Nintendo's been holding not one — but three — surprise Poké balls up its sleeve.
Not only will the popular pocket-monster franchise be getting a modern revamp on the Switch, but it's also releasing a new free-to-start action game and (get your credit cards ready, fellow kids) a special Poké ball controller.
Pokémon Lets Go! Pikachu and Let's Go! Eevee
Announced at a press event earlier today (May 30) in Japan, the biggest new Pokémon titles are Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go! Eevee, and they're coming to the Switch on November 16. Both titles cost $60.
The Let's Go! Titles are mostly-similar, with each providing the specific starter Pokemon named in its title. According to an announcement post from the Pokemon Corporation, "there will be some differences in the species of Pokémon that you encounter and the rate at which you encounter them."
You'll have a hard time forgetting which version you've chosen, as Eevee and Pikachu will travel with you everywhere you go, riding on your head or shoulder. While there is no wrong answer, an early survey of my friends suggests that some experienced PokéMasters have already picked Eevee.
These games appear to be a kind of reboot for the Pokemon story, with a gameplay style that is similar to Pokemon Go. The Let's Go! games will start players off in the Kanto region, the territory from the original U.S. Pokemon Games, Red and Blue.
The Let's Go! games will only require one Joy-Con per player, which frees up the second controller for a co-op mode, where a second player can jump in at any time as a second trainer. A trailer for the game shows a battle mode where both local players can place their Pokemon in combat.
And since the Switch is all about fun, inventive ways to play that shake-up the paradigms we're used to, the Let's Go! titles will support a new Poké Ball Plus controller that looks just like one of the game's spheres used to capture and store Pokemon.
The motion-sensitive controller uses an accelerometer and a gyro sensor to allows you to try to catch Pokemon by acting like you're throwing it. Sneakily, the Poké Ball Plus includes a control stick for navigation and a button in its top, and an LED ring around the stick lights up.
Poké Ball Plus
Also coming November 16, the Poké Ball Plus (pricing has not been announced) and tie to your wrist using a strap that features a support ring and lock. It charges over USB Type-C, and will come with its own charging cable.
The Poké Ball Plus will also support Pokemon Go, as it can pair with your smartphone. Details about how that will work are not available yet, but should be posted here in the coming days.
Pokemon Quest, available now, is a free-to-start title for the Switch that looks absolutely adorable, with an 8-bit look that reminds me of Crossy Road and Minecraft. This title takes place on Tumblecube Island, where you play as a Pokemon Trainer looking to build a roster of these critters to take into battle.
The major difference, though, between Quest and most of the Pokemon games you've played before, is that it's gameplay is incredibly simplistic. You build up a crew by customizing your campsite, which then in turn attracts Pokemon. Then, in battle, you wait for attack meters to fill, and tap to activate.
Think about it as training wheels for new fans. Also, it seems like a formula that could work on iOS and Android, where Nintendo's released its more-simplistic titles.
All of these titles, though, don't look like they'll sate those fans of the genre looking for a full-featured Pokemon RPG title. Director Junichi Masuda also announced at the press conference that an all-new traditional Pokémon game will be coming in 2019.