Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Pokemon Let's Go is the first main line RPG to be on a home console. Traditionally this series has been exclusive to the Gameboy and DS consoles. Now they have brought it to the Nintendo Switch with Pokemon Let's Go Eevee and Pickachu! Let's explore what makes this game in the series so special and why I think this is one of the best games on the Switch!
The gameplay is pretty simple, and for the most part is similar to other Pokemon RPG games. The whole goal of this game is to train up your Pokemon and defeat all the Gym leaders throughout the game. You can also try to catch all 151 Pokemon in the game as a side goal. You catch, train, and battle with your Pokemon companions. If you have played a Pokemon game before you will find yourself at home with this game. This also follows the story line of the original Pokemon game, yellow. There are a few differences in how this game plays and we will explore what those are in this review.
You can have 6 total Pokemon in your party but you can switch these out for others you have caught. In previous games you would have to find a "PC" to swap them out but in Let's Go you are actually carrying them around in your pack and you can put them in your party at anytime. In this new system you set a certain Pokemon to follow you around the map. If they are big enough you can even ride them around. This is a great addition they have added back into Pokemon, like the yellow version where Pikachu would always follow you around.
This game has many controller options, like most games do on the Switch.
You have the option to use one joy-con for TV mode. You also have the option to play in handheld mode (I use this the most).
And finally, you can use the Poke ball plus, a controller specifically designed for this game. As you can see, there is no option for the pro controller.
The Pokemon you start out with in this game all depend on which version you pick up. Let's Go Pikachu starts you with Pikachu, and the Eevee version gets you Eevee. Now, these are not called starters in this version but are now called partner Pokemon. The partners cannot be evolved but they are very strong and can learn certain moves that make up for it. Partner Pokemon also are always on you - what I mean by that is that they ride you around like a pet.
In previous games you had a choice between three different types of Pokemon. The good news is that you can still find the original starters in this game. You will find Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtile in the wild, or you can find people who will give them to you if you have caught enough Pokemon. This to me is a great feature and I am happy to see I can train these Pokemon as well.
HM's (Hidden Machine)
In previous Pokemon games you had to learn HM’s like Cut, Fly, and Surf in order to progress through the game. This is similar in both versions of Pokemon Let’s Go, Eevee and Pikachu, however there are some differences that will make most people happy. The new abilities are called Secret Techniques - they do not take up move slots and can only be taught to your partner Pokemon, either Eevee or Pikachu, depending on which version of the game you own. This is a great addition, as the HM mechanic was annoying - you usually had to carry around an HM "slave" (Pokemon used just for HM's) so you didn't mess up your move set for your other Pokemon.
In previous versions of Pokemon the only way to level up would be to battle other Pokemon from trainers or in the wild and gain EXP for the Pokemon you used to battle. This was a very tedious part of the game and to some was very annoying as you can only train one Pokemon at a time. Pokemon Let's Go tries to make this process more easy and welcoming to newcomers of the series. When you battle other trainers' Pokemon you gain EXP for not only the Pokemon you used but all your Pokemon in your party. The other way to get more EXP is to catch other Pokemon, which will be described in more detail below.
Catching Pokemon used to consist of battling a Pokemon until they were weak but not fainted, then throwing a Poke ball at it and hoping is stays in the ball. With Pokemon Let's Go you no longer need to battle and weaken Pokemon to catch them.
Encountering Wild Pokemon
You don't need to run around in the tall grass and hope you find the Pokemon you were looking for. With Let's Go you can see the Pokemon in the tall grass and run up to the ones you want to catch. There is an item called a lure which causes more Pokemon to spawn around you and makes it so more rare Pokemon will appear.
If you have played Pokemon Go on your mobile device this mechanic will look very familiar. You are presented with the Pokemon you ran into and have a few options: you can either use a Poke ball to throw at the Pokemon, or you can change your item to any berry. Throwing the ball into the ring that is yellow, red or green will gain you more reward and greater chance to get the catch. When using the single joy-con or Poke ball plus in TV mode you have to use the motion controls to simulate a throw. In handheld, you aim with motion and throw with the button A.
Berries make it easier to catch Pokemon. Razz berries will slow down the ring and possibly change the color; Pinap berries increase the chances of an item dropping when you secure a catch; And finally, Nanab berries will calm down a Pokemon that is moving too much during a catch sequence.
When you secure a catch you get EXP that is shared among your party Pokemon. The more precisely you get the ball in the ring, the more EXP you get. You can also get more EXP by catching Pokemon that are tiny or large - these Pokemon have a certain color around them when you see them in the wild.
Catching a Pokemon video below:
Pokemon has a turned based fighting style that has been around since the beginning of the series. In Let's Go this has not changed and stays to its roots. When you encounter a battle (like the video below shows) you can choose to fight, which will bring up options to select an attack - you can also choose to switch out a Pokemon; this is helpful when you want to counter a specific type of Pokemon. Each Pokemon has a type and can be countered by another - for example: fire beats grass, water beats fire, electric beats flying, etc. While battling you can also choose to get an item to boost your Pokemon in battle or heal. Up to this point in playing and testing this game, battling has been a little easy, but we will see when I get farther along on how that scales up.
This is the first ever Pokemon game to offer co-op play. The way this game does this is by allowing another person to pick up a joy-con (you must be in TV mode for co-op) and shake it. This will drop in a new character to walk around with you. You can catch Pokemon together by each throwing a Poke ball. You can also battle 2 v 1 against trainers and gym leaders. This is an awesome feature to have - you can help out your kid or play with your wife/husband. Something I wish was included is an online feature. Having an online friend join would be awesome if you have no one else to play with you.
This game is influenced by the popular Pokemon Go mobile app and they have decided to even integrate it into this game. The way they do this is by allowing you to transfer Pokemon caught in Pokemon Go to Let's Go (but not the other way around). When you do this, the Pokemon from the mobile app are transferred into Go Park in the middle of Fuchsia City in Let's Go. From this park you can catch the Pokemon you have previously caught in Pokemon Go. This is very helpful if you have rare Pokemon in the mobile app.
Pokemon Let's Go builds on the popular Pokemon series and adds a few mechanics. No longer are there grinding Pokemon battles for leveling up, or walking around trying to find a wild Pokemon. Let's Go does a good job allowing new players an easy time getting into the Pokemon universe. If you are a new player or a seasoned player you will find something here to like. I have been a fan of the series since Yellow version but fell off the series recently. I have found that this game brings me back to old times but also keeps it fresh with the new mechanics and visuals. I highly recommend this game to anyone looking to get back into the Pokemon Universe.
Pokemon Let's Go! Pikachu currenty $59.88: https://amzn.to/2BePHBT
Pokemon Let's Go! Eevee currenty $59.88: https://amzn.to/2TtfRrY
Pikachu Bundle currenty $99.99: https://amzn.to/2PAAhRB
Eevee Bundle currenty $99.99: https://amzn.to/2ThPYeB
Switch console bundles -
Rating: 4/5 Stars
+ Easy to get into
+ Makes certain mechanics simpler
+ Less grinding
- Motion control
- A little easy
Great for couples
Ages 6 and up