I was quite excited when the Switch was announced. I had a Wii back in the day but never got on the Wii U bandwagon. I wasn’t hugely into the DS landscape because it seemed every year they bought out a new one that wasn’t backwards compatible from original, XL, super XL, 3D, 3D XL etc.. The Switch looked really good though, a home console that you can just pick up and play on the go? Nice!
When it came out I didn’t exactly rush to buy it, I had a PS4 I was playing religiously and whilst there were a dozen or so games out I wanted I didn’t want any of them enough to buy a new console.
A colleague at work was a massive Zelda nut though, so she did get one with Breath of the Wild, and after finishing it let me borrow the Switch and game so I could try it. I’ll work on a review of BotW later but having had a chance to play on a Switch I was really sold.
When Pokémon Let’s Go came out, though, that was it. I got one shortly after. I’ve always liked Pikachu well enough, but I love Eevee far more, and my favourite Pokémon of all time is Umbreon. I was so happy when the store clerk told me that had literally 1 edition of Let’s Go Eevee left in stock, so grabbed it!
Pokémon Let’s Go is a modern adaption of the original Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow games way back from Generation 1 (bearing in mind we’re just waiting for Gen 8 to come out soon). 151 (ish) Pokémon to capture, 8 gym leaders, Team Rocket, and an Elite Four waiting at the end.
This game builds more on Yellow as in Yellow you had a little follower Pikachu who would wander around behind you, in Let’s Go you get 2 follows!! Depending on which version you buy (Pikachu or Eevee) your first Pokémon is that one, you don’t get to pick from the traditional Ride/Water/Grass starter types. Your new buddy will then sit on your head/shoulder for your journey and won’t go into a Pokéball unless it’s for healing. You can then also get another Pokémon out and have them follow you too. This one you can interact with and they’ll find you berries and stuff in the grass, whereas your buddy Pokémon will just stay sat.
Amusingly for me because I got this as a bundle I got a Pokéball controller with the game, there was a gift inside the Pokéball of a free special Pokémon which turned out to be Mew, the 151st legendary. As I got this literally as soon as I started my journey I of course made Mew my follower and loved the idea of little kids challenging me to battles with their level 5 Caterpie completely uncaring of the mythical beast hovering over my shoulder.
My buddy was promptly dubbed by both myself and my wife as the most adorable little bundle of fluff ever and knighted Sir Floof. She may be a girl, but she’s also a Sir. Most of the rest of the pictures in this post are just going to be of my wonderful little cuddle-ball.
The main changes between this game and the originals is the influence of Pokémon Go. You’d have to have been living under a rock for the past couple of years to have managed to miss Pokémon Go but if you have it’s a mobile game that uses GPS to let you catch the beasties in the world. It was quite popular.
A few mechanics have been carried over but it’s mostly around catching new Pokémon. In the original games you’d wander through long grass or caves or water, randomly you’d encounter a wild one of appropriate type (so grass types in grass etc.) and you’d have to battle it to weaken it, then when it was weak enough you could throw a Pokéball at them and you’d hopefully catch them. If you you could just keep throwing balls or risk damaging it a little bit more.
In Let’s Go you just pelt it with Pokéballs until it gives up.
So that’s not 100% accurate, each wild encounter has a coloured ring that shrinks until it vanishes then reappears and restarts. The goal is to flick the ball inside the circle and the smaller the circle the higher the chance you’ll catch it. Other stuff impacts your chances like what tier of ball you’re using and the strength of the Pokémon. If you’re interested you can read about the Go version of the Grand Unified Catch Theory but that’s the important bits.
For me this was a really positive change as I always hated trying to get things just low enough you didn’t knock them out, but not so high you weren’t going to catch them. This way you just have to have a reasonable aim and you can catch stuff. The downside is a really strong/rare Pokémon will absolutely wreck your reserves of balls. I was trying to catch a different legendary Articuno and went through all 100 Great tier balls and nearly 200 regular tier balls before I got it, mostly because I hadn’t planned to find it so didn’t bring any extra Ultra balls with me.
Aside from that there are a few quality of life changes that have carried over from other games in the series like the ability to trade your 6 strong team out with ones in your reserve from any location. There’s also a really nice change for me in the way TM’s (which are items you can use to teach special moves to your Pokémon) don’t get consumed when you use them, and also highlight which Pokémon can use them in a clear way.
Eevee can also be taught new moves by special people across the world. Moves in Pokémon are grouped by types (like fire and ice) and you can’t go teaching moves to a Pokémon that doesn’t share a type. Unless, that is, ones of these trainers teaches your Buddy these moves which can be of varied types. They’ve also all got really cute names, so my Eevee is currently rocking Baddy Bad (a dark type move), Bouncy Bubble (a water type move that heals you for some of the damage done), and Sparkly Swirl (a fairy type move, which is quite rare, and also cures status effects like burn and poison). This means your buddy Pokémon will always be able to have useful moves, which is great as you can’t remove them from your party.
The last major change I know of is that there’s now something called Catch Combo’s which weren’t in any of the previous games. To get a Catch Combo you just have to keep catching the same type of Pokémon over and over. If you accidentally get in an encounter with one you don’t want you can run away without losing your streak, but if you take too long and one runs away whilst you’re trying to catch it that does break the streak.
The benefit of having a streak is that the higher it gets the higher the chance of rarer, evolved, or more powerful version of Pokémon spawning around you. Depending on where you are you can use this to get specific ones you’re having trouble finding. The best part is you can combo on type in one place where they’re easy to get a bunch of the same one, and then go to where the rare one is to trigger the spawn. The downside is the combo’s need to be in in the 30’s range to be useful, which is a lot of time and effort!
For me the best part about the whole game is the play with buddy screen which lets you just pet them (sadly through the medium of a screen) and they make happy noises. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but oh my god is it worth it. The little happy squeaks and trills, the flopping about and wiggly ears, and sneezes and playful pats….. I love it so much!!!
The fact you can also dress up your Eevee and yourself in cute matching outfits?! Sold. Hands down.
So what’s my verdict? If you like Pokémon Go you’ll probably like this. If you like the show or movies there’s a good chance you’ll like this. If you liked the originals (or the modern versions) it might be a bit more hit/miss as it does replace some mechanics that people like, and that might not sit right with you.
But getting to play with my wonderful little girl Sir Floof more than makes up for it. Look at her little face and tell you didn’t fall in love.