pokémon

Our Pokémon Sword and Shield Wishlist

Posted by | Feature, Switch | No Comments

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are two of the most anticipated games coming later this year. The eighth generation will make the pivotal leap from a handheld-focused series onto the Nintendo Switch. They also represent the first all-new main Pokémon games since 2016’s Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Details have been scarce, with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company teasing us with trailers and introducing the three new starter Pokémon. A Sword and Shield-focused Pokémon Direct is scheduled to stream next week on June 5. The Direct should provide further details, and hopefully a release date.

Until then we have mostly speculation and a wishlist of features for Pokémon Sword and Shield. The series has evolved in may ways over the last two-plus decades, yet also stubbornly adhered to its same basic formulas. After last year’s surprisingly fantastic spin-off remake Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, we have some strong opinions on features we’d love to see in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

Multiple Difficulties

Pokémon games need to please multiple fanbases. The young newcomers, the returning teens, the veteran adults, all of who have different skill levels and familiarity with the franchise. Pokémon remains one of the best RPGs for kids, but there is a whole generation of gamers who have grown up with decades of Pokémon games under their belts. For that reason we’d love to have proper difficulty levels, or advanced features that can be checked on or off. We don’t necessarily need to go full Nuzlocke but we’d love the option to create a more challenging experience.

And for the love of goodness let us skip through tutorials, or at least be able to answer a “Have you played a Pokémon game before?” question at the beginning.

More Regional Variants

One of the coolest features from Pokémon Sun and Moon was the introduction of regional variants of classic Gen 1 Pokémon, such as Alolan Vulpix, Rattata, Sandshrew, and Diglett. These regional variants aren’t just cosmetic changes. They add or modify the types and movesets for each Pokémon. Sun and Moon specifically focused on the popular Gen 1 Pokémon and we’d love to see other Pokémon get a similar treatment, even if Sword and Shield’s England-inspired world is a bit less thematic than Sun and Moon’s tropical islands.

Pokémon Appearing in the World

The single best new feature the Pokémon Let’s Go games added were wild Pokémon appearing in the world. No longer did you wander around tall grass or caves waiting for the game to zoom in on a battle, instead you saw Pokémon walking around. It made the world come alive and made hunting for Pokémon a million times more engaging and fun. We expect traditional random encounters to return, but we’d love to see this magical aspect form Let’s Go become a permanent feature in all future Pokémon games.

Pokémon Follower

To expand on Pokémon appearing in the world, you could also select one of your six Pokémon in your party to follow you around. In the case of riding Pokémon like Arcanine and Charizard, you could use them to travel more quickly, or in Sun and Moon they were used to break walls and surf on the water. We would love if we could select our favorite Pokémon to walk around with us, like Pikachu and Ash in the classic anime series.

Access Pokémon Box Anywhere

One of the biggest welcome conveniences added in the Let’s Go games was the ability to access our Pokémon storage anywhere, not just at the Pokémon Center. This encouraged us to switch out our Pokémon much more often, and try new combinations and strategies.

Drop-in Co-op

Speaking of awesome features from Let’s Go, why not keep the easy to use drop-in co-op feature? By splitting the Joy-Con, two players could play on a single screen, and even join in for battles together. It was a fantastic way for parents to play with kids.

New Unique Dual Types

Fun fact: There are 18 different Pokémon types, and as of Gen 7 over 800 different Pokémon. Yet there are still over two dozen dual type combinations that don’t exist in any Pokémon! Every generation slowly adds new unique types so we’re confident we’ll fulfill this one. Some interesting missing dual-type combinations include Bug/Ice, Rock/Ghost, Dark/Fairy, Grass/Fire, and Poison/Steel.

Deeper Customization

The Pokémon games have been frustratingly slow when it comes to customizing our trainers. It took several games before we could even play as a girl! We want multiple body types, ethnicities, and all the clothing options we can get. While we’re at it, how about dressing up our Pokémon as well? Even just a few hats would go a long way in adding a lot of personality to our favorites.

