Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee! (Switch) Review

Gotta Catch ’em All Again!

Pokémon has been a big part of my life since the original Pokémon Red and Blue came out over 20 years ago. The series has impacted me in many ways. It introduced me to anime and RPGs, helped me make friends, and got me through some of the toughest parts of my life. Naturally, I was excited to play Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, the first quasi-mainline game to arrive on a console. It’s not quite a spinoff, but it incorporates elements from the worldwide mobile phenomenon Pokémon GO into a remake of the original Game Boy game, Pokémon Yellow.

Here’s my Video Review for your viewing pleasure!

As a mostly traditional game, Pokémon: Let’s Go follows the series’ winning formula. You’re a trainer who wants to be the very best like no one ever was. You travel across the land searching far and wide to catch Pokémon, raise them, and use them to battle other trainers. Your goal is to earn eight gym badges and become a Pokémon Master.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu City.jpg
I wanna be the very best like no one ever was.

If you’ve played the original Pokémon Yellow, it’s a nostalgic treat to see this 8-bit classic on the big screen. Every area has been updated with more detail, the cute anime-style trainer designs capture the originals’ super-deformed looks, and the Pokémon sparkle with a dazzling radiance. The soundtrack’s signature bouncy tunes and energetic battle themes receive a beautiful remaster as well. The presentation lovingly recreates the Game Boy RPG’s charm with a fresh coat of paint.

Here’s a brief overview of the gameplay that remains faithful to the original. Depending on your version, you start off with Pikachu or Eevee. From there, you catch more Pokémon and form a team of six. Battles against other trainers are one-on-one turn-based affairs, and whoever wipes out the other’s team reigns victorious. As your Pokémon level up, they learn new moves, and you’ll need to build a super effective moveset to take advantage of the extensive type match-ups – for example, electricity’s strength against water. Although Pokémon now have stat-influencing natures, there are no passive abilities, held items or breeding, so current players may find this back-to-basics approach comparatively shallow. What makes gameplay so addictive is the sense that you and your team are constantly improving through experience, bond, and evolution. I adore the progression loop of building a powerful team of my own. Only the first generation of 150 Pokémon are present, but there are enough creatures to ensure a unique adventure for each player.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu Battle.jpg
To catch them is my real test. To train them is my cause.

As a remake, there are several updates, for better or worse. Starting with the positive, there are no random encounters. You can see wild Pokémon running out in the open, so you can choose who you want to face, avoid them completely, or chain same-species captures for bonuses. It’s refreshing that wild Pokémon do not constantly ambush you, and I’d love to see this implemented in future titles.

When the Switch is docked, you must play using a single Joy-Con controller. While I would’ve appreciated the option to use a Pro Controller, it’s surprisingly comfortable to play the entire game with one hand. You can even bypass using buttons by clicking on the analog stick to confirm decisions. When the Switch is undocked, you can use traditional two-handed button controls for the portable device. Alternatively, you may buy the separate Pokéball Plus peripheral, which acts as a controller and also comes with an exclusive Pokémon.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu Catching Pokemon.jpg
I will travel across the land, searching far and wide. Teach Pokémon to understand the power that’s inside.

These changes lead to the biggest point of contention: the new capture mechanic. You no longer fight wild Pokémon in battle. Instead, once you encounter a Pokémon, the perspective switches to a first-person view that should be familiar to anyone who’s played Pokémon GO. You catch the Pokémon by using Joy-Con motion controls to throw Pokéballs. There’s a certain skill to aiming and timing your tosses. However, it largely depends on luck as your attempts can be thwarted by counter attacks or erratic jumping. I frequently missed because of frustrating gyroscope calibration. Once you’ve hit the target, all you can do is hope that it stays in the ball and doesn’t run away.

I’m honestly mixed on this capture style. On one hand, this method is more immersive. It compartmentalizes catching and battling, diversifying the overall pacing and speeding up the flow. However, it removes your own Pokémon from the equation. Yet, since your Pokémon gain experience through captures, you have to stockpile a bunch of excess monsters just to level up. The system’s thematically odd, and the motion minigame gets tedious. I would have preferred options to revert to the original game’s mechanics or a mixture of traditional battling and new-school capturing, which only happens on rare occasions. While in handheld mode, you can at least use button controls and aim with the gyroscope, though you strangely can’t use touch screen controls like in Pokémon GO. Speaking of Pokémon GO, its influence extends to a new Go Park that allows you to import your Generation 1 Pokémon from the mobile app, but it’s a one-way transfer.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu Co-op.jpg
It’s you and me. I know it’s my destiny.

The remaining updates improve quality-of-life or rebalance the game. One of my favorite conveniences is the ability to access my entire Pokémon box at any time, allowing me to switch my party at will. It’s fun to have a rotating team, particularly since Pokémon follow you on the overworld. In some cases, you can ride them, which makes travel much faster. Pokémon: Let’s Go effectively highlights the namesake starters Pikachu and Eevee. Although they can’t evolve, they learn exclusive moves, which alongside their perfect stats, make them powerhouses. They can also earn techniques like cutting bushes and surfing, negating the need for HMs (Hidden Machines – the original’s field moves) to remove obstacles and solve puzzles. Plus, who can resist the adorable matching costumes for your starter and yourself? And the fact that you can pet Pikachu or Eevee at any time?

