A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Detective Pikachu is an adventure game for the Nintendo 3DS system. Players are challenged to solve various cases through the use of observation, deductive reasoning, and critical thinking. The main characters in the game are strong positive influences, helping out others wherever possible, working through obstacles, and building the bonds of friendship. Younger players should have very little trouble with the game, as it tends to walk players through the solutions of most challenges, and it even includes an Easy mode to more directly help players progress through the story. The game is a spin-off of the wildly popular Pokémon game, and a movie with the same name is in development.
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What's it about?
When strange events start to unfold in Ryme City, it all points to a mystery for the greatest detective to ever sport a deerstalker hat. No, not Sherlock Holmes. This is a case for DETECTIVE PIKACHU. When Tim Goodman comes to Ryme City to search for clues in the recent disappearance of his father, he stumbles across a Pokémon like no other: a gruff, coffee-loving, crime-solving Pikachu ... that just so happens to talk. Curiously, only Tim can understand this Pikachu, which seems to have ties to his missing father. The duo decide to team up and investigate the recent string of unusual events happening around Ryme City, uncovering pieces of a larger conspiracy and learning the fate of Tim's father in the process. As Tim, you'll need to whip out your notebook, talk to the witnesses, collect the evidence, and crack the case, as you team up with the self-proclaimed "great detective" Pikachu and discover a whole new corner of the Pokémon universe.
Is it any good?
This entertaining mystery adventure is perfect for young Pokéfans, especially because it presents an accessible, easy-to-follow tale that gives a sense of accomplishment. For 20-plus years, budding young trainers have captured, traded, trained, and bonded with their favorite Pokémon in a never-ending quest to be the very best ... like no one ever was. But Detective Pikachu leaves the gym battles behind, instead giving Pokéfans a glimpse at the world through the eyes of a wise-cracking, coffee-drinking Pikachu, and the one person in the world who can understand him. It's a story that's fascinating not just because of the plot's unfolding mystery, but also because of the unique insight it gives into the everyday relationships between Pokémon and humans. It's enlightening to see how the various Pokémon view one another, as well as their thoughts on the people they co-exist with.
The story in Detective Pikachu unfolds over the course of a series of chapters, each focusing on a new case for Tim and Pikachu to solve while uncovering pieces of a greater conspiracy. These are generally lighthearted adventures, and tailor-made for a younger audience. The game essentially walks players through each case, holding their hand and none-too-subtly directing them to the clues they need to find. Players are unable to progress until they've uncovered every scrap of information available, whether it's a vital clue or not, and once it's finally time to put all the pieces together, there's no penalty for getting it wrong short of trying a new combination of evidence. In fact, the whole process is almost too easy, and that's not accounting for the game's actual Easy mode option. While this might bore some older gamers, it's actually great for younger fans eager to feel a sense of accomplishment. And regardless of age, Detective Pikachu's story in combination with the characters' personalities never fails to entertain.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship and teamwork. What are some good ways to build new relationships and foster friendship? What are the benefits of working with friends?
Talk about critical thinking. What are some good ways to help develop critical thinking skills? What are some of the abilities (observation, note taking, etc.) that can help when trying to come up with solutions to difficult problems?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading, reading comprehension, storytelling, using supporting evidence
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, collecting data, deduction, investigation, problem solving, solving puzzles
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: March 23, 2018
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence
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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.