Last night, The Pokémon Company hosted a media event where they pulled the veil off of their 2018 offerings for the Nintendo Switch. The speculation and rumors surrounding the possibility of new Pokemon games titled “Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu” and “Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee” turned out to be true. The Pokémon Company showcased their newest spin-off franchise with the cute, introductory RPGs that take heavy influence and cues from the popular mobile app Pokémon GO! There was an extra surprise announcement of the new free to download game heading to the Nintendo Switch called Pokemon Quest. The freemium game is officially live on the eShop and available for download now! While The Pokemon Company did announce a version for phones and tablets, those won’t be available until later on this year.
The first thing you notice when you see the game is its colorful, clunky visual direction that looks like something made from the Minecraft community. It definitely has a character and style that sets it apart from other games previously offered in the franchise. Gameplay wise, it sadly leaves much to be desired. You can tell this game was obviously built with touch controls in mind. Navigating the menu system has your joystick controlling a cursor around the screen. Imagine trying to operate your computer using a Joy-Con and you pretty much get the gist of it. You create a team of up to three Pokémon and bring them into battle inside these small, open world levels. Your characters attack and move on their own around the stage while you click on stronger attacks such as Fire Spin or Flare Blitz once they have cooled down. These attacks aren’t mapped to any buttons and instead have you yet again move your cursor around the screen to select a move.
After about 30 minutes, I got tired of using the Joy-Cons so I disconnected them, put them away and used the center console’s touchscreen to play, which seemed to work much better and faster. I couldn’t help but think “if I could just move around” or “if attacks were just mapped to buttons”, I might just like the game. It reminds me of Pokémon Rumble World, with its simplistic controls, but even Pokemon Rumble World had much better controller support. It just feels as though bringing this game to the Nintendo Switch at all was more of an afterthought. If you’re a fan of the Pokemon franchise and looking for something to kill some time, Pokemon Quest is a solid choice but may lack in substance.