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu Team Rocket.jpg
You’re my best friend, in a world we must defend.

It took me about 25 hours to beat the story. While Pokémon games are typically easy, Let’s Go was notably simpler due to automatic experience sharing and the lack of wild Pokémon battles. There is an extensive postgame quest, and catching ‘em all adds numerous hours. Raising a battle-ready team can factor in a lot of extra playtime for the hardcore. It’s unfortunate that online is handled so strangely. Unlike local play, where you can trade and battle your friends, you can’t choose your partner online. You’re limited to public rooms with three-character picture codes. When many people are playing at once, it can be hard to coordinate online rooms since anyone can join. This begs the question: why doesn’t this game utilize the Switch’s friend codes for private rooms?

One final extra feature is local co-op where two players can journey together. Sure, synchronizing Pokéballs to increase catch rate and ganging up on trainer battles two-on-one makes things even easier. But being able to play co-op Pokémon with my wife is one of my favorite novel experiences. And the opportunity to assist a younger gamer (or the other way around) is a golden way to share the series with someone.

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu Petting
A heart so true – our courage will pull us through. You teach me and I’ll teach you!

Conclusion

Pokémon: Let’s Go is a solid, albeit flawed, return to the series’ roots. The Pokémon GO capture system left me with mixed feelings, but the core journey is an charming reimagining of the source material. Those searching far and wide for the next real mainline RPG will have to wait. But if you desire to catch ‘em all on the Switch now, then Pokémon: Let’s Go is an invigorating way to relive the glory days of the premiere generation and is a great introduction for newcomers.

Score: 9/10

What do you think of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee? What’s your preferred version? What are your favorite Pokemon games? How about your favorite Pokemon? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

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37 thoughts on “Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee! (Switch) Review

  1. Great review! Pikachu, I choose you! Well, I did choose it over Eevee. I’ve been a fan of Pokemon for 20 years and I remember playing Red/Blue and Yellow as a kid. I really enjoyed Yellow version because Pikachu followed you around, and I love that in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu that any Pokemon can follow you. I especially enjoyed flying over buildings with Charizard! I absolutely love the co-op feature! Playing together was so much fun! It’s amazing that we can finally play a game we’ve both loved for so long together. Overall, I thought Pokemon Let’s Go simplified but improved in many ways upon the original version. Catching Pokemon kinda feels weird, but I appreciate no more random encounters. I agree that the online pairings make no sense. That’s why we have friend codes, am I right? Anyway, I had a blast with this game and I’d like to see mainline Pokemon games like this one! Like Johto, which is one of my favorite generations. I loved playing as a girl in Pokemon Crystal! Also, one of my favorite Pokemon is Mew, but I also like Charizard, Arcanine, and other fire Pokemon! Fire is best type! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement! You’re my best friend in a world we must defend!! Seriously, I appreciate your help, especially for Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! I’m so glad you had an awesome time with the game. I loved it more than I thought I would, considering I was simply waiting for the actual next mainline RPG for the Switch. This was just pure fun, and I think the addictive nature of Pokemon certainly helps it. Capturing was definitely mixed for me, and I’d prefer a mixture of the new capturing and actual wild Pokemon battling for the actual Generation 8. I love having no wild Pokemon encounters though. Take that, Zubat! Also, co-op is so much more fun than I could have imagined, and the 2nd player having an avatar makes a difference. Honestly so much fun to have played together! Wish online were handled better, but I did get to enjoy trades and battles as long as they were coordinated beforehand. I didn’t mind typing in Pikachu Pikachu Pikachu to get randoms though haha.

      Nice choices! I love Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, and having the series in color was mindblowing at the time. I remember staying up and waking up early just to catch day/night Pokemon. I also like Mew, but Charizard is definitely my favorite, specifically shiny Charizard! I hope to get one in Pokemon: Let’s Go! Maybe we can battle and trade with Let’s Go, Eevee! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I hadn’t read much about these two games until your review, because their announcement did not generate much interest in me. So I learned quite a bit from reading it! Awesome job!

    It sounds like a nice remake in spite of how it dumbs down the catching of Pokémon and makes it potentially annoying, and also does away with many of the complexities the franchise has brought to the table over the years. The fact random encounters are eliminated is a good move, though, and – like you – I would love to see that implemented in future Pokémon games.

