Pokémon and Temtem: Are They The Same Thing?

Pokémon has become a timeless franchise over the past two decades, between video games, card games, anime, media, and toys. It’s transcended and become nearly god-tier, being the highest-grossing media franchise in the world. With such street cred, it’s no wonder that some game developers want to mimic that success. They want to bring a nostalgic vibe to their games over the years. While no one really has the potential to reach Pokémon’s level of success, none have made a better attempt than Temtem. Temtem is a recently-released MMORPG that developer Crema hopes hits all the right chords of fans of the Pokémon franchise. 

This is not a review. This game is an indie game in Early Access and ripping into the seams of it this early would be unfair and unjust for such a cool and unique title. This is, instead, a comparison. They’ve really made their name with an elevator pitch saying “It’s a Pokémon MMO”. So, let’s treat it as such. Let’s put Temtem as it currently is (and what it has the potential to be) against the biggest, most well-known franchise in the world. Let’s sit down and critique it as a real compare and contrast. Don’t worry; they do some things really right, even with the game being brand new on Early Access.

Blatant Pokémon Inspirations

I can honestly say that Temtem, for everything it claims to be, really does give a look and feel of classic Pokémon titles. We’re not talking about the modern games that give a little more hand-holding, the-entire-game-is-a-tutorial feel. We’re talking about the first few generations of Pokémon here. You know the ones I mean, with those meaty challenges. The hard-as-nails, ruthless battles from twenty years ago still ring in my head. They don’t hide their inspirations in Pokémon and, in fact, lean into them so hard that (if it were real life) I’d call it a shoulder check.

Ok, let’s put it plain and simple. The game honestly starts out with the player in their bedroom, talking to their mother, then having to meet up at the local Professor’s lab. There, they see their rival (who is totally a jerk) and get their first creature to start their journey.  If you’ve played any classic Pokémon game, this sounds really familiar. Although the premise of the tutorial is a copy and paste scenario, some incredibly important details do change. 

you chose the temtem houchic in the professor's lab

For instance, fans of the Pokémon games are generally treated to the early rock-paper-scissors of Fire, Water, and Grass. While Fire, Water, and Nature (a combination of Grass and Bug) do exist in the game, the starters offer three different choices instead: Melee (their version of Fighting), Mental (their version of Psychic), and Crystal (a new one that seems to be a little bit of Steel, Ice, and Dark combined into one).

Hit The Pokémon Nail on the Head

Instead of your “friend”-slash-rival, Max, taking another Temtem (you know, like that jerk Blue), you’re told he already had obtained one, which happens to be the rare “Digital” type, Oree. Oree has no direct analog to Pokémon but is clearly a nod to the 90s Pokémon rival series, Digimon. You battle him and really just don’t have a lot of chance at winning this fight. It doesn’t matter because the Professor gives you a second Tem, Tuwai, either way afterward.

They did learn from the modern games a tad bit and implement them in some minor details. For instance, a Temporium can be found in each town (with half centers in less populated areas). Temporiums are basically derived from modern Pokémon Centers. You can heal your Tem team, utilize the storage boxes, and buy supplies. Old Pokémon games kept the Pokémon Center and Pokémart separate. I’m glad they opted to combine them here for convenience.

One thing that Temtem does nearly identical to Pokémon is their Dojos, which work exactly like Gyms. It starts with a puzzle and Dojo tamers (the Temtem word used for “trainers”). This ends in a fight with the Dojo master (you know, the Gym leader). It’s pretty cut and dry, just like Gyms. The difference is that Pokémon Gyms all follow a theme, often basing their gym and puzzles on the specific type, such as Water or Grass. Temtem doesn’t have any notable Dojo themes that are immediately obvious (and if they are, they’re easy to miss). 

The Temtems (or Tems For Short)

The great thing about Pokémon is the feeling that an entire team of designers sat down and really hashed out unique and iconic creatures. Looking at most Pokémon, players can easily memorize them and they notoriously stick out. This is where the modern formula for Pokémon and Temtem diverge a bit, as Crem is a much smaller indie developer.

tempedia showing houchic

Temtem has a similar mentality to old school Pokémon, which at times was just a real animal with a color splash and a new name (I’m looking at you, Rattata and Pidgey). Most Temtem don’t feel like they could hold the same iconic candle as, let’s say, Pikachu, Eevee, or even recent additions like Sobble. But, with later Pokémon like Toucannon (literally just an angry toucan) and Ducklett (a blue cartoon duck), many of the Temtem could fit right into the picture without anyone really batting an eye. 

Some of the Tems were created by well known Fakemon artists, such as 50 Shades of Heliolisk’s adorable Platypet and its evolutionary line. Some were not, which shows the immaturity of the game yet, with plenty of room to grow. To be perfectly fair, Pokémon has had 20 years to come up with nearly 1000 creatures and Temtem is still working itself out of Kickstarter and Early Access.

Right For Your Right To Battle

As mentioned earlier, this game wears its classic Pokémon feel on its sleeve. But, it totally changes the game and how tactics work within actual Temtem battles. The battles are still turn-based like Pokémon but focus on Stamina instead of how many times a move can be used. For instance, in Pokémon, a specific move could have 5 or 35 times it can be used without filling back up (in a Pokémon Center or via specific items). 

However, in Temtem, Stamina is based entirely on an individual fight. Each technique (their term for “attack”) has a number next to it, which uses up a Tem’s personal stamina. As they level up, they get more stamina. But, it’s a slow progression (especially early on). When it depletes, your Tems can’t attack until they rest up or use special items to gain Stamina back. In fact, if you go over your allotted Stamina, it overexerts itself, damaging the Temtem and forcing it to rest the next turn. This makes tactical decisions heavier, especially when hard-hitting moves can demolish a Temtem’s stamina in a single blow. Stamina refills after each battle, though. So, use that to your advantage!

Pokémon-like, But Still Different Enough

Type advantages, weaknesses, and resistances do make a return in this game from its inspiration. One thing that Temtem does super well here is being upfront about the advantages and disadvantages both in and out of battle.

 

walking around in temtem

Early on in the game, they offer some pretty good resources in the Accademia (a school you attend to learn about being a Tem Tamer). This is to help new players understand they’re not in the Pokémon world anymore and to learn all of the new weaknesses and strengths. In battles, the UI informs you that something will be effective, super effective, or less effective with colors. Once a move has been done, you may even see a little 2x, 4x, 1/2x, or 1/4x above the defending Tem.

Battles are done as two vs two (2v2) most of the time, similar to the Double Battles within Pokémon. This allows strategy in the normal game. But, it really amps up the strategy when it comes to co-op. I’ll talk more on co-op later when I talk about the multiplayer aspects of the game.

One thing that didn’t carry over from modern Pokémon games is the minor quality of life conveniences like pressing a single-button to throw a Pokéball/ TemCard in battle. You have to go hunting for the particular item in your inventory. It brings back the slow slog memories of old Pokémon games, breaking the pacing of battles.

