Well, it is time for another delayed review. While the previous review that was delayed (Octopath Traveler) was due to the length of the game, this one is delayed due to it being free-to-play. Pokemon quest is free for the Nintendo Switch and smart devices, thought there are goodies you can get for faster progression and longer play times if you pay real world money. I managed to get through the game without any payment, but the game limited the number of levels I could play before waiting 2-3 hours for another 5-6 levels.
The first thing anyone would notice when starting this game is its graphical style: the Pokemon and world looks like it is made of cubes, similar to Minecraft. That is about all that is similar between Minecraft and Pokemon Quest though. In Pokemon Quest, you go on expeditions, where your Pokemon fight waves of other Pokemon for food ingredients and power stones. Each time you go on an expedition, you use one battery charge. The battery starts with 5 charges, and each charge takes 30 minutes to recharge. If you are lucky, that will recharge by the time you run each expedition, giving you 5-6 plays every 2 hours and 30 minutes or so.
The 3 Pokemon you control move automatically towards their opponents. They also attack automatically when in range to do so. The player can also choose to use a move the Pokemon knows, but the Pokemon has to wait before it can use it again. The only way to dodge attacks requires you to hit the scatter button, causing your team to briefly run away from your opponents. As you might expect, this method is unreliable. Also the game relies heavily on touch controls, so the experience isn’t too smooth.
The food you gather from expeditions can be cooked to lure extra Pokemon to your team, but you have to go on 3-6 expeditions before the dish is ready. Different dishes get different results.
As your Pokemon get stronger, they can equip more power stones, which add to their HP and attack stats. Getting stronger is a slow process, with each level up adding one point to HP and attack, and getting closer to equipping another power stone. Even thought the game gives you an estimate for how strong you need to be to clear any expedition, progress seems to occur in sudden bursts, such as when a Pokemon evolves, or can equip an additional power stone.
You can also have Pokemon train each other, were you lose your choice of 1-4 Pokemon for extra experience or to maybe change one of a Pokemon’s moves. I found it was best to do so when I got a duplicate Pokemon.
The game has a form of currency called PM tickets. With PM tickets, you can recharge your battery, cook a dish right away, gather your rewards earned on a failed expedition, buy decorations (they give some sort of bonus),and buy box extensions for Pokemon or power stones. You do get some PM tickets for free each day, though buying (with real money) the expedition packs or power stones gets you more PM tickets and other bonuses for faster and more frequent play. It is possible to get through the game without these purchases, but you will be playing less often and will progress at a slower rate.
Ultimately, I found that an expedition was either too easy or too hard. There is barely any strategy for most of the game, as the automatic movements of your Pokemon team limits their performances. In rare cases, you can barely win an expedition without being at the recommended power level, but I found I avoided that one after completing it for a while. The game has some elements of a good game, but is held back by the free-to-play model and the fact that it should work with a smart phone or the Switch. The steep requirements to clear each stage is a bit of a downer.
Here are some recommendations for play:
- Play the game enough to get a feel for it.
- Research what the paid content does before paying for any of it.
- Pay for any content you want, based on how much you think the game is actually worth.
- If you choose to play for free, then play at least once a day, with roughly a 3 hour gap between play sessions.
- Save your PM tickets for box extensions and decorations until all of those are bought out.
- Afterwards use them for what you want to buy, such as battery recharges.
- Perform training when you have duplicate Pokemon.
- Try out new team members to see what works best.
Now for a summary of the Pro’s and Con’s:
- A simple to pick up game.
- Some neat collecting mechanics.
- A unique style of Pokemon game.
- Not much strategy, you either win or aren’t strong enough yet.
- Game limits play sessions without paying. Can be limited even if you do pay, though not to the same extent.
- Collecting Pokemon requires research not supplied in-game.
- Awkward controls.
6.8/10 Good, but held back by the Free-to-play model.
That was what I thought of Pokemon quest. Did you try this game? Did you like it more than I did? Did you buy any of the extra content? Let me know in the comments below, and why!