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Detective Pikachu Returns for the Switch Game Review

Detective Pikachu Returns for the Switch Game Review

Be prepared for a second round of…a bolt of brilliance! The surprise sequel to the 2016 (2018 United States release) Nintendo 3DS game is now available on the Switch since late 2023.  And of course, in 2019, the smash USA hit, “Detective Pikachu: The Movie” was released with Ryan Reynold’s voicing the cherished eclectic pocket monster.  I remember the Interwebs were freaking out with delight at the announcement for this game, seeing the RETURNS… and assuming it would be for another MOVIE.  HA! Not that I would not like that very much, but I am glad we got the game since the first one did not conclude the case involving Tim Goodman and the case of his missing father.

Detective Pikachu Returns for the Switch Game Review:

Story/Characters: 11/15

The “Great” Detective Pikachu once again steals the show with his wit, ‘old man’ humor, and passion for tracking down a case and black coffee.  Kaiji Tang does his voice in both games and he is perfection, really bringing this unique Pikachu we never thought we needed into our lives.  Although I do agree that Danny Divato would have been a fun choice too, lol!

He and Tim have a grand rapport and the actors play the fun, mystery, and surprisingly deep heart at times to this tale.

The timeline is two years after the R incident from the first game is solved.  Ryme City is our playground once more.  Tim and Pikachu are being honored at the start of the new Pokemon Friendship Week at a Mayor ceremony…until things go haywire.  What else is new? Tim and Pikachu are swept up into a new adventure, their new cases all suddenly connecting into something bigger and more problematic.  Plus, we cannot forget finding Tim’s dad and Pikachu’s partner, Harry Goodwin.

Now, all this is NOT a spoiler! One, this all connects to the first game. BUT, if you did not play that one, you can still follow this one fairly well.  And two, most people saw the film.  It may not be a perfect copy, but it can help you get the gist to dive into this story.

I really like the comedy woven into this story.  The Pokemon all have such dissect personalities and having Pikachu able to translate and interact with his own glowing persona is entertaining.  The writers even made Pikachu say very modern slang, like suss and cringe! LOL! As an elementary teacher who is forced to hear this jargon, I was chuckling.  They also commented early how they even made of movie about Tim and Pikachu solving the R case, alluding to OUR real-life film! His little sister even comments on why she and their mom were not put in the movie! It was too good!

The story itself is an interesting concept, how these two games connect to the film, but are also their own stamp in the media, like putting a puzzle together.  You more are solving a mystery with smaller cases between than I suppose playing through a long, complex story.  The characters are not overly colorful or memorable, at least not the humans, but they are still welcomed.  It is nice to see The Hi-Cat Cafe again and see how it has grown.  Ryme City is bustling with action.  And Cheif Holiday and Brad are back too.  I did like his mother and little sister.  Rachel was a well-designed, spunky, and kind-hearted helper/friend/crush for Tim, a great resource and how she connected to the story was fitting and flowed well.

The surprise treat of learning how Harry (Tim’s dad) and Pikachu met in such detail was wonderful! And I did get choked up/fearful at the climax.

Graphics/Angles: 7/10

This game is not meant to be overly detailed with its world-designing.  It basically is an old-school side scroller/collecting Sega/Nintendo game.  I can only go the main four directions (no diagonal) and there are a few curves.  It was a tad annoying it was so simple.  There were enough to see for the cases I needed to solve, but I wish I could have moved a little more…realistic than mostly left and right.

The graphics were much approved from the first game, but that is to be expected.  I think the Pokemon looked good.  Since they have 3D character models now due to many being in main series games, I bet that was not too challenging.  Pikachu’s angles were odd sometimes, but he was in most scenes.  The humans…ha.  They all looked pretty bored in the face and had the same skin, but someone just randomly added different hair, skin colors, or eyes.  The key people stood out more, but I felt like they could have tried a tad harder here than a budget SIMS approach for the humans.

The colors and background were pretty overall.


Mechanics/Replay Value: 8/10:

I already explained how the only directions you basically use on the touch bad is right or left, sometimes up and down.  A of course is the select button and B is the back.  X is to open up your Detection Notebook  The + is the menu and save.  The arrows when out in the field when it flashes means Pikachu wants to talk to you or give you random tips, all with fun cut-scenes.  And R-1 at the top is used for your partner.  You get reminders of what to do in the right corner too or the button on your screen you need will flash sometimes. And if you try to go the wrong way, Pikachu stops you.

So, yes; pretty easy overall.  And they work well most of the time.

I often had to click the A button twice to register when I was asking questions for information.  This could be my Switch, but it was still a little annoying.

The linear maps were no issue to navigate either.

There are a few parts where you have to button mash A like mad.  I am usually decent at this, but the final one…I did it for over a minute and got close to the border of being finished, but it would not get there no matter what and my thumb cramped and I had to start again.  Derrick, my hubby, came in and helped me with that part.  He was able to do it, but even he was tired and said, “Dang!” Made me think of how a 10-year-old is supposed to do that! Or maybe I am just too old, ha!

