A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pokémon Quest is a free-to-play role-playing game available for download on iOS and Android devices, as well as the Nintendo Switch. Players build a small base camp and recruit various Pokémon to send out on expeditions, exploring different areas of an island. Pokémon fight each other using a variety of special abilities, including blowing fire, throwing rocks, and poisoning each other. Violence is presented in a cartoonish way and does no permanent damage to the Pokémon, instead knocking them out temporarily. While the game is free to play, there are a number of different ways in which players can spend real-world money to get special items, exclusive Pokémon, and so on, though none are required to advance.
What's it about?
It's a brand-new adventure with a few familiar friends, as the Pokémon you know and love find a new home in POKÉMON QUEST. Set a course for Tumblecube Island, where the flora and fauna have developed a uniquely blocky style. Despite the different look, the island is home to some familiar Pokémon faces. As a researcher, you'll need to set up a base camp, lure different Pokémon with some tasty cooking, and build a team to explore every corner of the island. Along the way, you'll collect new recipe ingredients and special power stones to boost your Pokémon's abilities -- and maybe even uncover a few other secrets. Fill your Pokédex, and catch 'em all once again.
Is it any good?
This blocky adventure set in the world of the beloved Pokémon franchise has a quirky spin on play but ultimately devolves into repetitive gaming and little user interaction. Previous Pokémon spin-off titles have included pinball, puzzle, and even arcade fighting games. Pokémon Quest puts yet another twist on the formula, mixing crafting and building role-playing game elements with some simplified dungeon-crawling action, all wrapped in a Minecraft-esque coat of paint. The fact that Pokémon Quest tries to be a little bit of everything is both its strength and its weakness.
To progress in Pokémon Quest, you need to follow a relatively straightforward pattern: Cook, recruit, equip, explore. Wash, rinse, and then repeat. Each step relies heavily on the one before. You need to cook the food to recruit the Pokémon, then make sure they're trained and well-equipped with power stones, or they can't make it through the expeditions. And you need to complete expeditions to earn more ingredients and stones. It's not a very deep process, just a repetitive one. One odd twist to the formula is that the combat is the simplest part of the game ... mainly because you don't really need to do anything. Your Pokémon team moves and attacks on its own, with very little interaction. You're only responsible for activating Pokémon abilities, and if you click the Auto button, you don't even need to do that. By contrast, mixing up new recipes and training Pokémon are much more complex, user-involved processes. While entertaining enough to provide an occasional distraction, Pokémon Quest is ultimately a jack-of-all-trades, but a (Pokémon) master of none.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism and popularity. How do popular franchises like Pokémon get people to keep coming back to the series? What, if anything, do spin-offs like Pokémon Quest add to the franchise?
What's the impact of the violence on younger players? How do cartoonish visuals and characters that are knocked out instead of killed affect that impact? Are there parallels between the fighting moves of Pokémon in Pokémon Quest and the behaviors of real-world animals?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: June 27, 2018
- Category: Role-Playing Games
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Wild Animals
- Size: 353.70 MB
- Publisher: The Pokemon Company
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or higher; Android 4.4 and up
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.