The long wait is over: There’s a brand new Pokémon game available on Nintendo’s Switch right now.
Admittedly, “Pokémon Quest” may not have been the Pokémon game that Nintendo Switch owners were expecting.
Given that Nintendo already announced that a “core” Pokémon game is coming to the Nintendo Switch, it was a major surprise on Tuesday night when the Japanese game giant announced three new Pokémon games.
To be clear, those three new games are in addition to the still-in-development core game (that’s now expected in the second half of 2019). That game, whenever it launches, is expected to usher in the first new “generation” of Pokémon since “Pokémon Sun & Moon” came out in late 2016.
Meanwhile, the first game of the newly-announced bunch, “Pokémon Quest,” is already available on the Nintendo Switch. Later this year, we’re getting “Pokémon: Let’s Go,” a remake of 1999’s “Pokémon Yellow.” In true series fashion, “Let’s Go Pokémon” will come in two different versions, starring mascot monsters Pikachu and Eevee.
Here’s everything we know about Pokémon’s huge future on Nintendo’s wildly popular Switch:
Nintendo has <em>four</em> Pokémon games headed to the Switch, with the first available right now.
- The Pokémon Company
In an event in Tokyo this week, The Pokémon Company revealed a trio of new Pokémon games headed to the wildly popular Nintendo Switch.
-“Pokémon Quest” (available now, for free) -“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” (available on November 16, for $60 each)
The fourth game – an unnamed “core” Pokémon game, first announced last year – is currently in development. It’s scheduled for launch in the second half of 2019.
The first game to launch, “Pokémon Quest,” isn’t a typical Pokémon game. But it is pretty good!
In “Pokémon Quest,” players cultivate a home base of wild Pokémon with which to take on hordes of enemy Pokémon in various – you guessed it! – quests.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. There are indeed quests in the game, but the main thrust of it is leveling up your group of fighting Pokémon by winning battles and collecting loot. Since the game is “free to start,” there are options built in to buy in-game currency with real money, which can then be used for virtual items in the game.
That said, in the time I spent with “Pokémon Quest” this morning, I have mostly positive things to say. It’s certainly not a traditional Pokémon game, but it sure is immediately fun. Battles are simple at first, but ramp up in difficulty quickly; you’ll need tactical thinking if you want to win consistently.
It looks and plays like a good mobile game, which makes sense – “Pokémon Quest” is headed to iPhone and Android in June.
Take a look at “Pokémon Quest” right here:
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” are a fascinating hybrid of old and new Pokémon games.
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” are sort of the same game, and sort of not the same game.
One stars Pikachu, the other stars Eevee. In every other way, as far as we know so far, they are identical.
But what are they? Here’s how Nintendo puts it:
“Inspired by ‘Pokémon Yellow,’ which was originally released in Japan on Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1998, these two new titles feature many of the intuitive gameplay functions offered to players in the hugely popular ‘Pokémon Go’ and are designed for players taking their first steps into the Pokémon video game world.”
Given the inspiration, both games are set in the Kanto region, the locale of the original Game Boy games. Instead of random encounters with unseen Pokémon, you’ll actually see the creatures living their lives. And instead of selecting a Pokéball and pushing a button to catch Pokémon, you can flick your controller, the same way you would swipe your finger in “Pokémon Go.”
The characteristic circles from “Pokémon Go” are even part of the capture:
That the games will be familiar to “Pokémon Go” players is no mistake.
Millions of people experienced Pokémon for the first time with the hugely popular mobile game, so it makes sense to ease those new players in with familiar trappings. In the same vein, the games will offer interoperability with “Pokémon Go,” as well as two-player cooperative action.
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” offer a gorgeous re-creation of classic Pokémon.
Though it’s not exactly like a traditional Pokémon game, “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” seemingly offers a lot of the delightful exploration, battling, and collection that main series Pokémon games do.
That’s no doubt a testament to its “Pokémon Yellow” roots.
New players and long-time fans will both appreciate how gorgeous the recreation is – these first screenshots are quite endearing:
Take a look at “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” right here:
Alongside “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!”, Nintendo is releasing this insane Pokéball controller:
What’s better than flicking a controller as if you were flinging a Pokéball? Throwing your own, of course!
And Nintendo is enabling just that with the so-called Pokéball Plus.
The ball itself is a motion controller. Thus, it can be used to capture Pokémon in the game. It also enables one kinda strange behavior. “When catching a Pokémon in the Nintendo Switch games,” Nintendo said, “players will be able to feel it moving within the device.” That certainly is an additional layer of interactivity.
More than just getting a swanky keychain that doubles as a motion controller for capturing Pokémon on the Switch, the Pokéball Plus can be used to play both “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” Neat!
Then, in the second half of 2019, Nintendo is launching the next major “core” Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch.
- The Pokemon Company
Throughout the decades of Pokémon’s existence as a video game franchise, the series has always been focused on handheld. The Pokémon games that form the foundation of the series were born on the original Nintendo Game Boy. The last major release in the main series, “Pokémon Sun & Moon,” was for the Nintendo 3DS handheld.
In short: It’s a big deal that the next major entry in the series is headed to the Nintendo Switch.
There has never been a main series Pokémon on a Nintendo home console. The few home console Pokémon games that have come out – “Pokémon Stadium” and “Pokémon Snap,” for instance – have been few and far between, and spinoffs, to boot.
The new game is expected in the second half of 2019. It doesn’t have a name, and the only thing we know about it is it’s the next main entry in the long-running Pokémon game series.