There’s no bigger franchise in the world than Pokémon. The evergoing phenomenon is showing no sign of slowing down, and has been trucking along for just about twenty years. Pokémon Blue is still one of my most fondly remembered gaming experiences, and although I’ve since fallen out of the series only to get back to it with Pokémon Moon, I hold it at a high regard, a franchise truly worthy of all the praise and love it’s gotten for so long.
Pokemon Let’s Go might seem like a sidestep in terms of gameplay innovation, but it absolutely kills when it comes to the feel of catching the darn critters thanks to the pokéball accessory that’s coming out alongside both versions of Let’s Go, Eevee and Pikachu. I had already checked this out at E3, and after finding out Nintendo’s secret testing location at BGS, I once again got a chance to play more of this, eight minutes to be precise.
The pokéball controller’s ring grip is worn on your actual ring finger, and the band goes around your wrist. By holding it upright, red side up, you can use it as an actual pokéball when capturing pokémon, as Ash and other trainers would in the anime and games. The red part of the ball has button in it that serves as the B button on the Switch, while the middle gray ring works as an analog stick for moving your character and pressure button, the A equivalent, for menu and dialog box selections.
Playing Pokémon Let’s Go with the ball controller felt great, and as I got to run around and get into fights, making selections and capturing quickly became second nature to me. I can picture myself playing this game with the normal Switch remotes, but damn if I’m not enamored by the idea of just using this pokéball thing. Nintendo’s devious when it comes to making accessories fell absolutely necessary for specific game experiences, and man, this feels like the case with this one. How can you ever think of not using this thing to play a Pokémon game, now that it exists?
Capturing also feels great. The motion sensors on the ball controller can pick up on whether or not you’re holding it right, and there’s a certain amount of precision you have to have in order to successfully catch a pokémon. Like Pokémon Go on cell phones, there’s a meter you have to pay attention to in order to be successful, but it felt pretty generous when it came down to it, at least that’s the feeling I came out with after the demo. The fights were pretty simple and not at all demanding, so I’m left wondering how Let’s Go will play when things get more involved, since the bit in the demo felt like it’s from the very beginning with the game.
According to the rep helping us test the game out, Pokémon Let’s Go plays like a remake of sorts of Pokémon Yellow, the second iteration of the game that came out after the double pack of Pokémon Blue and Red, which had players step into the shoes of a trainer that much like Ash Ketchum in the cartoon, had a Pikachu tag along in his adventure. In Let’s Go’s case, you’ll be able to pick from a Pikachu or an Eevee, and that’s going to be your “main” pokémon and the one you’ll customize with outfits and whatnot.
I can’t help but feel that this thing is going to be a huge hit when it comes out later this year, thanks to its colorful visuals that look like they came straight out of the latest versions of the handheld Pokémon and if I get the chance, I’m definitely going to pick up the pokéball controller if I end up getting this game.
Pokémon Let’s Go will be out exclusively on Switch on November 16th.