Greetings PokeNerds and welcome to Straight Outta Kanto – your brand new Ireland based blog for news, nerd culture, nonsense and maybe more! Most likely more, actually.
With all the hype and excitement (and grumbling and snobbery) from PokeFans young and slightly-less-young-but-certainly-not-old about this winter’s impending Pokemon Yellow/Pokemon GO remake/mash-up “Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee” all eyes are on the relatively new-ish Nintendo Switch.
I, like many die-hard Pokemon fans, only up-grade my gaming systems when I am forced to do so when Game Freak releases a brand new Pokemon game that can only be played on whatever Nintendo’s latest model is. (Well played, Nintendo, well played…)
This means, that this Christmas it is time to put away childish Nintendo 3DS-es things and mature into the adulty world of… the Nintendo Switch.
I, being a semi-functioning millenial adult with an equally millenial part-time job (can’t quite unlock Full Time Adulting Bonus Points, but I’ll get there one day, we all will…!) was in the lucky position of being able to recently procure a brand new (used) Nintendo Switch and got to sample all it’s zazzy and modern delights.
Right. Straight up. I am only going to ever use the Switch as a hand-held console in a horizontal and be-pyjama-ed position from my bed, (why change the habit of a life time?) so if you’re looking for a review of all the amazing and many home/screen/fancy console options I’m sure this machine provides, well, you’re just in the wrong place.
First port of call when testing out my new Switch? The free-to-download (but with sneaky hidden extra charges) game: Pokemon Quest!
The best way to describe Quest is thusly: Imagine if a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon exploration team went on holiday to The Simpson‘s ‘Blocko Land‘ and suddenly decided exploring dungeons was crap and they all wanted to be contestants in Smash Bro‘s instead – and you’re part-way there.
This is a strange and silly game that is insidiously addictive and tremendous fun, but still feels like some not-very-rewarding or worthy mobile-phone game you’d kill some time with on loo during lunch-hour but is too shallow for more in-depth gaming at home.
It starts out on this mad island called “Tumblecube Island”. I think the lead-character is some kind of professor/researcher type thing and has sent their PokeBall coloured drone “MoBee” onto this island to peruse from afar…
You start off by be-friending a starter Pokemon (I went with Eevee, in the spirit of all this recent Eevee lurrve) and then you make some new chums, such as Rattata and Pidgey and go on small quests around various locations trying to defeat wild Pokemon Each time you defeat the “Boss” of each area you unlock a new area and advance further on in the game meeting more and more stronger Pokemon, building up your team levels and acquiring useful items.
Again, it’s not dissimilar to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, but square.
The battling in Quest in frenetic and frantic and I honestly have difficulty discerning who is and isn’t getting their ass whupped on my team. The blocky animation actually works against the game’s favour in this regard. A big bunch of colourdy blocks crashing into each other all once? Yeah, there’s a lot going on.
You must also wait between 5 – 10 seconds per move as well, which can work against your Pokemon’s success rate in a battle as usually it means there’s one of you standing in suspended animation while eight Caterpie’s attack at once…
You can be knocked unconscious but your Pokemon does get the chance to revive itself as long as the other Pokemon are still active and battling in the team.
That being said, this style of battle does sweep you up in the frenzied excitement of the moment and once you get into a rhythm with your Pokemon team it does get easier. and more enjoyable. There’s a strange little Auto Play function for going on quests that means you get to sit back and watch your game play itself.
This function feels a little like when you’re over at a friend’s house and politely watching them play a video game – you’re politely happy they’re enjoying themselves but you yourself don’t feel particularly emotionally invested in the outcome.
Leave Auto Play alone if you want to really get your hands dirty in this game!
Much akin to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon your character gets this nifty little Base Camp (look at me, owning land!) where you can let your Pokemon friends stretch their legs and mingle with the other ‘mon.
Here you can also cook (the only time I would ever be seen near food that doesn’t come from a toaster) little stews that attract various Pokemon Types based on the stew/soup/ghoulash/slop colour. IE: Yellow soup equals an electric Pokemon joining your team and so forth. The soup takes a few quests to complete so if you want to get new friends that way you better get questing!
As well as this, you can decorate your base with mildly fun and square Pokemon accessories. You do this by spending PM tickets. (I think it stands for Pokemon Mart… Duh…)
The PM Ticket thing is a little annoying. You receive these tickets through naturally occurring events in the game such as rewards etc, or you can buy them.
Nearly everything you want to do to proceed in the game beyond the first few levels requires PM Tickets.
You can speed up your stew, level up, charge your battery – apparently you’re only allowed attempt 4 – 5 quests in row before your ‘battery‘ runs out and you either need to spend 25 PM tickets to recharge it and continue your game or literally halt your game and wait for a relatively annoying period of time before your ‘battery‘ recharges itself naturally.
So, you’ll be this close to defeating the Boss of a level and be full of fighting spirit to go charging back in to camp and destroy them and all they hold dear… but you can’t! It’s like being defeated by a Gym Leader or whatever and being told “Nope, you have to wait until we dictate otherwise before you continue playing… unless you wanna spend some PM Tickets and continue…?”
I find this really takes you out of the fantasy of the game and reminds me of tacky games that require you to spend real money to continue.
Yes, it’s only like 30 minutes or so you have to wait to continue playing your quests, but there just isn’t enough non-quest game play to kill time with while you wait to be allowed continue your adventure.
There’s a Pokedex function where obviously as you advance through the game (if you’re allowed to…!) you’ll hopefully manage to fill all 150 slots. There’s a scary stats and levels and add power stones to your ‘mon function that also includes some kind of training programme where you run at a friend Pokemon, barrel them down and then they leave your team, but you’ve gone up 1 exp point so it’s all good…!?
I honestly probably haven’t played Pokemon Quest long enough to get to grips fully with the training and levelling up functions but I’m sure there’s mathsy people out there who’ll enjoy that!
But yeah, a Pokedex and some limited team editing and training, not nearly enough to spend time on while you wait for your battery to charge…!
So, all in all, Pokemon Quest as a free download is worth getting purely to add to your Pokemon game collection and is a bit if fun summer fluff, just don’t expect anything too demanding (or at all) plot and story wise – this is as basic as it gets.
I can’t guarantee I will ever have the patience required to complete this but, if you’re looking for some light entertainment and a chance to get to grips with using a Switch before Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee appears underneath your crimbo tree, then Quest away my friend! Quest away!
There we have it nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys, I mean skies!
For more information on Straight Outta Kanto, feel free to follow our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StraightOuttaKanto91/ or join our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623889321229114/
Thanks for reading! 🙂