Ever since Pokemon was confirmed to be coming to Nintendo Switch during Nintendo’s presentation at E3 2017 there have been plenty of rumors around what form the game will take. What most fans didn’t expect, however, was for Nintendo and Game Freak to create several Pokemon games for release on Nintendo Switch between 2018 and 2019. You wait a year for one and then…

Rumors around the titles known as Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee were circulating for a few weeks before they were confirmed during a Pokemon press conference in Japan.

Now we know that these titles will launch on November 16 2018 and will integrate features of Pokemon Go into a fully-fledged Pokemon game that’s directly inspired by the much-loved Pokemon Yellow. Though they have the look of a mainline Pokemon game, these titles are not, however, the previously confirmed core RPG release, which has been confirmed to be coming in late 2019. 

 

Instead, they’re being used to entice a wider audience – an audience that you’ll probably still find playing Pokemon Go – to both the Nintendo Switch and the Pokemon franchise as a whole. 

[Update: A new trailer for Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee has shown us the replacement for HMs – now called Secret Techniques. These skills are obtained by the trainer and are only usable by your partner Pokemon – i.e. Eevee or Pikachu – and replace Cut, Surf, Fly, etc… from the original games. This is a neat way to replace moves that took up valuable move slots in the original games while still blocking off parts of the map until later in the game.]

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? It’s hard to say in a succinct way. Pokemon meets Pokemon Go on Nintendo Switch feels like disservice but that’ll do it
  • When can I play it? November 16 2018 
  • What can I play it on? Nintendo Switch 

Pokemon Let’s Go release date

Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu will launch on November 16 on Nintendo Switch. 

Pokemon Let’s Go trailers

Pokemon Let’s Go hasn’t really had a long run of teasers and teasers of teasers. (Thankfully!) Instead, the game had an announcement trailer that was pretty comprehensive in terms of showing in-game footage and explaining what you’re going to get. Watch it for yourself below: 

In early July, Nintendo showed off a second trailer for the game that gave us a better look at some of the battle environments and character models of the first two gym leaders, Brock and Misty. It gave us a sneak peek at rideable Pokemon and showed off some of the haircut options available to the two main starters. 

Pokemon Let’s Go news and rumors

You’ll need to have a Nintendo Online subscription

Nintendo will be launching its paid online service in September 2018 and you’ll need to be subscribed to this if you want to battle and trade with other players either over the internet or locally. In a statement to Eurogamer, The Pokemon Company confirmed that “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! will have online play functionality. Battling and trading with other players over the internet or locally will be available in these games.”

These features are a little more limited than previous games as you won’t find any GTS, Wonder Trade, or Battle Spot. More details are expected at a later date. 

It’s not a core release

We bet you thought the next Pokemon game to be released on Nintendo Switch would be a core RPG release. Well, you were wrong. And so were we. Pokemon Let’s Go isn’t considered a core release in the Pokemon series. Instead, it’s another spin-off, though it’s a spin-off that’s about as close to the spirit of the mainline releases as it can get. In fact, it’s directly inspired by Pokemon Yellow according to Game Freak. 

By integrating Pokemon Go gameplay and features, Pokemon Let’s Go feels like Game Freak and Nintendo are creating a bridge for mobile and casual fans to cross into the Switch releases, before the core game is let loose in 2019. It’s a sound decision that will ensure a wider audience for both the Nintendo Switch and Pokemon. 

It’ll take you back to Kanto

If you’ve missed the original Pokemon map then you’ll be glad to know that Pokemon Let’s Go will take you all the way back to Kanto and its original collection of 151 Pokemon, as well as their Alolan forms. 

According to Junichi Masuda, the game is directly inspired by Pokemon Yellow and  “the game world, the overworld, the whole map, is very true to the original Pokémon Yellow games. And also the story kind of sticks to the story beats from Pokémon Yellow.”  

Each version will have different Pokemon

In an interview with Eurogamer, Junichi Masuda revealed that the Pokemon Let’s Go titles will follow the same path as old games by having different kinds of Pokemon in each version. This is, Masuda says, intended “to really facilitate trading.”

Pokemon will be visible in the game world

Just like in Pokemon Yellow, your Pikachu (or Eevee) will be visible in the game world as you walk around. You’ll even be able to pet them and interact with them to increase your bond. Wild Pokemon will also be visible in the game world. No more random encounters in the grass, now you’ll approach Pokemon and catch them by throwing a PokeBall in a way that’s directly inspired by the mobile release Pokemon Go. 

It works with Pokemon Go 

Speaking of Pokemon Go, Pokemon Let’s Go will directly work with Niantic’s AR hit. It’ll be possible to transfer any Pokemon that you or your friends catch while playing Pokemon Go into the Switch game. These Pokemon will go into a Safari Park area where players will be able to go in and interact with them and catch them to add to their party. 

Junichi Masuda has revealed that this trading will be simple process which uses Bluetooth. Players will only have to tap a connection button on their Switch and another in Pokemon Go on their mobile. 

You can play with a friend

One of the things that Pokemon Go was really lacking was a feeling of in-game camaraderie. Sure, in the real world you could meet other players and catch Pokemon together but after these heart-warming encounters there wasn’t much you could do together in the game. 

Pokemon Let’s Go will take social aspect of Pokemon Go further by allowing you to play drop-in co-op with your friends. They’ll be able to pick up the other Joy-Con controller and they’ll appear in the game alongside you. Once there you’ll be able to catch Pokemon together and battle other trainers.

There’s still battling

Although you won’t have to fight with individual Pokemon to lower their health and catch them, judging from the trailer there will still be battling in Pokemon Let’s Go against other trainers. It looks to be largely similar to the core RPG releases in terms of structure. Team Rocket will be there and everything. 

You can play with one hand and there’s a PokeBall accessory

This isn’t exactly going to be a difficult title to play – you only need one hand. Using one Joy-Con, you can interact with the game and throw PokeBalls to catch Pokemon.

Or you can purchase an accessory which was announced alongside the game. This PokeBall controller will do everything the Joy-Con can do. Except it’s far cooler. Because it’s a PokeBall. It’ll be released on the same day as the game, though worldwide pricing hasn’t been confirmed just yet.

Secret Techniques are replacing HMs

In the most recent Nintendo Direct, we caught our final trailer for Pokemon Let’s Go where we finally got a suitable replacement for HMs, called Secret Techniques. These skills are obtained by the trainer and are only usable by your partner Pokemon – i.e. Eevee or Pikachu – and replace Cut, Surf, Fly, etc… from the original games. This is a neat way to replace moves that took up valuable move slots in the original games while still blocking off parts of the map until later in the game.

It’s deliberately easy to play

For hardcore fans of the game, Pokemon Let’s Go may seem like an overly simplified way to play but it’s a deliberate decision by Let’s Go’s developers. With the release of Pokemon Go and the refresh of the anime series, Pokemon is now capturing the attention of a much younger audience that wasn’t around for the releases across Nintendo’s previous handhelds.

With the first big Pokemon release on the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon director, producer, and composer Junichi Masuda told IGN that he wanted to welcome these new, perhaps more casual and younger, players into the world without intimidating them. 

According to Pokemon Company marketing manager Elvin Gee “Everything about [Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee], from the controls, to the design, the art, is made so that it’s ideal to be your first step into [the Pokemon] franchise.”

Something interesting about the PokeBall Plus accessory is that it seems like you can choose a Pokemon to store inside it and take on walks with you. It’s possible that this will work like Pokemon Go’s buddy feature and walking with your Pokemon will train them and allow them to get stronger. 

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