pokemon let's go

Pixelkin’s 2018 Game of the Year

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This year had some truly remarkable games. Games like God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Celeste, and Dragon Quest 11 reflected a rich diversity of gameplay experiences. For Pixelkin’s 2018 Game of the Year, we focused on the best games that were particularly well-suited for families.

Nintendo once again houses some of the best family-friendly gaming we can find. One game lovingly remade a childhood classic from two decades ago, updating it for modern audiences while adding in several noteworthy new features to introduce a whole new audience to one of the best family-friendly franchises in gaming.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Let’s Go, Pikachu! is Pixelkin’s 2018 Game of the Year.

The brilliance of the original Pokémon Red and Blue, released in the US in 1998, is on full display. The Kanto region is recreated in the more modern 3D style of Pokémon X/Y and Sun and Moon. The light-hearted hero’s journey is fast and easy to jump into, beginning with choosing a new starter Pokémon. The partner Pokémon is a powerful combatant and a cute tagalong friend who, like Pikachu in the series, rides with me rather than in a Pokéball.

Pikachu (or Eevee) can also learn Secret Techniques, which replace the previous Hidden Machines. These moves help explore previously unreachable places, like Sea Skim to traverse water. No longer do I have to worry about including a water Pokémon or a flying Pokémon to get around the latter half of the game.

Pokémon Let’s Go is full of these little improvements and changes that modernize the two-decade old Pokémon gameplay. Other very welcome improvements include the ability to finally swap Pokémon in and out of my active party without having to go through the endless boxes of the Pokémon Center, actually seeing Pokémon out in the world so I can pick and choose my wild encounters, and renaming my Pokémon anytime I wish. I also loved taking out an additional Pokémon to walk around with me, or in the case of larger Pokémon like Rapidash, riding on them! Few moments are as charmingly nostalgic as charging across grassy fields while riding on Arcanine.

pokemon let's go

Catching wild Pokémon is the biggest change in gameplay, but it’s one I found satisfying and rewarding – not to mention kid-friendly. It works almost exactly like mobile AR game Pokémon GO. The Joy-Con motion controls work so well that I often used the kickstand when playing in handheld mode. Flicking the ball at a squirming Pokémon offers just enough interest to never get stale, while ‘battles’ never last more than 30 seconds.

For the first time in the series I actually want to run through dozens of wild Pokémon encounters, increasing my Catch Combo in the hopes for better stats and rare shiny Pokémon. And with Pokémon spawning directly on the world map, catching them has never been more fun or engaging. It makes the world come to life like never before and I hope all Pokémon games in the future utilize it.

The Pokémon series has always been kid-focused series (now enjoyed by countless 30-somethings) but what truly makes Pokémon: Let’s Go an excellent family game is the new co-op mode. Co-op is seamlessly integrated, allowing another local player to simply shake the other Joy-Con half and drop right in. The players have to stay within the same screen and the partner can’t interact with anything, but they do get to participate in combat and in catching wild Pokémon.

let's go

Few gameplay moments have been as rich as playing alongside my young daughter as we synchronized our Pokéball throwing and tag-teamed against the villainous Team Rocket. The intuitive co-op is definitely a feature I want to see in all future Pokémon games for the Nintendo Switch.

As a longtime fan of the series, Pokémon: Let’s Go lacks some of the more deep and complex gameplay features that Pokémon has cultivated in the last two decades, such as breeding and abilities. But it is an excellent modern remake of the original games, and the Pokémon GO-style catching is surprisingly engaging. The many modern improvements make journeying through Kanto more enjoyable than ever. With the new co-op mode, it’s easily the most kid-friendly game of the entire series, and a wonderful way to introduce the magic of Pokémon to a younger generation.

steam winter sale

The Steam Winter Sale Has Arrived

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PC gamers rejoice! One of the biggest annual PC sales have arrived courtesy of the Steam Winter Sale. The sale runs from now through January 3, 2019.

During the Steam Winter Sale you can find solid deals on most of the entire Steam library. You’ll definitely want to check out sales on some of the best games of the year like Monster Hunter: World (34% off), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (50% off), Jurassic World Evolution (75% off) and Dragon Quest 11 (40% off).

This year Steam has added an Advent Calendar of sorts, called the Extremely Cozy Cottage of Surprises. Up to once per day you can open a new page to reveal three digital goodies for Steam, such as emojis or holiday knick-knacks that add to a Knick-Knack Collector Badge. Note that any knick-knacks in your inventory must be used by February 2, 2019.

If you miss a day you can easily open up the previous doors. But the cozy cottage will disappear once the Winter Sale ends.

While shopping for sales you can also vote for The Steam Awards 2018. The categories are slightly less confusing and scatterbrained than previous years. Nominees are not restricted to games that released in 2018. The Labor of Love category alone includes Grand Theft Auto V (2015 on PC), Path of Exile (2013), and Dota 2 (2013).

