After previously confirming that Nintendo Switch will be home to the next major Pokémon games, the series’ handlers confirmed exactly how those games will look via a Tuesday night media event and trailer. The event saw developer Game Freak and publisher Nintendo confirming previous rumors of the games’ titles: Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee.
The games will arrive on Nintendo Switch on November 16, but anybody expecting these games to play identically to the series’ Game Boy and DS/3DS versions may be in for a rude awakening.
For starters, it looks a whole lot more like the smartphone-only game Pokémon Go, as players will no longer engage in random battles in order to collect and power up their own Pokémon creatures. Instead, the Let’s Go games will ask players to waggle Joy-Con controllers to simulate a Pokéball throw after happening upon creatures in their travels. Standard Pokémon creature battles will be limited to match-ups against rival trainers in the game.
The announcement didn’t clarify exactly how often fights against trainers will happen, nor whether other modes or requirements will keep players honing their creatures’ fighting skills. Instead, it emphasized compatibility with Pokémon Go on iOS and Android, as any of the “original 151” Pokémon creatures will be transferrable to and from either game. However, based on the brief video, this may be limited to a “Go Park” section of either game; we’ll have to wait for more on exactly how this interoperability will work.
The games’ announcement trailer made a point of showing a lot of one-handed Joy-Con play—for two reasons. First, that means a standard Switch’s pair of Joy-Cons will enable same-screen cooperative play by default, and these segments showed Pokémon trainer avatars running around a Kanto-region overworld in a style that resembled classic series RPGs. Second, that means players can use another, new one-handed Nintendo controller… the Pokéball Plus.
This latter option, which will launch in November for $50, includes buttons, motion sensors, and a single joystick. It will sync with the Let’s Go games to support custom lights and sounds, and it will double as a Tamagotchi-style walkable digital pet when players are away from their Switch systems. Pokémon Go addicts can elect to sync this new peripheral up to their smartphone to catch creatures without turning their phone on, as well.
As if to assuage concerns about the Let’s Go series looking different from usual Pokémon fare, the Pokémon powers that be let fans know that another Pokémon series will launch in the “second half of 2019,” and that this other release will play more like recent portable releases Sun/Moon and X/Y.
In the meantime, the companies went one further by surprise-launching a third, brand-new Pokémon series on Tuesday: Pokémon Quest. This “free to start” game went live on the Nintendo Switch eShop on Tuesday night during the announcement event, and it will come to iOS and Android in June. In this blocky, lo-fi game, players cannot directly control teams of three Pokémon creatures; instead, players must tap attack buttons to keep their creatures safe as they automatically run around a new world called Tumblecube Island.
Listing image by Nintendo / Game Freak