When Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee were initially announced I wasn’t especially excited as I thought it was going to have too much in common with Pokemon Go, which while a fun distraction I have some serious issues with. As time wore on and I saw more of the game I started to look forward to it as there seemed to be a lot more to it than I initially thought.
I now have the game (Pikachu edition naturally) and I’ve beasted it a bit for the last couple of days. Early impressions are that it’s nice to go back to the original Pokemon setting in Kanto, though it’s bizarre to be limited to just the original 151 Pokemon rather than a mixture of all existing Pokemon. The inclusion of the Alolan forms of the Kanto Pokemon that have them is a nice touch though and adds battling options too.
The main difference with this update compared to Pokemon Yellow is the removal of random battles to catch Pokemon, instead you can see the Pokemon spawn onscreen and you touch them to initiate the capture process. This then goes to a capture screen much like Pokemon Go where you throw Pokeballs until catching is successful. I have to say it works far better than I expected, and the fact that it’s not random and you can see what you’re trying to capture before starting the whole process feels like a nice bit of progress.
Much like Pokemon Go you can capture the same Pokemon multiple times, keeping the stronger ones and trading duplicates to obtain candies for different stats, these can then be used on the Pokemon you want to power up. It’s a simple process but pretty well executed and it’s an added layer to consider when powering up your team for the battles ahead.
Speaking of battling it works the same as literally every Pokemon game ever, consider where you have a type advantage or disadvantage, pick the right Pokemon and then the right moves to beat your opponent, if you’ve ever played a Pokemon game then you know what to expect. What’s nice is there’s more animation with moves in battles so it feels a little more alive, and the improved graphics mean there’s a sense of scale when you’re sending a Pikachu, which is pretty small, out to face an Onix which is bloody massive.
You also have the ability to play with your buddy Pokemon, this is essentially where they appear on screen and you use the touchscreen to tickle their belly and the like, in previous games this is to raise your friendship so I assume it’s the same here. You can also obtain new outfits to put your buddy in (and for yourself). My Pikachu is currently wearing a trainer outfit much like I’m wearing which is cute as all hell.
I got the version with the Pokeball Plus (for Mew, and it was worth it purely for his sweet little face), I wasn’t expecting much from it as a controller but I have to say I’ve given it a go and it works surprisingly well. You use the Pokeball as a one-handed controller and when in the capture process use the motion controls to chuck the balls. At a point where I play on a TV rather than in handheld mode I’d definitely like to play using this some more.
Overall it’s a fun game that is a decent placeholder before we get a proper Pokemon game next year. I’m looking forward to playing more of it and I’d go so far as to say it’s probably my favourite game to be released on the Switch this year so far. It doesn’t have the depth of a traditional Pokemon game in my opinion but it counters this but doing what it does do incredibly well. If you’re a Pokemon fan then it’s definitely worth checking out.
Beard Score: 8/10
Format: Nintendo Switch