I really, really like Pokémon Let’s GO. I’m something of a lapsed Pokémon fan having not properly played one for a long time. I do, however, love Pokémon GO so the admittedly weird combination of it and traditional Pokémon is perfect for me.
It’s also a perfect gateway into the RPG series for newcomers who may have only ever played Pokémon GO. It’s a smart move by Nintendo and while it’ll certainly alienate some hardcore fans, Pokémon Let’s GO is just great.
I haven’t had as good a time playing Pokémon since I was in Year 7 and I first played Pokémon Red in black and white on a Game Boy Pocket. Such is the power of Pokémon’s nostalgia and the tried and true formula of these games.
Pokémon Let’s GO Review
Tried and true may be something you can be sure of with Pokémon titles, but Pokémon Let’s GO makes some changes to accommodate fans of Pokémon GO. First and foremost, there are no more random battles.
I can’t tell you how many nightmares I’ve had of Zubats and Geodudes coming at me in a relentless tidal wave of guano and pebbles…
Now, as you move around the field, you’ll see Pokémon roaming around. They’re not just confined to the tall grass either. Sure, that’s where the mostly spawn, but you’ll see them all over the place. It’s charming and fun and exactly what someone who’s played Pokémon GO would expect to see.
Making Catching Fun Again
In every Pokémon game since the beginning of time, players know that when they encounter a wild Pokémon, they need to battle it and reduce its health before attempting to capture it. Not so in Pokémon Let’s GO.
Instead, when you encounter a wild Pokémon, you’ll be taken to a screen that looks ripped straight from Pokémon GO. The Pokémon will appear, hopping around and attacking, just like in the mobile game, and you’ll need to throw your Pokéball in time with a shrinking coloured ring.
If the ring is green, the catch will be easy. Yellow means it’s more difficult and red means you’re going to struggle. Like in Pokémon GO, if you manage to throw your ball into the centre of the shrinking ring you’ll earn a Nice, Great or Excellent catch rating, based on the size of the ring.
All of this is standard Pokémon GO. Placed inside a Pokémon RPG, it’s transformative. I’ve always found the fighting of random wild Pokémon the most tedious part of these games. The fights can go on for ages, your Pokémon take damage and you earn very little in the way of XP.
Faster and Better
In Pokémon Let’s GO, the new catch mechanics mean the pace of the game is vastly improved. Instead of actively avoiding wild Pokémon battles, I was instead, going after them. Not just because catching Pokémon is fun; you earn plenty of XP for each Pokémon in your party from every one you catch and catching the same type in a row nets you bonuses and boosts.
Purists will struggle with the changes, but Pokémon’s formula has been a bit stale for a while. Thankfully, this major change has proven to be a great one. That being said, using motion controls to catch Pokémon is not as good as it could be. Expect to waste lots of Pokéballs.
When it comes to most of the rest of the game, it’s the Pokémon you know and love. Strangers will challenge you to battles, you’ll earn Gym Badges, explore dungeons, fight your rival and more. It’s not exactly as it always was though.
Change is Good
Taking inspiration from Pokémon Yellow, Pikachu or Eevee (depending on your version) will follow you around. You can also play with and pet you Pokémon to strengthen your bond and earn buffs. Following you isn’t their only skill either.
HMs have been totally done away with and replaced with Secret Techniques. These are taught to your Pokémon and don’t replace any of their attacks. Cut is replaced by Chop Down, Flash is Light Up, Fly is Sky Dash and so on.
Again, it’s a simple change, but it totally improves the overall quality and enjoyability of Pokémon Let’s GO. Finally, the Safari Zone is not in the game at all. Instead, it’s been replaced with the GO Park.
GO Park, GO
The GO Park is a combination of the Pokémon Box and Safari Zone. Players can transfer and store hundreds of Pokémon from Pokémon GO in different GO Parks where they’re also able to catch them.
However, sending Pokémon from the mobile game to the Switch will mean you can’t get them back. You’ll earn candy and other items when you transfer, but make sure you don’t send something you want to keep in Pokémon GO.
All in all, Pokémon Let’s GO is a modernised version of the original Pokémon we know and love. It welcomes new players with open arms while making sure that (most) veterans will still have a great time.
Pokémon Let’s GO Eevee was reviewed using a retail copy and Pokéball Plus peripheral provided by Nintendo.
Game Title: Pokémon Let's GO Eevee
Weaponised Nostalgia - 10/10
Looks and feels exactly like it should - 9.1/10
If you don't like Pokémon GO or motion controls you're out of luck - 6.2/10
A Good First Step for Pokémon on console - 8.8/10
Some odd design decisions - 6.2/10