Sometimes I think I’ve had my fill of Pokemon, and then they go and do something like give me the ability to gaze through my phone camera and pretend that real, live Pikachu are right in front of me and not just in dreams. Do I want to leave my house? Not necessarily, but I would walk to the ends of the earth for a Squirtle. Love is funny like that.
You might already know that Nintendo announced some new additions to the franchise, including Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, dual tie-ins to Niantic and The Pokemon Company’s insanely popular Pokemon Go. While this wasn’t new news at E3, attendees did get a chance to view the game in person and test it out.
Luckily, The Young Folks was one of them. Here are our first impressions.
Note: We played the Eevee version, but in the spirit of previous Pokemon games, both titles are identical with only slight differences.
As expected, this game is adorable. The interface and menus are simplistic with cute sprites and sound effects that are very reminiscent of the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles. However, this is more than just a remake of Pokemon Yellow, and feels more like a blend of both Pokemon Go and the N64’s Pokemon Stadium.
The demo was about ten minutes long, consisting of fighting and catching Pokemon in the wild (mostly bug types, though you could see other varieties on the map). The gameplay was simple and adorable, the exclusive controller even more so. Pokemon: Let’s Go is able to be played with a Joy-Con, but Nintendo has been touting a new Poke Ball Plus controller that adds to the “realness” of the experience. It’s fun, but a little clunky; its two buttons (a control stick that clicks in and a soft button on top to navigate through menus) aren’t one-to-one motion controlled, and it doesn’t have a gyroscope. Nintendo tries to correct this by showing you how to hold it and by having a ring finger addition to the strap, but if the controller is misaligned, you’re going to be throwing curve balls, or turning right when you mean to go up or down. It does, however, allow you to hear your pokemon’s sound effects and interact through the HD rumble technology. It’s sort of like the Pokemon pedometer that was released with the DS remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver, but even deeper into Tamagotchi territory, bringing you one pseudo-realistic step closer to making your gotta catch ‘em all dreams come true.
As it stands, we’re not quite sold on this title fetching a full retail price, quite yet. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what else Nintendo does with this game before it’s November 16th release, including what features might cross over from Pokemon Go.