The wait is over, trainers! Two new Pokémon games, Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee! will be coming to the Nintendo Switch on November 16th, 2018! These new titles bring players back to the Kanto region, and come with a new art style, new ways to play, a Pokémon GO inspired catch style, and a whole lot of connectivity. Game Freak confirmed during the press event in Tokyo that these are games which are intended to appeal to a more broad and causal audience, they are not the Generation 8, core games which were promised during E3 2017. Instead, these appear to be an entirely new kind of hybrid game. Check out the trailer above, and let’s recap what we’ve seen so far!
One of the biggest changes is that random encounters appear to be a thing of the past. Pokémon are now visible on the maps, allowing you to decide if you want to encounter or avoid them. The Let’s Go games have also chosen to sunset battles with random Pokémon. All wild Pokémon encounters are now focused around throwing Pokéballs in much the same style as in Pokémon GO, where the goal is to throw the ball into a colored ring, the smaller the ring, the more greater likelihood of capturing the Pokémon. It is worth noting that the video shows no touch screen controls, and there has been no comment regarding throwing the more powerful and somewhat tricky curve balls which many Pokémon GO players have already mastered. Upon encountering a random Pokemon, the menu consists of four options, “Get ready,” “Items,” “Help,” and “Run Away,” as well as the CP of the Pokémon.
The Let’s Go titles also bring an entirely new kind of play: Two player co-op. The Let’s Go games are played with just one Joy-Con (we have not seen any kind of interaction with the Switch’s touch screen, so we cannot comment on that), but a second trainer can jump in and join the adventure simply by shaking the second Joy-Con. Both characters are able to freely navigate the map and throw Pokéballs together for what appears to be a catch rate boost. We also got to see two players using two different Pokémon to battle against a single trainer, so it looks like we’ll finally get our revenge for all those years of fighting solo against two different trainers!
The Let’s Go games feature the most limited selection of starters yet: If you purchase Let’s Go Pikachu, you’ll have Pikachu as your starter, where as choosing Let’s Go Eevee will assign Eevee as your starter. So far we have only seen the male trainer traveling with a Pikachu and an Eevee traveling with the female trainer. Eevee can often be seen riding on the hat of the female trainer, while Pikachu hangs out on the male trainer’s shoulder, much like Ash’s Pikachu in the Pokémon anime. We also see other kinds of Pokémon walking behind the trainers, including Gengar, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, and Electrode, ticking off the Walking Pokemon box from our wishlist!
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee come equipped with no small bit of connectivity, including the ability to interface with Pokémon GO and a new accessory known as the Pokéball Plus. More than just an oversized version of the Pokémon GO Plus, the the Pokéball Plus can act as a controller, with the ball’s button serving as a thumbstick, and can be used as a Pokéwalker by loading your favorite Pokémon into it. (Have we mentioned these titles are ticking a lot of boxes off our wishlist?) Good things are said to happen if you take your Pokémon with you in the Pokéball Plus, and and it even seems that you can interact with your Pokémon by rocking or shaking the ball.
Pokémon confirmed via Twitter that any Kanto region Pokémon captured in Pokémon GO can be transferred to the Let’s Go games, as well as some of the Alolan Forms of Kanto Pokémon, which were released in Pokémon GO during this announcement. We also got a tantalizing glimpse at sending Pokémon as gifts; could this be the feature which finally allows for trades in Pokémon Go? We do see the transfer of a present from a Switch to a mobile phone, so it seems very likely that Pokémon GO players will finally be able to redistribute their regional Pokémon, provided they come from the Kanto region.
One of the more unexpected reveals was the ability to dress up your Pokémon, but so far we’ve only seen outfits for Pikachu and Eevee. We also got to see the trainers riding a variety of Pokémon, including Onyx, Charizard, and Lapras, without the bulky Ride Gear from the Generation 7 games. We also see the return of a PokéPark type feature, called the GO PARK, where you can presumably interact with your favorite pocket monsters, as well as the ability to pet your Pokémon, much like we saw in the Pokémon Amie and Refresh features.
The official Pokémon Twitter account provided one more, very exciting bit of information, which speaks for itself:
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) May 30, 2018
That’s a whole lot of features in a three minute video! Are the Pokémon Let’s Go games what you expected? Did Game Freak make your day, or crush your dreams? Who are you hoping to adopt as your partner Pokémon, Pikachu or Eevee? Please share your thoughts in the comments!