Stats Play a Big Part

Temtem has nearly duplicated the stat system that Pokémon has popularized, with Speed, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, as well as HP. In addition, Temtem added Stamina too (as mentioned earlier), which is affected by leveling up and other means.

Instead of the EV and IV stat systems of Pokémon, they’re instead called Single Value (SV) for base stats and Training Value (TV) for trainable stats, which go from 1 to 50 and 1 to 500, respectively. Training can bring TV up to 1000 each. This is treated, for better or worse, exactly like Pokémon.

Pokémon Breeders Will Be Happy

Breeding in Pokémon is an international pastime. Players will spend dozens to hundreds of hours perfecting their competitive teams with perfect stats, specific abilities, egg moves, shiny options, and more. Temtem takes that another step in their breeding process. 

Five things can be inherited here: Fertility, Techniques, Single Values, Traits, and Luma. Luma is just Temtem’s version of “Shiny”, which is an incredibly rare chance that you’ll get a special color version of a particular Tem. In fact, it’s a much lower chance than Pokémon’s Shinies. So, good luck with the Luma hunt!

talking to professor kostantinos

Instead of dealing with egg groups where a Wailord and a Skitty can breed with each other, the compatibility boils down to typing, opposite sex, and fertility. Yea, I said fertility. The fertility of a particular Temtem can be found in the Tempedia with a little flower icon and will be affected by the number of times the Tem has been bred, resulting in the offspring to inherit the lowest fertility of the parents. A Fertility Essence can be used to raise the stat, but it’s an extra step in the usual process. Type plays a part with compatibility, meaning Tamers need to make sure they share at least one Type, as well as be opposite genders. The eggs can learn Egg Techniques from their parents just like Pokémon, but items can be used to ensure stats are inherited as well.

Don’t Forget About Items!

Pokémon fans will be familiar with the basis of many of the items available in Temtem, with some slight tweaks. Balms work just like Potions, except they heal 25 HP instead of 20. Scent works just like the classic Repel. Instead of using an Escape Rope in Pokémon, one may throw a Smoke Bomb down to get out of a building or cave. Since Tems are not kept in spherical Pokéballs, they’re instead kept in flat electronic cards, aptly named TemCards. Those are kept a nice stack, known as a TemDeck, which can only consist of 6 cards. This all might feel pretty familiar to most fans of Pokémon, if not with some light inspiration from the Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchises as well.

In addition to riffs on the classics, many items will help with Stamina (such as Ether), with many helping heal both HP and Stamina at the same time. However, one major item that Pokémon doesn’t have is called the Temessence Vial. This vial is a one-time use item that heals an entire party. It’s refilled each time you heal up at a Temporium, but it’s an out-of-battle last-ditch effort if you’re stuck in the middle of some ruins or in the middle of a field hanging on for dear life.

Multiplayer and MMORPG

Where the most recent Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield have added roving trainers and team-ups in the form of Max Raid Battles, this game takes a more MMORPG approach to other people in the world. Multiplayer, as players will find out quickly, is pretty MMO standard. It includes (or at least will include in future updates) all of the things one comes to expect from an MMORPG. While playing, you’re likely to see tons of other Tamers traversing the land. When you look up a Tamer and hit “Inspect”, however, a really nice menu pops up with a ton of options.

The first thing you’re likely to notice is the battle options, which include both a “Competitive” and “Casual” option, which is great for those looking to battle with friends or randos alike. Since this is a Poké-like game, trading is also available between Tems. You can also add them as a friend. These all feel more natural than the boring menus and long alphanumeric codes that Pokémon fans are used to. 

When you go into inspect the player, you can learn everything there is to know about them, down to the outfit and hair they have, stats and wins, when they were last online, and (a function not yet available in the game) their club. Since this is an MMO, it’s only normal to include a guild or clan option. So, clubs will be a feature in the game.

Be Sociable!

Since this is an MMO, there’s a chat box in the bottom corner of the screen with different options. But, when inspecting a Tamer, you can Whisper directly to them. This is a great way to set up battles, trades, or anything else. 

Temtem defeating sophia and becoming full tamer

Unlike Pokémon, Co-op play is an actual option in Temtem. You can team up with a friend in the game, working together on quests and battles in real-time. Since the game utilizes double battles at all times in either case, double battles consist of the first three Tems in each of your teams, even though you can still carry six total on you. Strategy is key, so don’t be afraid to utilize your communication channels. 

Accomplish This

One thing that really feels lacking this early on in Temtem is the feeling of accomplishment. Sure, you can breed and create a perfect killer team, but there’s no real Battle Tower to take them too, or tournament areas, or anything like that. If you want to battle, it’s generally just against random players. Sure, this kind of content may be added in later updates. But, it just doesn’t scratch the competitive itch that Pokémon has perfected.

In the newest Pokémon games, Sword and Shield, players could go into the Wild Area early on and easily waste 10 hours or more doing Max Raid Battles and exploring before making it to their first gym. But, you still feel accomplished by the time you get that far. You don’t feel like you just used that amount of time for nothing. The story keeps you going and pushing to concepts and keeps the flow the entire time. In Temtem, the pacing isn’t nearly as cut and dry. You could go 10 hours before your first Dojo, but you could still be sitting at relatively low-level Tems that might not stand a chance against an onslaught of Dojo tamers and not enough money to get a ton of Balms.

There’s no feeling that you’re actually getting where you need to be. It, unfortunately, takes this feeling from much older Pokémon games that focused pretty hard on the grind. Do you need to level up a Pokémon? Well, go grab a drink. You’re going to be in the patch of grass for a while. This could change later on in balancing and quality of life adjustments, but it’s super noticeable right now.

Final Verdict

So, now that we’ve laid out all of the information, we have to ask the harder questions. Is Temtem really like Pokémon and is it the “Pokémon Killer”? 

These are easy questions to answer. Temtem has definitely got all the proper notes to make Pokémon fans happy and keep them playing over time. The game is still in Early Access. So, it’s hard to determine exactly how much more they plan to do with the game. They plan to add things into the game that are clearly marked as coming soon or “Work in Progress”. But, solving the quality of life issues and getting their various bugs taken care of immediately come to mind.

We live in a world where everything out there is compared to something. This is why we have roguelikes (games that are compared to the old game, Rogue), Souls-likes (compared to Dark Souls), and so on. I don’t believe Temtem is a “Pokémon Killer”. However, I’d like to propose we consider it a true Poké-like. It has enough similarities that it’s clearly meant to mimic Pokémon. But, it’s got enough differences that it’s not just a straight-up Pokémon clone. I’d recommend anyone that likes the concept and values of Pokémon to give it a solid try. 

