After a series of leaks and rumors, The Pokemon Company has announced Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, both of which are slated for release on Nintendo Switch this year. The new Pokemon RPGs, which are not the “core” Pokemon RPG announced last year, can connect to Pokemon Go via Bluetooth and utilize Go’s capture mechanics. While you won’t be able to battle wild Pokemon, the games feature traditional Pokemon battle mechanics against NPC trainers and other people.
Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are designed to be a player’s first Pokemon game, according to Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda. The long-time Pokemon composer-turned-producer is directing the games, which are inspired by Pokemon Yellow and set in the Kanto region. As such, Pikachu or Eevee–depending on your version–stay by your side for the whole game, instead of hidden away in a Poke Ball to be brought out for battles. In keeping with the Kanto theme, the games include the original 151 Pokemon as well as their Alolan forms from Sun and Moon.
The Let’s Go games are Pokemon RPGs, but they draw from Pokemon Go in a number of ways. Mainly, they use Pokemon Go’s capture mechanics, which means you don’t battle wild Pokemon to catch them; you instead throw Poke Balls. Like in Go, you can see Pokemon in the overworld before attempting to catch them. You also have the option to transfer Pokemon from Go to Let’s Go via a Bluetooth connection; Pokemon you transfer from Pokemon Go will be catchable in a specific area within the Let’s Go games. While you can’t transfer Pokemon in the reverse direction, you’ll be able to send unspecified gifts to Go from Let’s Go.
The new games retain the turn-based battle system of traditional Pokemon games, and you’ll get experience points both for catching Pokemon and participating in battles. You’ll also be able to trade Pokemon with other players, though Masuda did not comment on whether the Let’s Go games would be compatible with other Pokemon games (past or future) or Pokemon Bank.
The Let’s Go games also allow for two-player co-op, a new feature for the Pokemon RPGs. While playing using one Joy-Con, another player can join as a support character when in open areas or a battle by shaking the second Joy-Con. This player can help you catch Pokemon and can battle alongside you (though it doesn’t appear to initiate a double battle).
A new controller, the Poke Ball Plus, is launching at the same time as Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee but will be sold separately. It works like a Joy-Con, with an analog stick in the center of the Poke Ball, and can be “thrown” to catch Pokemon in the games.
Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are releasing on Switch worldwide on November 16. They are not taking the place of the core Pokemon RPG announced at E3 2017; that game is set to launch in the latter half of 2019. For even more details about the Let’s Go games, check out our roundup of everything we know so far.
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