Update (06/20): Pokémon Quest has gone live on the Google Play Store a day before its expected release date. You can download and start playing the voxel-styled spin-off by hitting the button below.
Pokémon Quest is free-to-download and features in-app purchases ranging from $2.99 to $29.99 per item.
Original article (05/30): Nintendo held a special Pokémon-themed event last night in Japan where it let loose a whole bunch of announcements for the beloved series, including a brand new game for mobile devices, and a new main series title for Nintendo Switch with features that link up with Pokémon Go.
Let’s start off with the strangest of the lot. Pokémon Quest is a free-to-start action RPG for Android, iOS, and Switch that transforms the franchise’s pocket monsters into goofy, cube-like creations.
The game sees you adventuring around Tumblecube Island and battling other wild blocky monsters. Your own voxel-style Pokémon move around by themselves but you can control their attacks during the frantic-looking real-time encounters by tapping the touchscreen.
You can raise the stats of your Pokémon in battle by using Power Stones. In addition, you’ll be able to attract new critters to your party at your Base Camp by whipping up a quick meal using ingredients found around the colorful island.
The Android and iOS version is expected to launch in late June.
The Base Camp can also be customized with decorations that apply bonuses during battle. The official website notes that some of these decorations can be bought using real-world money, which is where Nintendo is presumably hoping to make some money off the game in the long run.
Switch owners can try Pokémon Quest out today via the eShop. The Android and iOS version is expected to launch in late June.
It’s worth noting that Quest is actually developed by Game Freak which is the studio responsible for creating all of the main Pokémon games. This marks the first time the studio has entered the mobile sphere with its iconic franchise and only its second mobile title after the Japan-only mobile Android/iOS release of Pocket Card Jockey.
The big news, however, is that the Japanese firm is bringing a brand new pair of semi-traditional Pokémon RPG games to Nintendo Switch later this year. The games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, will launch on November 16 and are ostensibly remakes of the Game Boy classic Pokémon Yellow with updated visuals and two-player co-op.
While the series’ imminent return to Kanto is exciting on its own, the reason I’m bringing it up here is that the Switch title has mobile integration features which link up with Niantic’s hugely popular AR game Pokémon Go.
As well as borrowing Go’s gesture controls (with swipes swapped for motion controls) for capturing new Pokémon, you can also transfer any first-generation monsters you catch in the mobile game to Let’s Go.
It’s not clear what exactly you’ll be able to do with them once they’ve been transported to the Go Park area, seen in the trailer above, but it should at least be cool to see your favorite pocket pals on a big screen. Go players who connect to Let’s Go will also receive presents, including a new, never before seen Pokémon.
It seems inevitable that the Pokémon Go-styled game will sell by the truckload. Nostalgia for the first generation games and the Kanto setting aside, the enormous success of both the Switch and Pokémon Go should guarantee a massive audience.
Thankfully, Nintendo isn’t fully abandoning the main series and has confirmed that a new “core RPG” will also come to Switch next year that will act as a sequel to 2016’s Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Are you excited to try out Pokémon Quest? Will you be linking Pokémon Go with Let’s Go later this year? Which is better: Pikachu or Eevee? Let us know in the comments (it’s Eevee).