Game Reviews

Pokemon Quest Switch review - More than just another idle RPG?

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| Pokemon Quest
Pokemon Quest Switch review - More than just another idle RPG?
| Pokemon Quest

It's safe to say that nobody could've foreseen the surprise release of Pokemon Quest on Switch – not when you consider that it's possibly the first major free-to-play game on the console.

And given how eagerly fans have been awaiting a "true" Pokemon game on the hybrid handheld, they may be disappointed to find out that it's a fairly standard idle RPG when all's said and done.

Perhaps because of its Pokemon charms, and likely thanks to the pedigree of the developers, the final product is an enjoyable, if slightly forgettable, experience.

I choose you!

You kick off by arriving on Tumblecube Island, a land where Pokemon appear in blocky forms and roam free, ready to beat the crap out of each other without a moment's hesitation.

You get to pick from one of five starter Pokemon, including the three starters from the original games, Pikachu, and Eevee, and then you're thrown into your first battle stage.

Pokemon Quest Screenshot 1

Pokemon Quest takes a very hands-off approach to combat. You watch your squad run about on screen, attacking whichever enemies it feels like, until one of them dies. This then repeats until they defeat the boss, or all of your Pokemon are wiped out.

You can trigger special abilities once they've charged up and you can tell your squad to back off for a short amount of time, but beyond that you've no control over their actions.

This can lead to some frustrating moments where one of your team decides to go it alone against three enemies, and there's no immediate action you can take to protect them from their idiocy.

It can also cause issues with the camera, which doesn't zoom out far enough in some cases, and can lead to situations where you can't even see your Pokemon or what they're apparently fighting.

Pikachu, use Thunderbolt!

But, this isn't really the core game anyway. It's all about levelling up your team, boosting their stats, and summoning new Pokemon to help out.

You do the latter by throwing ingredients you collect from battles in a giant pot, which then cooks a meal to attract different types of Pokemon.

Pokemon Quest Screenshot 2

Rather than being time-based, you have to complete a certain number of levels before the meal is finished, which is a neat way of encouraging you to keep playing instead of sitting about waiting for a new summon.

There's also a whole heap of menus to dig into, so if you want to get deep into the stats and buffs, there's plenty of opportunity to do so.

Within minutes you'll be min-maxing your team, building up the perfect squad composition, and trying out a bunch of meal combinations to attract different Pokemon, and that's where the game truly shines.

Ash whited out!

Pokemon Quest feels a little bit lacking. It's an idle RPG just like the rest, with all the usual requirements of grinding, waiting, and not really interacting with the game.

Yet, it's surprisingly hard to put down. Number nerds will find plenty here to keep them satisfied and the core loop is very effective at encouraging you to stick around.

This isn't the big Pokemon RPG that the fans are clamouring for, but it's an enjoyable way to tide yourself over before the bigger titles start to land.

Pokemon Quest Switch review - More than just another idle RPG?

It's almost instantly forgettable, but Pokemon Quest is a charming and enjoyable way to fill the time before the bigger games land
Ric Cowley
Ric Cowley
Ric was somehow the Editor of Pocket Gamer, having started out as an intern in 2015. He hopes to take over the world the same way.