Additionally, they recently released a great road map of their future plans starting Spring 2020 and going all the way into Summer 2012, which they intend to add a ton of features, fixes, and quality of life additions. Adding things like a Nuzlocke mode, Achievements, Housing, and much more is going to really flesh out the game. They are showing that Spring 2021 will be the “1.0 Launch” which will pull it out of Early Access as well. It may not be “there” just yet, but it’s going to head that way.

Ready to give it a go? Learn all about the Type Advantages and Weaknesses in Temtem. If classic Pokémon is more your speed, maybe you’d agree with my thoughts on the Pokémon Masters mobile game here.

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Temtem 2020 Roadmap Revealed

After having released in Early Access this January, the Temtem 2020 roadmap has now been revealed by publisher Humble Bundle and developer Crema.

Temtem 2020 roadmap

Temtem is an Early Access MMO that focuses on collecting and battling all kinds of creatures. Initially inspired by Pokemon, Temtem has truly become its own beast. While this roadmap includes development that leads up to the 1.0 official launch, the team has stressed that it will support Temtem well after that.

Here is a brief overview of the upcoming content and when to expect it:

Spring 2020

  • Ranked Matchmaking V1
  • Spectator Mode V1
  • In-Game Chat
  • Chat Bubbles
  • Club Management

Summer 2020

  • New Island: Kisiwa
  • ~25 New Temtem
  • Player Housing
  • Climbing Gear
  • Emotes V2

Fall 2020

  • New Island: Cipanku
  • ~25 New Islands
  • 1st Mythical Temtem
  • In-Game Tournaments
  • Quest Diary
  • Achievements

It should also be stressed that none of this is 100% confirmed to be implemented and development cycles always change. For more detailed information, be sure to check out Crema’s blog!

Source: Official Blog

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Some Preliminary Thoughts on Temtem

It is a gorgeous day in Zadar, on this brightly colored floating island. Today is your Apprentice’s Eve, and it’s the first day you’re getting to choose a little companion creature, called a Temtem. Luckily, here on this island, your professor friend has brought along a trio of creatures, from which you will pick your first. Then, quickly, your adventure gets temporarily stalled as you are challenged by your childhood rival to a Temtem battle. Then, set off on your adventure, you will visit various dojos, challenge their leaders, and continue to develop your skills as a Temtem tamer.

If this setup sounds familiar, it’s because it inevitably is. At first blush, and even during prolonged play, it can be difficult to see Temtem as anything other than exactly what it is, an MMORPG not at all dissimilar from Game Freak’s massively popular Pokemon franchise.

 

It’s not exactly Pokémon…

The impulse to dwell only on what separates Temtem from Pokémon is immediate. In brief, some of the major differences are some of Temtem’s noteworthy strengths. Without the specter of a long list of known creatures, skills, types, and setups means that the competitive elements of Temtem are not going to be immediately drowning in optimized creatures and movelists. It gives both new and practiced high-level Pokémon players a relatively level playing field.

Similarly, seasoned Pokémon players will find moves, move energy, and type systems don’t work exactly the same, and will need to do a bit of work exploring the new types, moves, and timings to get the full swing of combat. Nothing too jarring, but enough wrinkles to change up the pace and style of play from time to time.

Also, in combat, the player will always deploy two creatures, even against individual opponents. It means players will have the opportunity to stage their teams so they can apply status effects and attacks on the same turn they try to capture a creature. Though it’s a little detail, having each creature act as its own independent turn in combat also means item usage, rest turns, and status effects are done in concert with other player actions. A bit of topspin on turn-by-turn strategizing.

Despite those differences, players looking to have somewhat familiar experience without having to learn brand new mechanics and systems will find Temtem to be a very easy thing to settle into. So, those familiar with Pokémon will have little trouble acclimating quickly, and lancing themselves into the world immediately.

 

It Shouldn’t Be!

Although the setup, structure, and trappings may seem inextricably similar to Pokémon, one of the most exciting parts of Temtem is getting to be excited about the ways in which it isn’t like it’s nearest comparison. For all the things the Nintendo titan is, it also exists in volumes already. Temtem can’t be exactly that, nor should it!

Temtem is another game world, with an entirely different population, one which is filled primarily with other players. Players who can be whatever sort of player and tamer they want to be. Although Temtem has a narrative mode, it will also be a world overflowing with players of every stripe, strategies of every sort, and opportunities to socialize and coordinate that promises to be very unique in the creature capture genre.

 

Unburdened by Grandeur

Games too often have a world-saving gravitas. The idea of averting the apocalypse, saving the princess, or defeating the grand evil is a long shadow that seems to hang oppressively over many online narratives. Players can sit in the town square, contemplating the choices that hang heavy over their heads as the sole saviors of the universe, surrounded by hundreds of other sole saviors of the universe. Massively multiplayer online games, as a whole, are kind of silly in that way.

Temtem is free of that gravity. In fact, the entire world seems to be powered by bright colors and charming locals. The tropical village of Zandar is a paradise of tourist pleasure, a place to kick up one’s feet, watch the waves lap over the sand, and enjoy the passing breeze. A game with competitive stakes, but one that doesn’t feel the need to linger darkly on them.

You are young, you are free, you are not bound by social needs, you have all your best creature friends with you. Go find your adventure!

 

Over the Horizon

There’s a lot more to Temtem still over the horizon, and it will be a pleasure to continue to explore what new details come about as the game grows. There’s plenty of opportunity for Temtem to be a hit on its own rights.

For now, a few creatures, some beachfront skirmishes, and a new adventure on the horizon are enough.

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Temtem Type Chart and Guide – Advantages and Weaknesses

Traversing through Temtem is like riding a bicycle for anyone that has ever played a Pokemon game in their lives. However, those who are used to the type standards set by the Pocket Monsters may get a tad confused when entering the world of Temtem.

Honestly, it all works very similarly to the rock-paper-scissors format that Pokemon popularized over the past two decades, with some definite changes to the status quo. Temtems each have a “type” of element attached to them, such as the starter option Crystle being a Crystal type. They can be broken down into twelve possible options, as well as some being dual-types.

Where to Start – What Are All The Types?

Those types are: Fire, Water, Nature, Electric, Crystal, Melee, Mental, Earth, Wind, Digital, Toxic, and Neutral. Each one makes sense in terms of context, but they can be exploited for advantages in battle. Water, for instance, is strong against Fire types, and so on.

Temtem Type Chart From Kickstarter

For those that are fans of Pokemon, this is how we get “super effective” moves. In fact, the game will offer a double damage, or “2x” in times of superior typing. This can go as far as to offer a “4x” when it’s doubly effective on a dual-type. When attacking something resistant, it will only give ½ damage, and when doubly resistant, it’ll give a ¼ damage. Eventually, you’ll find yourself hovering over a Temtem opponent and seeing the circle turn green or red, which indicate if something is going to hit more effectively, or incredibly weakly.

Very early in the game, you and your rival/ “friend” Max are brought to the Professor’s lab to start your journey as a Temtem Tamer. There, you’re faced with three “starter” Temtem. This isn’t your usual Fire, Water, and Grass options either.

You’re faced with the Crystal type Crystle, the Melee type Smazee, and the Mental type Houchic. These work in a circle similar to the old Pokemon starters, with Crytle being good over Houchic, Houschic having the advantage over Smazee, and Smazee able to best Crystle. You’ll also likely lose your first battle against Max, who rocks a Digital type that has no disadvantages here as all. Don’t feel bad when you lose.

 

Fire Type

Fire is exactly as it sounds. It’s a Temtem that utilizes Fire-based attacks and is likely fire-themed. Don’t get burned!

Strength: Nature, Crystal

Weakness: Water, Earth, Fire

Pokemon Equivalent: Fire-types like Charizard.

 

Water Type

Water-themed Temtem are usually found near bodies of water. Their moves make a bit of a splash.

Strength: Fire, Earth, Digital

Weakness: Nature, Toxic, Water

Pokemon Equivalent: Water-types like Blastoise.

 

Nature Type

Anything green is under this typing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the trees, plants, or the bugs that live in them.

Strength: Water, Earth

Weakness: Fire, Toxic, Nature

Pokemon Equivalent: Grass- and Bug-types, such as Butterfree or Bulbasaur

 

Electric Type

With a zap and a spark, Electric Temtems are really strong against a ton of other types, but they’re also super weak to a bunch of types as well.

Strength: Water, Wind, Mental, Digital

Weakness: Nature, Earth, Crystal, Electric

Pokemon Equivalent: Electric-types like Pikachu

 

Crystal Type

Some Temtem out there crystallize and form hard shells. These Crystal types, such as the starter Temtem Crystle, offer different abilities than the average everyday Nature type.

Strength: Electric, Mental

Weakness: Fire, Earth

Pokemon Equivalent: Closest approximation would be the Ice-type, such as Regice or Glaceon, but is likely to be a stand-in for Dark or Steel as well.

 

Melee Type

Head to head, Melee types are strong. They focus on strong attacks. The starter Smazee falls under this heading.

Strength: Earth, Crystal

Weakness: Mental

Pokemon Equivalent: Fighting-types like Hitmonchan or Pancham

 

Mental Type

Why use physical force when you can use your mind to take your opponents down? Mind over matter, as they always say, and the starter Houchic embodies that.

Strength: Neutral, Melee

Weakness: Crystal

Pokemon Equivalent: Psychic-type, such as Abra or Mewtwo

Houchic stat screen with type and techniques

 

Earth Type

In terms of both Temtem that live in caves or just underground, the Earth-type is rockin’ and rollin’.

Strength: Fire, Electric, Crystal

Weakness: Water, Nature, Wind

Pokemon Equivalent: Rock- or Ground-type, such as Rhydon or Diglett

 

Wind Type

Take to the skies with these birds and floating type Temtem. Early in the game, you’re given a Tuwai by the Professor, which resembles a toucan. Then, toucan can do the double battles. Sorry, I’ll see myself out.)

Strength: Toxic

Weakness: Electric, Wind

Pokemon Equivalent: Flying-type, such as Pigeot or Pidove

 

Digital Type

Digital Temtem are newly discovered in the lore of the world, making them incredibly rare and incredibly powerful.

Strength: Mental, Melee, Digital

Weakness: NONE

Pokemon Equivalent: Digimon. No, seriously, there’s nothing in Pokemon like this, but Digimon is the closest approximation here. They’re digital-based, so Porygon technically. Except Porygon is “Normal-type” in Pokemon.

 

Toxic Type

Toxic Temtems sometimes have the ability to poison other Temtem in battle. They ooze toxicity and probably should not be cuddled too close.

Strength: Water, Nature

Weakness: Earth, Digital, Crystal, Toxic

Pokemon Equivalent: Poison-type, such as Koffing or Grimer

 

Neutral Type

This is as basic as basic gets. Normal type Temtems and techniques generally will hit but don’t have any advantages over anything. They’re a True Neutral.

Strength: None

Weakness: Mental

Pokemon Equivalent: Normal-type, such as Eevee or Rattata

 

Additional Thoughts and Best Types

Based on the original type charts available during Temtem’s Kickstarter, minor changes to type advantages have happened even in a short amount of time. The game itself doesn’t tell you in the listing of type advantages that sometimes when attacking a Temtem of the same type will be considered a type disadvantage altogether, but that isn’t always true.

You got a new Temtem, Houchic!

Since the game is in Early Access currently, the ongoing meta of the game is likely to change and, well, evolve over time. At the time of writing, digital is by far the strongest type, with no weaknesses and three strengths. It’s also the rarest of all Temtem and you won’t get one early in the game.

The important aspect, just like Pokemon before it, is to create a well-rounded team here. Try not to fill your team with all Wind-types, for instance, and vary what goes into your team of six. You have a lot of options in the wild and tall grass. Take advantage of that. Also, don’t forget to use your Tempedia to figure out what the type is of each Temtem you encounter and catch.

If you’re into Pokemon-related games, check out our review of the mobile game Pokemon Masters. While you’re at it, check out our first impressions of Temtem.

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Temtem Impressions – Gotta Tame ’Em All

Do you know why they are called stress tests? Because they will stress you out, make you want to tear your hair apart. Well, perhaps the official reason behind these tests is something more elaborate, like getting the servers under severe pressure and to try and break them, like Crema is trying to do in a series of brief Temtem stress tests. Or, as I prefer to call them, Queue Simulator 2020 or Black Screen Reboot Saga. It was all worth it in the end to get these early Temtem impressions though, even if I lost a few strands of hair in the process.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Temtem is destined to become a gigantic hit, you can mark my words. It’s not because it oozes originality or showcases high production values – no, this is an educated guess based on the visible excitement surrounding the imminent release of a true Pokémon MMO game, minus the Pokémon. And no, Pokémon Go doesn’t entirely fit into the desired MMO pattern.

Let’s not sugarcoat it, Temtem is ostensibly inspired by Nintendo’s franchise and barely manages to play it safe as to avoid a cease and desist letter from the fine folks at Nintendo. Because you’re not catching Pokémon here; instead, you’re taming Temtem. You see, you’re not a trainer, you’re a tamer, which makes a whole world of difference, doesn’t it?

But that’s beyond the point, and the point in question here is that Temtem is the game that everyone wishes for a long time. It’s not just another Pokémon clone, it’s a Pokémon MMO and a labor of love by a group of developers who were clever enough to see the opportunity and grab it by the… Pokéballs.

