Nintendo went a bit Pokénuts last night when it announced not one, not two, but three new Pokémon titles headed for their flagship console. To clarify, these are supposedly not the materialization of the classic Pokémon experience for console that the company teased last year around E3. Instead, Nintendo aims to do something different.
The Switch's first Pokémon is titled Pokémon Quest and it's actually available right now. The new adventure debuts on Switch and will be making its way to mobile platforms around the end of June. The new title brings players to Tumblecube Island, where of all the Pokémon are shaped like cubes. Basically, it looks similar to that popular Minecraft mod that added Pokémon to the creative crafting game. It's adorable and, while initially jarring, definitely something that looks like it could catch on with a wide audience.
In Pokémon Quest, players exert indirect control over their animal companions as the ever-growing Poképack clears stage after stage, collecting new items and Pokémon along the way. Between stages, players can build up their base camp, train their Pokémon, and cook them delicious meals.
Of course, Pokémon Quest is a free-to-play game, or a "free-to-start" game as Nintendo calls it. That means Nintendo has provided a number of items and packs that people can purchase. These range from $5-$18 apiece, and include items that allow players to cook more meals, new Pokémon, and a variety of Pokéballs - and, of course, more in-game currency. Pokémon Quest uses PM Tickets as its currency, which can be used to speed up different in-game tasks.
Yeah, Pokémon Quest will make Nintendo a zillion dollars.
The other two games Nintendo announced come in a pair. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Lets' Go, Eevee! are based off of Pokémon Yellow, each featuring 151 Pokémon with a selection of Alolan versions for those 151. The Let's Go games will have interactions with Pokémon Go, meaning that players who catch Pokémon in Pokémon Go will be able to use them in Let's Go. That's a pretty fantastic idea.
The Let's Go games will also use the capture mechanic from Pokémon Go, a notion that might prove more divisive. Players will be able to use the Switch controllers to toss out Pokéballs at different angles to capture new Pokémon. To further deepen the fantasy of actually catching them all, players will be able to buy the Pokéball Plus, a standalone accessory that takes the place of the Joy-Con. The Pokéball Plus has a joystick to allow it to take on the role of a Joy-Con while also having built in lights and sounds specific to Let's Go. It can also work with Pokémon Go in place of the Pokéball accessory that acts as a pedometer and capture aid for the mobile title. However, with a battery life of three hours, it might not be ideal for long rambles in the outdoors.
In a neat twist to the Pokémon formula, Let's Go will offer a co-op experience that allows two players to catch Pokémon together and bring their Pokémon Go captures into the same world. This could be a big deal for players who have only ever experienced Pokémon solo or in competition.
Let's Go retains some of the features of Pokémon Go and expands on others. That doesn't mean more traditional parts of the franchise are falling by the wayside. The Switch exclusives will feature trainer battles, gyms, a story, and many of the other classic Pokémon staples.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Lets' Go, Eevee! (along with the Pokéball Plus) will release later this year on November 16 for the Nintendo Switch.