Last night The Pokémon Company held a press conference that announced a couple of new Pokémon games. Much of it had very little to do with Android short of a Poké Ball Plus accessory for Pokémon Go and an ambiguous release date for Pokémon Quest on mobile. Sure, the game is available right now on the Nintendo Switch, but all of us Android users will have to wait until late June to get our hands on it. For the most part it looks like a very accessible free-to-play voxel game that includes an auto-battle system and a bunch of Pokémon collecting.
From the little that I have played on the Nintendo Switch it is clear that Pokémon Quest was designed as a mobile game, which is probably why it's offered for free on the Nintendo Game Store. The entire UI has been designed around touch controls, with large buttons all over the place just asking to be tapped by the player.
The gameplay is a little different than what you would expect out of a traditional Pokémon game, though it still works well for what it is. You start out by landing on Tumblecube Island, and one of your first tasks is to pick a new Pokémon. As your chosen Pokémon navigates this Island it will auto-battle random Pokémon it happens across. You will also have a few special moves at your disposal that you can call upon to hit your enemy with a more powerful move. So if you have played any of the numerous auto-brawling games on the Play Store, you should have a good idea how this works. Your end goal is to find all of the precious loot that lies hidden on the island as you progress on your quest.
Of course, this wouldn't exist as a casual free-to-play release if you couldn't also expect a few crafting aspects and some type of base building. These mechanics should appeal to the younger Minecraft crowd, and points to the main reason why this title exudes a clear voxel design.
Now since the Android release has yet to land, I'm unsure what type of monetization Pokémon Quest will use when we finally receive our version. If the Switch release is anything to go by, then we should be able to expect three downloadable content packs that range in price from $4.99-$17.99. All three of these packs contain a few quality of life improvements that make the FTP gameplay more palatable, along with a couple of special moves for a few select Pokémon. So if this is the type of pricing we can expect, then it would seem it is actually pretty fair, if a little overpriced.
Nintendo Switch owners have been able to get in on the fun since last night, but sadly we will have to wait until the end of June to get our grubby hands on this game. I would say Pokémon Quest is clearly marketed towards the younger players out there who love crafting, base-building, and the collection aspects of Pokémon. If you are looking for a deep RPG experience, this isn't it, but what Pokémon Quest does offer should be able to appeal to the majority of casual Pokémon fans out there as well as hardcore players thanks to its addictive gameplay and cute graphics. While I can't say any of this is my cup of tea, I can surely see its appeal.
- Pokémon Quest