There were whispers about a Pokémon game in development for the Nintendo Switch since before the Switch was even released, but nothing was confirmed by Nintendo until earlier this year. Nintendo has revealed Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee, two Pokémon games based in the original Kanto region available to play on the Nintendo Switch right now.
It introduces completely new mechanics that could make Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee two of the best Pokémon games to date. Here’s everything we know, from the release date to gameplay details and accessories.
We've also gotten to try the games for ourselves at E3, so read our Pokémon Let's Go preview to find out what we thought.
When will Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee be released?
As confirmed by Nintendo, Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee are now available to buy around the world following a 16 November 2018 release, with both being exclusive to the Nintendo Switch (sorry 3DS owners!).
If you're a dedicated Pokemon fan, you're also able to pick up one of two limited edition Pokemon Let's Go! Nintendo Switch bundles from GAME in the UK. They're pricey, though, at £351.99 a pop.
Two #PokemonLetsGo #NintendoSwitch limited hardware bundles arrive on 16/11! They each include a Nintendo Switch Pikachu & Eevee Edition system, the Poké Ball Plus accessory and a pre-installed version of #Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! pic.twitter.com/WbfUI4cxdq— Nintendo UK (@NintendoUK) September 10, 2018
Is it worth the purchase? Carry on reading to find out what’s on offer in terms of gameplay.
Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee gameplay
As the first Pokémon title on the Nintendo Switch, there are a bunch of new features to look forward to. Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee are reminiscent of the first-generation Pokémon games, and take place in the Kanto region. This means that you’ll be able to catch all 151 of the original Pokémon, though unlike with the original games, you’ll no longer have a choice of three starter Pokémon.
If you buy Let’s Go! Pikachu, you’ll be granted a Pikachu while your rival will get an Eevee, and vice versa. You might try and cheat the system by getting an Eevee as a starter and evolving it into a Jolteon, Vaporeon or Flareon, but like Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow, your starter Pokémon won’t evolve. Whether you get Pikachu or Eevee, your cute friend will follow you around on your adventures, whether hanging off your shoulder or sitting on your head.
You'll even get to customise your Pikachu or Eevee, as shown off in one of the game's trailers. For starters, your Pokemon of choice can be either male or female, but you can also choose their hairstyle, making them a little more unique. This will change whenever you pet your Pokemon in handheld mode, giving your Pokemon a unique look and feel.
Your trainer is even more customisable, with a whole range of outfits, hairstyles and facial options to choose from.
And while random battles in tall grass were a staple of early Pokemon games, the Let’s Go! titles have more of a Pokemon Go-esque approach. That means that while there is still tall grass for you to venture through, you’ll be able to see the Pokemon before you enter the battle. You can then choose to catch it or avoid it, depending on whether you’ve caught it before, or whether you’re prepared for the battle.
Once you catch a Pokemon you can add it to your party for battles against other trainers, which work much as in the older games. You can also choose one Pokemon to follow you around the game world - in addition to the Pikachu or Eevee on your shoulder - and as the trailer above shows off, for select large Pokemon you can even ride them around the map.
The game also utilises the tech built into the Nintendo Switch, including the gyroscopes in each Joy-Con controller, to offer new experiences. One such experience is catching Pokemon; since the early days of Pokemon, catching Pokemon has been the same; you select your preferred Pokeball, throw it with a button press and wait. Some would swear that button-bashing would improve their chances, but it’s not something we can confirm!
That’s a thing of the past in Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee. Instead, you use the Joy-Con to physically throw the Pokeball at the Pokemon you want to capture. It’s a more intuitive, natural way to catch Pokemon, and looks similar to the method employed in Pokemon GO.
Speaking of Pokemon GO!, there will be some level of interactivity between the two games. Nintendo has confirmed that Kanto Pokemon captured in Pokemon GO will be able to be transferred over to Let’s Go! Pikachu or Eevee. Your GO! Pokemon will be available in the GO Park once transferred to the game, though you'll have to re-capture them in the park to add them to your roster. While some may complain about having to re-capture GO! Pokemon, it should keep things fair for players that didn't play the mobile game while rewarding those that did.
Another cool feature is co-operative gameplay. You only require a single Joy-Con to play Let’s Go!, meaning a friend can easily use the second one and join you in the virtual world. They can back you up in epic trainer battles, or help to capture Pokemon. If you both throw a Pokeball and they both hit at the same time, something special happens too…
Oh, and you’ll also be able to catch Pokemon and take them with you on your own adventures in the real world with the Pokeball Plus. As well as being able to use the Poke Ball Plus as a cool custom controller to play the game on your Nintendo Switch, it’ll light up, vibrate and play sound, depending on what you’re doing. You’ll be able to feel the Pokemon you’re trying to catch wriggle around the ball, and it’ll even let out a cry if you’re successful.
And as an additional extra for purchasing the Pokemon-themed controller, all owners of the Pokeball Plus will receive Mew in-game. As mentioned, you can also use the accessory to ‘take’ your Pokemon with you on a trip to the park or the beach. Nintendo hasn’t gone into detail about the benefits of this, but has confirmed that “you’ll be rewarded in various ways when you return them to your game”.
Pokemon trading and battling have been the cornerstones of the Pokemon franchise for years, and it's no different in the upcoming Switch titles. You'll be able to engage in both single and double players with NPCs you come across around the Kanto region, as well as other players locally or online. It's a similar story with trading too; you can trade with those local to you, or anywhere in the world via the internet.
The catch is, as it requires an internet connection, you'll have to fork out for Nintendo's Switch Online Service launching this September to be able to partake in online battles or trading.
Talking of battles, an August 2018 trailer gives us a brief glimpse at Gym battles and Mega Evolutions. The trailer features Mega Evolutions including Mega Venusaur, Mega Charizard Y, Mega Charizard X and Mega Blastoise, along with Vermilion City's Gym Leader, Lt. Surge. Take a look at the trailer below:
The developers went into more detail about what you should expect from Pokemon Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee in a 48-minute-long Nintendo Treehouse livestream. It gives players a more in-depth look at battles, famous locations in the Kanto region and even our first glimpse at one of the Gym leaders, Brock. You can see the livestream in full below: