Detective Pikachu is a cute and entertaining adventure game for the Nintendo 3DS. It is certainly not a traditional style Pokémon game but certainly one I was looking forward to experiencing. As the name implies it is about being a detective alongside your partner, Detective Pikachu (cute hat and all), to solve mysteries usually involving both people and Pokémon.
This game definitely takes to heart many point and click adventure game styles. While it has a side scrolling vibe, it does offer depth of field to the game to provide less of a 2D feeling experience. There is good selection of chapters to get through that involve exploration, collecting evidence and then using it to decipher the mystery or problem at hand… or paw. The game is set in a slightly less anime and cartoony vibe than Pokémon is known for and also incorporates Pokémon from many generations. This was refreshing, and I did appreciate this new tone in collaboration with the Pokémon universe.
The environments that each chapter was set in did manage to offer some diversity and interesting features that conveyed an amiable and welcoming feel to the game. However, in the end, these areas felt a bit small and become a bit tedious. This was due either finding new clues in the same spot or running back and forth having to recheck everything within the area as new evidence came to light.
I did also have mixed thoughts about the difficulty. In some areas it seemed way to easy while in other aspects it seemed to require some actual attention and memory skills. This certainly left me slightly confused as to the target audience. In some instances, I could forgive the simplicity of it all if it was aimed at younger children but other times I was certain that the same audience would not understand some of the dialogue and related detective work.
Though I am a huge Pokémon fan this did not blind me to some of the frustrations this game presented.
You must collect evidence to make a case. However there where several instances where I knew what to do or had the appropriate evidence but was unable to start the process as I needed to do some other useless or annoying things to trigger the option. This made me feel disinclined to continue as it was definitely a reoccurring incidence that didn’t get less annoying as time went on.
I did greatly enjoy the characters. Specifically, I loved Detective Pikachu and found the corresponding voice acting to be entertaining and well performed. He provided a light hearted and amusing aspect to both the game and the usual nature of Pikachu. He is a determined confident coffee loving character that can’t help but enjoy.
You play as is Tim Goodman, the son of a missing detective, and Tim has come to the city to find his father and ends up bumping into Detective Pikachu along the way. Turns out, Tim has a unique bond with this Pikachu in that he can understand him. This mechanic allows for some enjoyable interactions and allows for more in-depth engagement into the world of other Pokémon as you progress through the game. I found this Tim fellow to be likable but not as great a character as Detective Pikachu, I feel the most effort was focused on Detective Pikachu’s personality, not that I’m complaining.
Detective Pikachu is a charming mystery puzzle game that certainly does some fan service for Pokémon lovers. However, it does have some frustrating aspects that subtract from the experience. The story was about as interesting as any Pokémon movie, that is to say, it might take a fan to be particularly interested. It is well presented but failed to really capture me and provide that addictive factor that a good mystery should.
I would still recommend this to fans to simply experience the sassy and amusing Detective Pikachu but not so much that I feel it will bring outsiders into the franchise.
Released: April 2018
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS