build a base and decorate it with various objects and gear.
I feel pretty confident that between Pokemon Duel and Pokemon Go and Pokemon Playhouse and Pokemon Shuffle, there’s probably still a place for this game on mobile. It being on Switch is no bad thing, just adding more variety to that catalogue.
Then we have Game Two. This is the slightly more interesting one to my eyes. Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee, and Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu.
As might be expected from the name, there’s a connection to Pokemon Go in these games.
Remakes of 2000’s Pokemon Yellow, these are a blend of a traditional core series Pokemon RPG, and some of the gameplay decisions and styles of Pokemon Go.
These are full 3D games, with the game taking place in the original Kanto Region. As the names suggest, you’ll be starting with either Pikachu or Eevee, and your lead Pokemon in the party will follow you around in the overworld. Battles appear to match up with the mainline series, so likely turn based and with the same movesets as always.
Pokemon Go has had a bit of an Influence though. The entire game can be played one handed. One Joy con will control movement and all actions. This includes catching some Pokemon in the style of Go, where rather than battling to lower their health, you’ll use motion controls throw pokeballs and hope. A benefit of this is that wild pokemon will appear in the overworld, helping it feel slightly more populated than usual.
An additional side effect of this one handed control scheme is that the game features a limited co-operative function. By picking up the second joy con, a new player can appear in the game, join in on catching Pokemon, and in battles. I can see this being a big draw for families where it allows a genuine same room shared experience.
There’s also the usual Pokemon Peripheral being released alongside the games.
This is the Pokeball Plus. This is a device which will function like a Joycon when connected to your switch, but will then also allow you transfer a single Pokemon over to the device. The device will then rumble and make noises in the real world depending on what’s inside. It’s very similar to the Pokewalker from generation two.
This device also functions as a Pokemon Go Plus device when paired with a mobile using that app.
In terms of other connections to the Pokemon Go app, Pokemon Let’s Go will feature Pokemon Sharing and trading. Those caught on mobile will be able to be transferred to the console game, and vice versa.
They’ll all be releasing 16th November 2018.
And finally, you may remember the “It’s Okay, Don’t Panic” warning at the top of the page. That’s because you’ll be getting a full new mainline generation of Pokemon on Switch in the second half of 2019. So if none of the above appeals to you at all, just wait.