Temtem Impressions Character Creation

Gotta Tame ’Em All | Temtem Preview

Your first step in Temtem is the creation of your in-game avatar, the tamer that you will control. You can choose between male or female, skin color, and one of four idle poses. Next up is the choice of face and hair, followed by top, bottom, and backpack. Don’t expect any sort of groundbreaking character creation system, as there is no option to tweak advanced features such as body parts or add tattoos, but all things considered, it’s a very decent and straight to the point creator. Besides, it gives you a first insight into the awfully cute graphics that power the world of Temtem. It’s a mix between Pokémon Sword and Shield and The Sims 4, albeit in a cleaner, less detailed yet very colorful art style.

Personally, I love it to bits. The interiors are exceptionally cozy and neatly designed, with your standard appliances livening up the place: the flat-screen TV, the comfy sofa, and the kitchen cabinets look very inviting. However, someone should tell aunt Aina not to leave that huge kitchen knife lying around, there are reckless kids running around everywhere, barging into other people’s homes without warning.

Thankfully, the house equipment isn’t there just to look pretty; Temtem comes with a full housing system, allowing you to buy your house at Atoll Row and give it the makeover that you wish for. Although I haven’t progressed enough to try this feature – I was far busier rebooting the game and crossing my fingers –, I can see this aspect becoming extremely popular among tamers everywhere. You can purchase furniture and place it wherever you want to, decorate your walls, and invite your friends over.

Outside, the lovely island of Deniz awaits us, one of the six floating isles that Temtem has for us to explore. Embrace this lush Mediterranean paradise with its sunny beaches, grass, and trees. It’s an idyllic place where water and wind Temtem proliferate, usually hiding deep within the tall grass, waiting for you to come by.

Temtem Impressions Battle Technique

The main character design and animation is as cute as can be, and the Temtem themselves are nothing to be ashamed of either. Early on, you’ll only find small and somewhat cute Temtem, but these will evolve into sophisticated creatures that demand respect, while remaining as your faithful companions in the journey to defeat the evil Team Roc… I mean, Clan Belsoto, who is trying to rule over the Archipelago.

While there is nothing sizable to complain in terms of visuals, I can’t say the same thing about the map design. I’m not very fond of the way that the game funnels you along a mostly linear path, destroying any genuine feeling of exploration that you might be looking for. As an MMO, it should offer more freedom and encourage you and your friends to go out exploring, discovering new and wondrous places at your own pace. Instead, you’re often asked to follow this road and dance to the tune of its makers, in an old-fashioned and arguable design. Besides, it dearly lacks a jump button.

To make myself perfectly clear, you do have the ability to drop off ledges to explore some otherwise inaccessible areas. However, the outcome is that you’re forced to run the same path again to return to your previous location, because you are unable to climb even the smallest ledge. This way, the world becomes narrow and constricted, a feeling that is heightened by the number of players that are traveling around almost in a single file fashion. Hopefully, the other islands offer more and vaster open areas to lessen this odd claustrophobic feel.

Temtem Impressions Tamers Get in Line

Apart from the scripted combats that make the storyline progress, Temtem has a fair share of random encounters. You’re peacefully traversing some tall grass when, suddenly, a hotheaded wild creature decides that it is a beautiful day for a brawl. If you think that it could make a nice addition to your squad, go ahead and use a TemCard to try and capture it.

Tamers can have up to six Temtem in your squad, but you can only use two at a time in battle. Your first tricky decision arrives early on, when you are invited to pick your Temtem among a selection of three: Crystle (Crystal type), Smazee (Melee type), and Houchic (Mental type). At a certain level, your Temtem evolves into a much more fearful creature. The TemPedia available in the game currently displays 141 Temtem, a very reasonable number for a new franchise.

Battles in Temtem may seem as straightforward as they come, with a natural order to creature types and how they affect one another, but there are some underlying tricks that give the upper hand to the best strategists. Combat is turn-based and mostly 2v2, with each Temtem having a set of four techniques to use against their opponents. You can attack or apply various other effects, with every technique costing a certain number of stamina points. While it may look shallow to the inattentive player, there are features such as technique holds and synergies that provide the battles with enough depth to hopefully keep them engrossing for a long time, especially in the competitive scene.

Temtem Impressions Tucan Play That Game

By the end of the four hours of the first stress test, Temtem was finally stable, and I was enjoying my time capturing wild creatures and exploring new parts of the map. Suddenly, the fun came to a halt as the servers were abrutply closed and every tamer was sent packing. It was fun while it lasted, and the substantial amount of stress and frustration was entirely worth it.

With the Temtem Early Access release date set for January 21, 2020, the excitement for this game is peaking. After so many years, we may finally get a real Pokémon MMO; it may be coming under a different guise, but it brings the same amount of charm and crazy creatures as you would expect from such a game.

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Steadfast Pokemon Teased for Sword and Shield, Possible Gen 8 Leek

While you were sleeping, The Pokemon Company dropped a new tease for the next Pokemon games, Pokemon Sword and Shield. These came announced in a new and unique way. Fans were immediately off to solve the mystery, but the big question on everyone’s mind is “Who’s that Steadfast Pokemon?”

Whatever it is, it appeared on the official Pokemon Sword and Shield website over night. Both the North American and Japanese versions had what appeared to be a glitch. The viewer hovers over what appears to be a glitched out Pokemon of some sort. Then, the image bounces to another corner of the screen a couple times before finally staying still. Clicking it brings up a loading bar and the “cry” of a Rotom.

steadfast-pokemon-gen-8-swsh-tease

That’s when the screen pulls up their own version of a Pokedex entry, but it’s glitched out, covering some seemingly important words. What can be seen is the Pokemon is a Fighting-type, it weighs 257.9 lbs, and it carries the Ability called “Steadfast.” As a Steadfast Pokemon, the ability “increases the user’s Speed stat by one stage when flinched.”

Underneath, some of the Pokedex entry is covered in glitches, but parts can still be read. “Only — that have survived many battles can attain this —. When this Pokemon’s — —ers, it will retire from combat.” Another noteworthy point is that the Japanese website has a single extra bit of information: the last part of its name. This translates to the word “nite”, which many believe could be a pun on the word “knight” of some sort.

 

Could the Steadfast Pokemon hold a leek or a bone?

Fans immediately began to speculate at all hours of the night, but have narrowed the possibilities down to two options: Farfetch’d and Cubone.

Some people started looking at the middle part of the image and seeing a Cubone’s skull helmet, which could make sense. However, some fans noticed that turning the image on its side could be an option. This makes it look like a squat duck holding a green shield and some sort of lance or sword.

steadfast-pokemon-gen-8-swsh-tease-glitch

This brings attention to the infamous “Affleck leak.” The notorious 4chan post from earlier this year that was spot on for what it predicted. While still just a rumor, it is held in high regard in the Pokemon community. In the rumor, the post mentions a Galarian Farfetch’d evolution named Sirfetch’d. This would line up with the naming motif and with it being a knight and fit the bill (sorry, not sorry).