    All in all, it seems like a game that really does not appeal to me, but as a way to lure the massive Pokémon GO audience into buying a Switch and to also slowly introduce them to the mechanics of the main games, I think it is a pretty smart release on Nintendo’s part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and fantastic comments Matt! I appreciate it as always man! It’s a great remake, with the capturing Pokemon the only real downside. Yes, It IS half of the experience, BUT because there are no random encounters, it doesn’t feel as annoying. Like, I don’t mind it too much aside from calibration issues, and I can still focus on battling and raising my team. I hope the no random encounters and being able to access my Pokemon box at any time are implemented in the next Switch game. It definitely is a way to lure the Pokemon Go audience into getting a Switch, and it’s very wise of Game Freak to ride the nostalgia train all the way. Gen 1 will be remade again in 2028, I bet ya haha! I completely understand that Pokemon Let’s Go won’t appeal to everyone, but it will have its fans, and I’m glad that I was able to resonate with it. I wasn’t as excited for it at first but when I finally started playing it, I remembered why I love the series so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, it definitely is! And since many people only really recognize the first 150 Pokemon, they will likely find more value out of Let’s Go. Though as someone who’s been following since the beginning, I’ve certainly enjoyed going back to the basics. This does make me hungry for the real thing!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Playing Eevee right now, and it’s a lot of fun. Obviously changes like the capture mechanic have been mixed, but others are amazing. I like just roaming the world and watching to see if a rare Pokemon is going to pop up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to see someone else really enjoying Pokemon Let’s Go! Aside from the capture mechanic (which while easily the worst part of the game, isn’t horrible), I really enjoyed the other new features and quality of life conveniences. I like roaming the world for rare Pokemon too, and the fact that I can see them out in the open and not get ambushed by random encounters is an A+ idea that I’m glad has finally been implemented in a mainline-ish Pokemon game!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you as always for your kind words and support! I always appreciate it! 😀 Yeah, the motion control capture mechanic is the big deterrent. I don’t mind motion controls in general, but it does feel dated. I wish there were options. Games need options! Like, I just want to sit down and play haha. I do think that it’s possible to get used to the capture system. Since you can avoid it with the removal of random encounters, it doesn’t get too overbearing. Though yeah, I still think it’s the worst part of an otherwise great game.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope the removal of random battles and the option to create a party from anywhere become the standard in future games. The capture system hasn’t bugged me, as a handheld player. If I had to use motion controls my opinion would be different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree! In every game prior to Pokemon Let’s Go, I felt like random battles were okay because I did like the surprise of not knowing who the encounter was. This game completely changed my mind. And accessing the box from anywhere makes a big difference when grinding levels. The capture system is very fine in handheld mode. The gyroscope works well, and I’ve even just plain used buttons when I needed to. Shame it doesn’t apply on the big screen. There really should be an option to use whichever control scheme you want when playing the Switch in docked mode.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review. I’ve never really played a Pokemon game before (just a couple hours of an older one), but my friend convinced me to give this a go. I’m having a good time. Stuff like having Eevee ride around on my head and another Pokemon follow me around is really cute, the battles are pretty fun if a bit easy so far and I just like the vibe and look of the game. I do wish there were more control schemes when docked, so I’ve mostly been playing in handheld mode. I have two gym badges so far. Looking forward to playing more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot man! 😀 I think it’s awesome that you’re coming in as a first-timer to the series, and it’s interesting to see your perspective. I’ve always liked the vibe of Pokemon games, and I find the formula so addictive. I wish I didn’t have to play in handheld mode just to have a semi-normal control scheme for capturing, but I got used to the motion controls over time. Hope you enjoy the rest of the game!

      Like

  6. Has it really been 20 years? OMG! This looks great! Kinda like the N64 version we dreamed of as kids, but better! I could go either way on the new catching mechanic myself, but I’m glad automatic experience sharing is there (and random battles are gone). It’s a bummer the online mode is clunky, and that they got rid of that truck outside the S.S. Anne, but otherwise, this looks so cool! I could recognize all those maps instantly! Is Gary still your rival? I don’t need any more of these new friendly antagonists, I want a bully!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha right?! I can’t believe it’s been 20 years! Pokémon celebrated its 20th anniversary a couple years back but now it’s actually been 20 years since the original Pokémon Red and Blue releases in the West! Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee really celebrates the nostalgia well, and it’s perfect for people like us who grew up with the series since the beginning. The conveniences of no random battles are a plus for sure, but a game like this ought to have a better online infrastructure. With coordination, it’s actually not too bad, but again, you really have to make sure you set a time and code correctly.

      And hahaha I actually didn’t check if the truck behind the S.S. Anne was still there or not. Now I need to check so I can find Mew, and also unlock Yoshi and catch Giovanni. Let’s not forget the Pokegods, Pikablu, and Missing No. Oh wait, apparently that last one was a thing hmm.

      Also, Gary is not your rival (these are new characters), but the original character of Blue (anime Gary) may be important. Maybe. New rival is friendly and not mean, unfortunately. I hate to disappoint you but he is one of the nicest rivals yet haha. Thanks for your great comments! 😄 If you can’t already tell, I think you’d love Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee!

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  7. I was very sceptical to purchase this game as I thought it would ruin the Pokemon games before it. But this review made me realize it’s not so different after all, in fact there are a lot of really cool things about it and I will definetely be checking this out, my wife wants it very bad, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that! Pokémon Let’s Go’s capture mechanic is definitely the biggest difference, and that change not sit well with everyone. But most other parts are either faithful or improved upon the original Game Boy games, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it! If you end picking up Pokémon Let’s Go, I hope you and your wife enjoy it! 😄

      Like

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