This game only took me 16 hours to complete and there is no extra things to do after the story (just a cut scene for the end,) so no replay ability.  Not sure it is worth the $60 price tag with that, but it was enjoyable for what it is. 🙂

Arcs/Areas: 13/15:

There were five arcs, each lasting about 2.5-3 hours each to complete:

The Mansion and Ryme City (and the city park,)

The Ruins,

The Police Station and 2nd Avenue (both a part of Ryme City,)

Bamboo Bough and Forest,

The Secret Lab.

Again, the maps are simple, but there is enough to do and they give you plenty of tasks questioning humans and Pokemon, deducing, looking for clues, and side quests.  It becomes familiar, but each one has its own special traits and new things to discover.  Seeing the city residents and how they play different roles depending on the case you are on is more immersive and I had fun questioning the Pokemon, their interactions with Pikachu all funny.

I recall the first game had nine arcs.  I feel you spent more time here in these locations, so they will stick more in my memory (although the ship in the first game is still implanted in my brain.)

I wish there was more to say, lol! Good pacing, nice graphics, a layout that is simple and engaging, all of it getting the job done to solve these mysteries.

Pokemon: 13/15:

Side Quests: There were about 5-6 (but 10 in the Bamboo Bough and Forest) side quests you can do to help the people or Pokemon in the area while you are trying to solve your case.  Do you get anything from them?  Eh…no…but you are THE GREAT DETECTIVE DUO! Shouldn’t you help the citizens of Ryme City?  LOL! And none of them really take away time or effort from your main objective.  Several are along the way.  Some are humorous too, like having to find certain berries at a mad Pignite whose owner forgot to grab them for their camping trip or a Yamper who will only eat the meltiest cheese to leave the forest! LOL! I was able to solve all but one in the third arc: a lady said she kept hearing a voice, but not finding anything.  I was looking for ghost Pokemon and clicking all sorts of icons, but nothing.

The ONLY beef I have with this component was most of the time after I found the Pokemon, skill, or item required for the side quest, it would teleport me back to where I got the assignment, which was often far away, making me backtrack.  That was irritating. Luckily, it was not hard to get back to where I needed to be, but still.

Variety: This game includes the first eight generations of Pokemon, so around 900 Pokemon they could of choose from.  I would say there is at least 100 you see and/or interact with.  That was nice and they chose a good selection for types, sizes, and generations, giving them all unique personas I found charming.  Some got me chuckling hard.

Quizzes: This was stupid.  Hated it.  Skipped it after the first one.  Dumb, snobby girl gives you random quiz questions about Pokemon and you have to find them in the area you at.  If it was just one question, fine.  But she acts like a know it all, doubting your detective skills.  And then she asks more questions.  AND, she follows you from place to place.  Nope.  Pass.

Villians: 8/10:

Since I am an adult, the villain did not surprise me.  But some of the roundabout ways others were involved were interesting.  The final villain was the type of crazy evil with the psycho, messed-up plan the fit a world where there is a talking Pikachu that drinks coffee! LOL! Some of the minor villains for the other arcs had some decent red herrings thrown in there. The reflected reasonings on why these bad guys did these motives could happen in our real world sadly.  And the secret base was fitting.  All of this fit the narrative and age range for this storyline.

The ONLY thing I had issues with was there was A TON of reading and complex stuff I am sure most preteens would not understand or care about.  You do have to think and piece things together, but if you do not like reading a lot, this game may not be your cup of Joe.  I bring this hear because until the final arc, to find the secret lab for the villain and solve the final mystery, it was not too unbearable.  There were endless documents here and even with Tim and Pikachu discussing them with me, I was getting overwhelmed and confused. It took some of the fun out of finding the final hideout.

Puzzles/Partners: 13/15:

An addition I really liked was partner Pokemon.  In the first four arcs, Pikachu makes a friend and gets to ride them, each one with a special skillset useful for the area you are in.  The button is the same for each one, the R1 at the top, but the powers are different.  User friendly.  And you can do side quests with your partner too.  Growlithe was my favorite because I have always adored this fire pup, but she was a sweetie.  Pikachu riding on Darmantan was a riot! I like the rapport he had to earn with Luxary and his past with Pangero was a treat.  The last arc has a fantastic surprise for the partner Pokemon concept, but I do not want to spoil it. Who wouldn’t want to befriend or ride a Pokemon?  Pikachu has some of his best moments and zingers with them too!

The puzzles overall are balanced that they make you work and think, but knowing that will stress you out too much.  I only had to look up one, which annoyed me, lol! But I probably just missed a step and it all worked out.  Be prepared to have fun solving cases through sniffing, smashing, moving, and seeing!

TOTAL: 80% B-





Solve the Mysteries with Friendship!  Stay geeky! 🙂


Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice, and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real-life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

For more information about Morgan and her works, check out her website, which also has links to all her social medias: http://morganscomnick.com


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