As for the Japanese name including “nite”, Farfetch’d is not named that in the Japanese version of the games. In fact, its Japanese name is “Kamonegi.” This is an abbreviation of the proverb “a duck comes bearing green onions.” This would mean that whatever it evolves into could have a similar naming scheme or be different entirely.

While we wait for the eventual unveiling of this mystery Pokemon, check out our little history on Team Rocket and why they were added to Pokemon Go recently. Maybe it’s just Missingno and we’re all crazy for thinking otherwise.

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The Best Fighting Games On Nintendo Switch That Aren’t Smash Bros.

While the Nintendo Switch’s small JoyCons weren’t exactly made for those that appreciate fighting games, there’s no question that the system can hold its own in the arena. Get yourself a pair of Pro Controllers and set them up for the following recommended games and we assure you that you’ll have a great time getting into a brawling mood.

No, the list isn’t about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Obviously that’s a recommended favorite, but there are so many other fighting games that are worth checking out as well, as we’ve noted below.

So load up on a bigger memory card and get those fighting thumbs ready, because things are about to get rather competitive up in this piece.

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Bandai Namco)

After taking our breath away on other platforms, we figured it would just be a matter of time before Goku, Vegeta and the rest of the Dragon Ball Z gang would arrive on the Nintendo Switch in the form of FighterZ.

Produced by the team at Arc System Works, FighterZ looks like an anime universe brought to life. It brings several of the DBZ characters to the 2D fighting realm in the best way possible. You’ve got your combos, your super moves, your counters and, of course, those super-dramatic moves where a planet gets cut in half after you hurl someone into it.

Dragon Ball FIghterZ

What’s more, the game runs impressively on the Switch, whether in handheld mode or playing on the big-screen. The animation is truly impressive, and the speed of the game is second to none when it comes to dialing in the big hits. And the gameplay is as smooth as ever, offering something for both newcomers and veterans alike.

Even if you’re not really that heavily into anime, you owe it to yourself to check out FighterZ. It’s a brawler’s dream come true.

Mortal Kombat 11 (WB Games)

So there is one rather big hang-up that you’ll have to accept with Mortal Kombat 11 on the Nintendo Switch – this sucker takes up a lot of space. The game runs at around 15GB install with the physical version, via a day one patch. And if you go digital, it’ll crank up to around the 22GB range, maybe even higher.

Now, if you have a memory card that can sufficiently handle that kind of range, and you don’t mind waiting a while for the download to drop into place, then you’re in for a hell of a port. Mortal Kombat 11 actually feels quite good on the Nintendo Switch, particularly with the Pro Controller. That said, portable mode isn’t too shabby either, if it’s the only option you have on the table.

Now, visually, the game does pale in comparison to its Xbox One/PS4 brethren, but the devs still managed to get it running smoothly enough that most players don’t mind. What’s more, like Mortal Kombat II on the SNES, MK11 is brimming with all kinds of sweet carnage. That includes limbs flying off, bodies exploding and so, so much more. It’s all here, fans.

Along with a satisfying story mode, Mortal Kombat 11 also features a balanced Towers mode to test your might and multiplayer options for those that want to mix it up with others. Local versus is your best bet, but that’s a good deal anyway considering friends want to come over and punch your head off.

Even with its technical limitations, Mortal Kombat 11 holds its own – and more – on the Switch. Now if we can just get a port of Injustice 2

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (Capcom)

At one point in time, it looked like the best way to get Street Fighter action on the Nintendo Switch was to pick up a copy of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. And while that’s not a bad option to have, it doesn’t really do much for those looking for variety. Fortunately, the 30th Anniversary Collection easily picks up where the debut effort left off.

That’s because, for a mere $30, you get a pretty complete package of the Street Fighter saga, going from the original game that started it all in 1987 (before Street Fighter II four years later) to the awesome Street Fighter III: Third Strike, considered by many to be one of the best in the series. The ports of all these games are done incredibly well, and the fighting action feels as smooth as it ever has, right down to the counter moves and getting those occasional combos. Again, a Pro Controller is your best bet here, but it feels so nice.

On top of that, you can also take part in online fighting with some of the key titles, like Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting and Street Fighter Alpha 3. It’s a slight disappointment that online isn’t offered across the board, but it allows Capcom to focus on delivering top-tier performance in the games that really matter. And, yes, Third Strike has that support as well.

Also included in this game is a sweet Museum Mode, where you can delve into the history of Street Fighter. It’s mesmerizing just how stacked this is, and it’ll keep you busy while you wait to jump into your next match.

While Ultra Street Fighter II is a good game, this Collection delivers more than its weight in gold. Well worth it for the $30 drop.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle (Arc System Works)

Although Dragon Ball FighterZ has more than enough of a recommendation on the Arc System Works front, we dare not forget about the game that put them on the map to begin with on the Switch – BlazBlue. In Cross Tag Battle, you’ll pair up with a number of characters across various fighting games in one huge mishmash of fists, kicks and supers. And it’s unbelievable, to say the least.

Featuring characters from the respective Persona, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY (as well as BlazBlue, obviously), Cross Tag Battle delivers an unprecedented roster of characters to choose from, as well as the option to expand upon it with several characters through downloadable content. It never hurts to see what all is out there, so you can master certain ones and deliver a true butt whooping online.

The game features stellar visuals that match the quality of FighterZ in terms of hand-drawn elegance and beautiful backgrounds. For that matter, the game also features a rockin’ soundtrack that will be right at home for those of you that love any of the franchises above. But it’s the gameplay that will truly hook you, with a 2 vs. 2 gameplay system that rivals the greatness of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. It has its own special tricks that you certainly shouldn’t miss.

There’s also an array of spectacular modes to choose from, which will keep you busy in both single player and against others in multiplayer. It’s impressively stacked, and you won’t have to sacrifice too much of your memory card if you take the digital route. (Of course, physical game fans will want to pick this up and add it to their growing collection.)

While one Arc System Works party with FighterZ may be enough for some, we recommend adding BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle to the party. If only because there’s more than enough 2D fighting goodness to go around, so why limit it to just one selection?

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (SNK)

Okay, we know. This isn’t exactly the most serious SNK fighting game out there, but there’s enough variety for that with the Arcade Archives releases, as you can load up on Samurai Shodown and Garou: Mark of the Wolves for less than a 20 spot. That said, SNK Heroines does deserve some commendation, mainly because of the two things it manages to do pretty well.

The first is delivering fan service. Sure, it takes a Dead or Alive route to do so, but that’s proven popular with Koei Tecmo in the past, so why shouldn’t SNK give it a try? The selection of female characters is rather startling, and their outfits would give Kasumi and company a run for their money. It doesn’t necessarily over-sexualize either, though it definitely doesn’t hold back on the cheesecake. There’s a reason it has a Teen rating.

snk heroines

As for the second thing, it just takes the fighting ball and rolls with it when it comes to entertainment. It’s a bit on the silly side, but the combo system works reasonably well; and the super moves are a blast to pull off. Plus, the game looks pretty good for a 3D SNK brawler, though obviously Samurai Shodown will take the throne whenever it arrives for the platform later this year.