Each vote grants a digital Steam Awards Trading card. Voting ends the same time the sale ends. The winners of the Steam Awards will be announced in February 2019.

super smash bros. ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review

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Available On: Switch

What started out as a goofy mashup of a handful of Nintendo characters having a What-If throw-down has spent the last two decades transforming into one of the most beloved, consistently excellent series on every Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64.

As the fifth game in the series Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is well deserving of its Ultimate title, featuring every fighter and stage from previous games while providing a solid balance of new and classic gameplay modes, though it’s still a series built for, and best enjoyed locally rather than online.

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super smash bros. ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Unlock Guide

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a massive crossover fighting game, featuring an enormous roster of over 70 fighters. However, when you first start the game you’re limited to the eight fighters who appeared on the original Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64.

You’ll unlock more fighters just through playing, but it’s not as random as you think. There are multiple ways to unlock characters, and by adventuring through the World of Light single player mode or completing Classic Mode with certain fighters, you can be a bit more proactive and hunt for certain characters.

Read our guide below for the different methods to unlocking characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Smash Unlock Order

Every 10 minutes spent playing the game will result in a challenger approaching, in order of the list below. You can spend 10 minutes playing random Smash matches or spending time in the World of Light Adventure Mode or Spirit Battles.

NOTE: You can circumvent the 10 minute timer by closing the game completely and restarting it. At that point the timer no longer matters – as soon as you finish a match, win or lose, a new challenger will approach. The quickest method is to set a Stock battle to 1 and walk off the edge. This is the single fastest way to unlock every character, if a bit cheesy.

You’ll have to beat the challenger to unlock them, and some of them can be quite difficult. In the case of multiple players in a Smash match, the player who won the match will face off against the challenger.

If you’ve already unlocked a character by other means, it will simply skip that character and go to the next one.

  1. Ness
  2. Zelda
  3. Bowser
  4. Pit
  5. Inkling
  6. Villager
  7. Marth
  8. Young Link
  9. Wii Fit Trainer
  10. Ice Climbers
  11. Captain Falcon
  12. Peach
  13. Ryu
  14. Ike
  15. Jigglypuff
  16. King K. Rool
  17. Sonic
  18. Simon
  19. Zero Suit Samus
  20. Little Mac
  21. Isabelle
  22. Shulk
  23. Lucina
  24. Wario
  25. Ridley
  26. Pokémon Trainer
  27. Lucario
  28. Daisy
  29. Roy
  30. King Dedede
  31. R.O.B.
  32. Falco
  33. Luigi
  34. Pichu
  35. Richter
  36. Lucas
  37. Diddy Kong
  38. Meta Knight
  39. Snake
  40. Ganondorf
  41. Corrin
  42. Mega Man
  43. Bayonetta
  44. Toon Link
  45. Rosalina & Luma
  46. Incineroar
  47. Sheik
  48. Olimar
  49. Pac-man
  50. Dark Samus
  51. Wolf
  52. Mr. Game & Watch
  53. Robin
  54. Dark Pit
  55. Cloud
  56. Duck Hunt
  57. Ken
  58. Greninja
  59. Chrom
  60. Mewtwo
  61. Bowser Jr.
  62. Dr. Mario
  63. Palutena

super smash bros. ultimate

Rematch

Note that if you ever fail to beat a new challenger, you can challenge them again by going to Games & More on the main screen, then clicking on the gate icon in the lower right corner (it may take a few challengers before it appears). This also has the advantage of allowing you to choose your fighter, instead of using the last one you used when they appear.

If you fail to beat them again, you’ll have to wait 10 minutes to be able to face them again (or restart the game and play a match). Multiple failed challenges will queue up at the challenger gate in order.

Mii Fighters

The Mii Fighters are actually unlocked from the start, you just have to create one in the Games & More section. There are three different kinds of Mii Fighters you can make: Brawler, Swordfighter, and Gunner. For the purposes of the official roster (74 fighters at launch, including Echo Fighters), all three count as three separate fighters. You can also customize their movesets and their outfits.

Classic Mode

Classic Mode was the original single player campaign mode. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, one fighter goes through six unique battles, plus an end boss fight. Each Classic Mode is unique and different, and completing a run will always result in a new challenger approaching.

Which challenger appears can be found with this handy chart. For example, beating Classic Mode with Mario will make Sonic appear. If you previously unlocked Sonic, you’ll get Bayonetta instead.

Classic Mode can be found in the Games & More section.

super smash bros. ultimate

Using this chart you can find the most efficient way to unlocking your favorite characters.

Adventure Mode

The World of Light is the massive single player adventure in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. You’ll start with even less characters here – only Kirby survived Galeem’s initial onslaught. Within the giant map filled with Spirit Battles you can find other fighters waiting to be challenged and unlocked. Unlocking them in Adventure mode will unlock them in your regular roster as well.

It can be very spoilery to see who and where you unlock various characters, but IGN has a map up if you want all the information.

It’s advisable to back out of Adventure Mode every 10 minutes or so, that way you can take full advantage of the Smash Unlock Order above.

No matter which method you choose, or any combination therein, you’ll constantly unlock fighters as you play. Try them all to find your old standbys and discover new favorites.