At the time of writing this review I have only played part of Pokémon Sun and maybe a month of Pokémon GO. The Legend of Zelda took most of my time as a kid so I missed the Pokémon franchise. That being said, if I describe aspects of the game and it is old news to you – please take the previous statements into consideration. I stopped playing Pokémon GO a while ago, and therefore deleted the game from phone. I will not be going over the integration from Pokémon GO to Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!
From what I understand, the plot of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! is very similar to the other Pokémon games. You wake to find yourself in your room, get some introductory controls from the computer, meet your rival, and head downstairs. You greet your mom and head outside to explore a bit of Pallet Town. From there you get your first Pokemon (Eevee if you have Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Pikachu if you have Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!) and start your journey to become a great Pokémon trainer. Along the way, Team Rocket interrupts your happy Pokémon hunting. While chasing them, you discover the towns of the Kanto region and take on the gym leaders to acquire badges. Collecting all the badges will allow you to fight the Elite Four, and have your chance at becoming the Pokémon Champion.
Travel in the world is per usual; you and your team are traveling by foot to the nearby towns and along the way finding Pokémon to add to your Pokédex. The Pokémon are now shown in the grass, instead of just the grass moving. This addition enhanced the game for me: now you do not have to fight 7 Pidgeys to get to Jigglypuff. About halfway through the game there is the addition of quick travel (Sky Dash, mentioned later), allowing you to go back to towns you have already visited. Additionally, some of your Pokémon will allow you to ride on them, which makes travel a lot quicker but somewhat unsafe. You can use some of these Pokémon in the water as well. Your partner (Pikachu or Eevee) will also learn a water travel ability.
Even if you are a new to the series, catching Pokémon is beginner friendly. The ring you have to aim the Pokéball at is color-coded. Green means easy, yellow indicates mediocre, orange is for hard to catch, and a red ring indicates that they are the most difficult to capture. Changing Pokéballs or feeding the Pokémon may change the color of the ring. The throwing of Pokéballs is based on the mechanics of Pokémon GO. This is unlike the previous games where you had to battle the Pokémon you wanted to catch until they were low on health. Additionally, if you have the Pokéball Plus you can catch Pokémon with just the flick of your wrist. Partner play uses the touch-controls of the Nintendo Switch to pet your Pokémon or feed them and is very reminiscent of Nintendogs.
You still have the ability to run away from catching Pokémon and the Pokémon can run away from you. Catching Pokémon gains experience for your entire party. If you want a beefy party, fight everything you come into contact with, within reason. Catching multiple of the same Pokémon will allow you to trade off the multiples or send them to Professor Oak for candies. You can also pick up some Repels and Lures to help. Repels will repel Pokémon from you, so if you are riding a Pokémon you are unlikely to get stopped. Lures do the opposite: they attract Pokémon to you.
There are some forced battles where NPC’s will pivot and see you, dragging you into a battle. These will sometimes happen at the most inopportune times, like when you are rushing to get your Pokémon back to the Pokémon Center. However, if you are able to, battle everyone. Encounters gain experience for your entire party. If all your Pokémon do faint, you are instantly teleported back to the Pokémon Center you are closest to.
If you want to play with someone in the same room, you can un-dock the controllers and they can play the Pokémon in your party. This adds to battles, as you have more help, however this takes away from someone wanting to use the Joy-Con Comfort Grip. You are able to trade Pokémon with friends, and even some of the villagers will trade you Pokémon. The Pokémon that the villagers trade with you are mostly from different regions. These are region variant Pokémon and look different than the ones you will catch in Kanto.
Exploring the world has a lot of perks. Traveling the world, getting into encounters and talking to villagers will gain you experience, items, currency, tips and new Pokémon. Villagers will trade you Pokémon, as already mentioned, but they will also occasionally give you Pokémon if you have met certain criteria. If you look in every nook and cranny, you are going to find lots of supplies. Watch your partner’s tail! It will wiggle when you are close to an item. Villagers will give you tips, and even some rare items if you engage them. Littered around are signs which give tips and tricks for the game which are super helpful. Magazines on the bookshelf in the Pokémon Center also have tips and tricks.
When arriving in a town you can really feel the atmosphere. The music, color palette, and shapes are apparent the minute you step into town. Pallet town has an air of fresh-faced adventurer, with uppity music. Lavender town is depressing with dark colors, sad music and boxy buildings. Celadon City has lush florals, happy colors, and upbeat music.
The visuals in the wild and in battles were really nice if you are new to the series. Pokémon in the wild that are tiny have a blue swirling visual around them, and huge Pokémon have a red visual. In battles, status conditions have color-coding: paralysis is yellow, poison is purple etc. If your Pokémon uses a skill that lowers the enemy’s stats there is a blue effect and if there is a strengthening effect it is red.
Throughout the game you and your partner will gain more outfits for both of you to wear. There are bows, flowers, glasses, hats and clothes that you are able to put on your Pokémon. The trainer is able to change their own bag, hat, and clothing. You can match your partner or be complete opposites: it is your choice. Along with outfits, you can also muss-up your partners hair in the Partner Play game and try out different hairstyles. The outfit you have equipped for your partner is also reflected on the main menu, which is a nice touch.
Your partner Pokémon will not evolve. About half-way through the game there was an interaction with a NPC that tells you this, as well as later in the game it comes up again. The NPC mentions evolution and your partner whines, triggering the dialogue that your Pokémon wants to stay the way it is. If you try to use an evolution stone on your partner, it will outright refuse to evolve. You are stuck with your un-evolved little friend. Is that such a bad thing though?
These are abilities that your partner (Eevee or Pikachu) will learn to help your team explore the world. Some examples are Chop Down, which allows you to cut down trees, and Sky Dash, which lets you fly to previously visited towns. These skills will be taught to your partner along your journey.
I really liked this game. With the integration of the Partner Play, the catching style of Pokémon GO, and the visuals and sound of a classic Pokémon game, the game really shines. Even though I have not played a lot of the previous games, this still seemed like an addition to the series with a couple new touches. I ended up getting a little over thirty hours out of the game, and that was with very little catching of Pokémon, or doing anything outside of the main questline. The only difference I have found between the Eevee and Pikachu editions is that there are Pokemon that are traded to you by NPC’s that are exclusive to each. I suggest picking this title up if you were a fan of the rest of the series. Happy catching!