A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are action role-playing games exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. These two games are remakes of the 1998 game Pokémon Yellow, which itself was a remake of the original Pokémon Red and Blue games. Apart from each version having exclusive Pokémon and abilities, the two games support the Pokémon Go app, allowing players to gather items and level creatures by transferring them to the app. Gamers can also purchase an accessory, the Poké Ball Plus, which allows players to pantomime throwing Poké balls to catch monsters, control the game, and interact with the app. Players gather monsters and train them to fight against other characters with their own stable of creatures to see which ones are better. While the focus of the game revolves around combat, with creatures zapping, bitting, clawing, and using other attacks in battle, the violence is cartoonish. Creatures faint when defeated, and no blood or gore is shown.
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What's it about?
POKÉMON: LET'S GO, PIKACHU! and LET'S GO, EEVEE! are the latest games in the highly popular monster collecting franchise, but they're not exactly new. In fact, they're updated versions of 1998's Pokémon Yellow, which was an update of the original Pokémon Red and Blue games for the Gameboy. The story revolves around a young kid in the land of Kanto who has a dream to become the best Pokémon trainer in the land. After being chosen by a wild Pikachu (or Eevee, depending on your game selection), the kid will venture forth, capture other creatures, and fight rival trainers in the quest to be number one. A lot of changes have been made to update the 20-year-old gameplay; for instance, random creature collection has been eliminated in favor of roaming beasts in the environment, allowing you to try to grab the one you want. Players are encouraged to bond with their Pokémon, which can give new abilities to fend off attacks in combat. The game can be played with one Joy-Con controller and even includes co-operative multiplayer, so two trainers can fight against an opponent at the same time. There's even an exclusive peripheral, the Poké Ball Plus, which lets you mimic the action of throwing Poké balls to actively catch Pokémon. But that's not all it can do; players can sync their creatures with the Poké Ball Plus and level them up by walking around, or even trade them back and forth with the Pokémon Go app, giving you more items, experience, and options to strengthen your team. Will you "become the very best, like no one ever was"?
Is it any good?
This updated version of a gaming classic brings the collection series into the 21st century, making it more accessible and engaging than before, even if it makes it easier at the same time. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! take a fresh new look at the gameplay of Pokémon Yellow with many new updates, making the title very accessible for newcomers. For one thing, random battles have been eliminated in favor of seeing the creatures on a map, so players can pick and choose which fights to engage in (or track creatures that haven't been captured yet to add to their collection). You also get tons of Poké balls to capture monsters, whether they're found in the environment or as a reward for beating trainers. Unless you mistime a throw, it's almost impossible to lose a creature. But most striking with the Let's Go games is that they focus more on bonding and building relationships with your Pokémon. You'll be able to feed, clothe, and play with Pikachu (or Eevee), which builds trust. Similarly, you can take other captured Pokémon out of their shells to follow you around the world. Spending this time gives the creatures the ability to shrug off attacks and even heal themselves of harmful status conditions, which makes your investment in your stable of creatures extremely valuable. Plus, it's almost impossible to stop smiling when your Eevee (or Pikachu) purrs and smiles at you as you scratch its ears.
The expanded play carries over to the Poké Ball Plus controller peripheral, which allows you to control the game with one hand and "toss" Poké balls out to capture creatures. For any kid that's imagined capturing monsters, this peripheral is the closest thing to putting you in the cartoon, complete with its sounds and light-up LEDs. But it also syncs up with Pokémon Go, allowing you to train your creatures with each step and get items if you hit Poké Stops without using a cell phone. If you have big hands, the controller can be slightly uncomfortable over prolonged gameplay, but that's a minor problem. In fact, the only issue with Let's Go is that the game's a bit too easy, especially for experienced players, who may be bored aside from a taste of nostalgia. For instance, the ability to gang up on trainers through co-op play means that you won't face a challenge during fights, and you have twice the opportunities to capture creatures. It's also easy to get stat boosting candies and experience from gathering Pokémon (even if they're duplicates), so the challenge of leveling or evolving your creatures is almost nonexistent. Ease of gameplay aside, Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! are still lots of fun for the franchise's first steps on the Switch, especially for players who have never explored the original games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about marketing to kids. With no shortage of Pokémon-themed products available, how do you choose the best to spend your money on?
Why do you think companies release remakes of games? Is it for nostalgia, for updating games with new technology, or simply to make additional money? What about giving new generations and players a chance to experience classic games?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: November 16, 2018
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: April 1, 2021
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