Pokémon Quest was just released today on the Nintendo Switch eShop (with a mobile phone version in the works) following social media posts by Nintendo and the Pokémon Company promoting both this title and the upcoming release of Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee games for the Nintendo Switch.
Pokémon Quest is a free to play title that utilizes many of the common tropes of the free to play market such as limiting the amount of time you can play and speeding up in-game processes with an in-game currency called tickets which can be earned through completing challenges or by just playing the game once a day as well as micro-transactions selling bundles of decorations that are also in-game buffs or expansions to your Pokémon and resource limits. In my estimated hour and a half of gameplay so far, I was able to get a fairly good impression of how it plays. Do not be fooled by its simple blocky-pixel graphic aesthetic, it is a game with a lot of substance and charm.
Upon your first boot-up of the game, you are prompted to pick a screen name and then your choice of one of five starters; all mainstays of the Kanto region from the first generation of Pokémon games. Your choices are Pikachu, Eevee, Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander. Do not worry what you choose to start as you will have opportunities to find a lot of various other Pokémon. There’s other starters included but the current selection of Pokémon are ones from only the first generation.
Pokémon Quest plays like an idle clicker style game where you control a team of up to three Pokémon battling other Pokémon in small waves of battles called “expeditions” where your main goal is to strengthen your Pokémon through combat and collecting resources. Combat is very streamlined wherein the Pokémon you select will do basic attacks as well as special attacks that you use through touching the screen. You can also allow the game to do this for you through an auto attack setting. Very much like the main series, you will be utilizing Pokémon type advantages as well as balancing the use of physical attacks and passive stat-altering attacks but with the addition of either long-range or short-range classes of Pokémon.
When you aren’t in your expeditions, you will able to customize your own camp, train and strengthen your Pokémon using collected stones or the sacrifice of a befriended Pokémon, and cook new meals using collected food resources to attract these new Pokémon to befriend.
You will be experimenting with every resource you collect to discover recipes that specific Pokémon like so that you can befriend your favorites. In typical Pokémon fashion, every Pokémon you befriend goes into the Pokédex and you hear its cry. Every Pokémon you befriend can be powered up with stones that either increase their attack power, amount of health, or their attack refresh speed. Every Pokémon you befriend can also be sacrificed to power up or teach new moves to your remaining Pokémon.
To progress further in Pokémon Quest, you will be powering up your team so that you reach a par “power level” which determines the difficulty of each individual expedition. As you play, the game will give you tutorials and hints to help you progress and in the case that you are lacking the stats to move on, you are allowed to replay previously completed expeditions to grind for resources and XP.
In summary, Nintendo has created something simple and charming that any gamer can enjoy whether it be a casual player killing some time on the commute to work / during road trips, or a player who will grind for hours making the perfect team. Pokémon Quest could easily be a sleeper hit with the right amount of time and effort put into its continual growth. I highly recommend anyone who owns a Nintendo Switch to give it a download because you can’t go wrong with this free to play game. If you don’t have a Switch, then you will soon be able to play it on your mobile phone as well.