Optional Motion Controls

The Joy-Con motion controls for capturing Pokémon in Pokémon: Let’s Go were solid, but also divisive. We’d like the option to turn them on for those that enjoy the immersive challenge of throwing their own Pokéballs, and support for the Poké Ball Plus controller.

We have high hopes for the first main Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch. Hopefully we’ll get more answers and details on Pokémon Sword and Shield during the Pokémon Direct on June 5.

pokémon

Pokémon Home, Pokémon Sleep Coming 2020; Pokémon Direct Next Week

Posted by | Mobile, News, Switch | No Comments

At a recent press conference in Japan, The Pokémon Company announced several new projects, games, and apps. The big upcoming Pokéman game: Pokémon Sword and Shield, will be detailed in an upcoming Nintendo Direct next week on June 5.

Pokémon HOME is the next evolution of Pokémon Bank. It’s a cloud-based app where trainers can manage their collection of Pokémon throughout the modern generation of games, including Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, Pokémon GO, and Pokémon Sword and Shield. It’s also compatible with Pokémon Bank, allowing you to transfer Pokémon from previous generations. Pokémon can also be traded with anyone around the world through Pokémon HOME with a mobile device. HOME is launching in early 2020 on iOS, Android, and Switch.

Pokémon Sleep is the less mobile cousin of Pokémon GO. It’s a mobile app that tracks your sleeping via the embedded accelerometer from the new Pokémon GO Plus + device. The new device has the same functionality as the original, allowing you to use it to play Pokémon GO as well. Details on how all this works are scarce but the company promises “a gameplay experience unlike any other.” Pokémon Sleep will launch for mobile devices in 2020.

Pokémon Masters is a proper mobile spin-off game. It features 3v3 Pokémon battles with the biggest trainers from Pokémon history. It’s built specifically for mobile casual mobile gameplay, and is launching later this year.

A new Detective Pikachu game was also announced. This one will be a sequel to the events of the first game, which released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. The new Detective Pikachu is being developed for the Switch. A release date has yet not been announced.

For those hoping for any information on the next big Pokémon games, you’ll have to wait until next week. A special Pokémon Direct will stream on June 5 at 6 am Pacific/9 am Eastern, and focus solely on Pokémon Sword and Shield. We expect to get an official release date, most likely in November.

Playdate is a New Handheld Gaming Device Coming Next Year

Posted by | News | No Comments

In a surprise announcement, indie developer and publisher Panic revealed their next project: a yellow handheld black and white gaming device called Playdate. Playdate is set to launch next year with a $149 price tag. Pre-orders should be available at the end of this year.

“After 20 years of making software, we wanted to grow our skills, push us out of our comfort zone, and take us on an adventure,” states the Panic FAQ. “We love creating things, and it was time for us to level up.”

Playdate includes several unique features, including a physical crank on the right-hand side. The crank can tuck into the device for easier storage. Once flipped out it can be used as an additional analog controller for games that support it.

The retro-style black and white 2.7-inch LCD screen lacks a backlight, which has become a standard feature in handheld gaming devices since the Game Boy Advance in the early 2000s. Panic is quick to differentiate the screen from the original Game Boy model with Playdate’s higher resolution and no blurring or grid lines.

The device is super tiny at 2.9″ x 2.9″ x 0.35″. But the most unique aspect of Playdate is its gaming library. Games will be purely digital and will arrive in seasonal packs. The first season is included in the $149 cost of the device and includes 12 games.

The 12 games will release gradually over time at a rate of one new game per week. Games can be downloaded onto the device and can remain in your library forever, and you can always download games that you missed earlier in a season. Games will not be announced or revealed ahead of time, emulating a sort of blind box purchase.

Panic mentions working with several prominent indie developers for its seasonal games, including Keita Takahashi, Bennett Foddy, Shaun Inman, and Zach Gage. Panic is currently soliciting developers to work with.

Future seasons, or an actual game store, “depends on interest and sales,” according to Panic’s official FAQ.

Technical specifications such as internal storage and CPU have not been announced. Playdate is running on a custom OS built by Panic. The crank was developed by Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering.

Playdate should ship in early 2020, with pre-orders available late 2019.