While SNK Heroines may not be a favorite choice, it still gets thumbs up for those that are looking for something just outside of the norm.

Blade Strangers (Nicalis)

Although it’s not the most original crossover title out there, Blade Strangers has that certain appeal that some fans will love. Plus, you really won’t find a fighting game with a more diverse cast than this. We’re talking a buffed up Shovel Knight taking on the kid from The Binding of Isaac Plus, folks.

The game features a traditional 2D design that, while not as detailed as Arc System Works’ games, still looks very well done. And the 3D backgrounds are pretty nicely rendered to boot, so you actually feel like you’re battling in a living, breathing world.

On top of that, the control system is well handled here. If you’re approaching for the first time, the game will help you learn about what makes it tick, so you can adapt to its systems and get into the fight. And if you’re a veteran, you can figure things out rather quickly, so you can master your terrain.

Blade Strangers also packs on the fun as far as multiplayer is concerned, with lots of online match-ups that run relatively well for the Switch.

It’s not the most commendable fighting game out there, but Blade Strangers is a lot of fun. And it’s a good one-two punch to go alongside the Puzzle Fighter II-esque Crystal Crisis that’s set to drop in just a few days. Now fight!

ARMS (Nintendo)

While most folks would recommend Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the king of the fighting games for the Switch (and rightfully so), we have to give a nod to ARMS, a game that launched shortly after the system’s release. And while it’s a bit unexpected when it comes to its extendable limbs and deeper strategy, it’s a lot more fun than we expected it to be.

In the game, you choose from a number of characters that let their hands do the talking; and then drop into a 3D arena where you can try to knock them out before they get the chance to. There’s some cool stuff here, including selecting which limbs you want to go with, each with their own special abilities. What’s more, some of the characters provide their own extra spark as well, keeping things interesting with each brawl.

It’s a blast to play online. And what’s more, it’s a local favorite, too. And it actually makes proper use of the JoyCons in versus play, though, again, stick with a Pro Controller if you can.

Check out the trailer above to give yourself a good idea of just how ARMS works. We’d certainly be down for a sequel – provided they don’t call it something weird. Like LEGS or something. ELBOWS?

Pokken Tournament DX (Nintendo)

You didn’t really think we were going to leave the Pokemon out of this fight, did you? Did you? Silly trainers. Pokken Tournament left quite an impact over on the Wii U, so it only makes sense that the game do so on the Nintendo Switch as well. Nintendo, alongside the folks at Bandai Namco, really gave this the proper treatment it deserved. As a result, fans are sure to love it – if they can stop playing Pokémon Let’s Go for a good few minutes.

In the game, you’ll choose from a number of Pokémon characters and then engage in battle. A neat little system lets you fight between 2D and 3D planes, switching between them quite effectively as you execute special moves and try to win each fight. 

The controls are relatively easy to use, and take some time to truly master. So it’s got that perfect amount of balance that feels right at home, even to newcomers. As for full-blown Pokémon fans, there’s some great service here that you’re going to really dig.

Throw in a fun story mode (with a somewhat annoying announcer – just quiet down for a few, lady) and some great online versus action, and you’ve got a winner that will please both newbies and masters alike. We’d definitely take a follow-up to this one if we were given the chance.

Other Recommendations

Here are some quick recommendations you shouldn’t miss out on:

Pocket Rumble– a cool little $10 Game Boy-esque fighting game with fun characters and simple controls. A good game for kids and non-fighting masters to check out.

Samurai Shodown- the classic SNK game lives on via the Arcade Archives collection- and it’s a good warm-up for the new game coming in just a few months.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves– another SNK title that’s well worth your time, especially considering you get an all-out classic for just $8.

Nidhogg 2- an oddball fencing game, but one filled with wonderful tactics and fun local versus action. Plus, did we mention it’s weird? Because it’s damn weird.

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Pokemon Go is Hosting a Detective Pikachu Tie-in Event

If you thought Niantic was going to let an opportunity like the release of a Pokemon movie go without mention then you may not be paying attention to the world of online gaming enough. Pokemon Go is Hosting a Detective Pikachu tie-in event to celebrate the release of the film. Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th and running until May 17th a number of different things will be taking place in Pokemon Go and for the sake of simplicity here they are listed below.

Double XP on All Pokemon Caught in the Wild
Increased Encounters with Prominent Pokemon from the Movie; Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Psyduck, Aipom, and Snubbull.
Detective Pikachu Photobomb in Snapshot Photos leading to being able to catch Detective Pikachu
Detective Pikachu Inspired Raids
Detective Pikachu Inspired Field Research
Detective Pikachu Themed Shirt
Detective Pikachu Themed Hat

 

As of the time of writing this, we don’t know any details like how often you’ll be able to catch Detective Pikachu, who will be in these raids, or what the field research will entail. We also know that there will be a chance to see a shiny Aipom in the wild. Sadly Ryan Reynolds won’t be voicing Pikachu. But it would be so cool if he did. While the event begins tomorrow if you want to see the movie you’ll have to wait until the end of the week, it releases in theaters on May 10th in most countries around the world.

 

Source: Pokemon Official Site

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Pokemon-Like Temtem Alpha Test Begins

Over this summer Temtem was all the rage, everyone was talking about it thanks to their Kickstarter campaign. Now the team is proud to announce that the Temtem alpha test has started today. For the first time, fans will get to dive into the world of Temtem to catch creatures and make friends.

If you are expecting to take part in the Alpha and haven’t received a key yet, don’t worry. They’re sending them out in batches. Which batch you fall into is based on when you backed them on Kickstarter. Those who backed them first get first access.

The announcement that the game is now in alpha was made on Kickstarter where they also offer a few tips. Temtem is a challenging game and they encourage you to use items if you’re in trouble. There are no tutorials in the game yet but the menu opens using tab and you can interact with NPCs and signs using F. They’re also asking that if you see a bug you report it on the forums. Only a few of the Luma are available in the game right now; Paharo evo-line, Umishi evo-line, Kaku evo-line, Pigepic and Barnshe.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be in the Alpha and you don’t have a friend with a spare key you’ll still be able to see the game in action on Twitch and Youtube as streamers and content creators get in.

The developers recommend you check out their Discord server or Twitter to get the latest news about batches and how everything is going.

There isn’t any word yet on how long the Alpha will continue for. But, the devs have said that if you have an Alpha key that only grants you access to the Alpha and once they move into Early Access you’ll no longer be able to play the game.

 

Source: Kickstarter

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Pokemon Let’s Go: Hands On At EGLX!

The Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo opened its doors once more in Toronto, Canada last weekend and with it Nintendo of Canada booted up its consoles for eager players looking to get hands on with their upcoming major releases. Ahead of its launch on November 16th, I got an opportunity at EGLX to get hands on with Pokemon Let’s Go: Pikachu, one of two versions of the upcoming Nintendo Switch game. While it’s sister-game, Let’s Go Eevee, features the titular evolutionary fox, Let’s Go Pikachu prominently features the series defacto mascot as the player’s companion in their journey through familiar fields.

Returning to the Kanto region, Pokemon Let’s Go will feature a similar journey to the one found in the original duology of games, Red and Blue. In my hands-on time with the demo, players were restricted to the Viridian Forest, one of the game’s first gauntlets prior to the major Gym circuit. While the layout and skeleton did feel the same, Viridian has long since seen not just a graphical face lift, but a smoother transition into a wide field of Pokemon diversity. In my brief playtime I encountered not only the familiar Caterpie and Weedle enemies, but also found Rattata, Nidoran and Jigglypuff sprinkled throughout the area.

These Pokemon practically leap off of the screen with the Swtich’s small yet powerful hardware. As with most games I’ve played before on the system, no matter how bright the background or powerful the color palette, each Pokemon I encountered took center stage as they darted through the wild underbrush. That’s right, wild Pokemon are now present on the overworld in lieu of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest’s visible enemy encounters, allowing you to target specific pocket monsters or avoid ones you’d rather not face. That’s not to say that they’re simply passive creatures; if necessary they will engage and charge you if you’re not careful. Fighting the wilderness and trainers simply doesn’t feel as exhausting as it has in past entries.

Pokemon Let's Go

Here I found is where the direction that Nintendo has taken the franchise has met seamlessly with the traditional pacing of what Game Freak has laid before. The Battle System will be instantly familiar to veterans of the franchise, featuring the same 4-move turn-based combat the series is known for. New moves have been injected, however, as alongside Thunder Shock, Tail Whip and Growl my Pika-partner took flight with balloons and dive-bombed its enemy with gusto. It’s impossibly difficult to utterly revamp such a celebrated and fundamental game mechanic, so instead Let’s Go has taken a distinctly different route in invigorating the series.

Unlike past iterations, PLG has taken queues from Niantic’s hit mobile release, Pokemon Go, and has dynamically changed encountering and capturing Wild Pokemon. Whereas installments have repeated the Trainer Battle System players are familiar with, Pokemon Let’s Go instead pits you against Wild Pokemon alone with nothing but a Poke Ball and your sharp reflexes. Capturing Pokemon now requires you to track their movement across the screen and time your movements to avoid their deflecting techniques. Timing your throws with the shrinking targeting reticle will also increase the efficacy of your capture; the smaller the circle, the greater chance your wild target will stay in that little ball.

Capturing Pokemon has also been gamified to a greater extent than it has in the past. Much like Pokemon Go, capturing repeated species of the same creature rewards a multi-capture bonus. Wild Pokemon now also come in a variety of sizes, visually alerting you if one is smaller or much larger than average. Noticing these at the booth, I inquired with the Nintendo staff if these had any particular importance, but I was told that these were purely cosmetic and did not directly affect statistics or gameplay. To quote the attendant at the Nintendo Booth, “Some people just like to have a large Rattata!”

Pokemon Let’s Go

The biggest addition to the Let’s Go line is of course your companion Pokemon. Displaying and promoting the bond between critter and Trainer is the focus of these games, making their intent known every step of the way. Returning from it’s celebrated inclusion in HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokemon will now follow you in the overworld. While the titular duo will ride on your avatar’s shoulders, other Poke-members of your party can follow behind your character as you adventure throughout the world. While only the basic Kanto starter Pokemon were available to demo in such a regard, the present Nintendo Employees did confirm that every Pocket Monster will be available to follow your character on your journey.

Customization and interaction has also been reinforced with distinct importance. You can, at any time, play with your Pikachu! During my demo time I got up close and personal with my shocking murine in the interaction system originally released with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Picking up Razz Berries and other items found throughout the world, Pikachu and Eevee can be fed and played with, responding to player interactions and feedback intelligently. In scratching Pikachu I discovered he loved head pats and ear-scritches, but nose boops were enough to threaten me with an electric shock.

In my demo my little partner was wearing a costume very similar to my trainer avatar, sporting a smart baseball cap and jacket. Across from me a young couple playing their game remarked and gushed over a similar outfit that their Eevee was dolled up in and the group of us appreciated these light touches. In talking to my Nintendo Rep she eagerly confirmed that this was a feature of the game, and that more costumes could be unlocked as players delved deeper and deeper into Kanto. Part of the charm, she remarked, was that Nintendo wanted characters to develop a special bond with their chosen partner as the game progressed. Costuming is intended to be wide and dynamic, letting players dress up their partner however they wish, whenever they wish.

Pokemon Let’s Go

As a long time player of the franchise, there was one question on my mind throughout. My first venture in the series was Pokemon Yellow, a special expanded edition of the original releases that saw Pikachu as your starter Pokemon whom followed you in a manner similar to that of Pokemon Let’s Go. However, much to my chagrin even in my adult years, Pikachu could never be evolved meaning that you either had a constantly underpowered member of your team or your companion was banished to Bill’s PC forever. I did ask if Pikachu and Eevee could evolve in Pokemon Let’s Go, but my representative simply didn’t have an answer for me. At the first opportunity we both jumped on the Booth Manager who deflected the question initially, but later admitted it was an answer he didn’t have either.

Controlling the game admittedly felt incredibly satisfying. While demoing Pokemon Let’s Go, the Nintendo booth was equipped with the Poke Ball Plus controllers, a three buttoned motion controller included with the deluxe edition of the games. Movement and menu selection was controlled with the central depressable control stick, while a button was located on the top red section of the ball to act as a cancel button. Controlling the game in this manner felt like a leap from the anime into reality, even with the twitchy weightlessness the control stick possessed. Motion controls felt just as responsive, either slinging Poke Balls with a flick of the wrist or hurling them with a hat-backwards-Ash-Ketchum-toss. Both were exceptionally responsive in the capturing segments, and the Plus controller possesses just enough to work for Trainer Combat.

Let’s Go plays just as well with a standard Switch Joy-Con, fully capable of the same motion controls and still feeling as solid in your hand as the Plus. I did ask about portability during my time, wondering how players were expected to go about this when the Switch was undocked. My representative confirmed for me that motion controls were indeed optional, even when docked, allowing players to be as interactive with the game as they want.

I also asked what the depth of the game was: would the Kanto region be the only realm to explore with our new partners? While my representative did confirm that Kanto was the main focus, I received multiple contradictory answers on if it was the only limit to the game. Despite being told that Kanto was all that was intended to be included, she later recanted and said that future expansions were possible depending on sales figures for the sister games.

Pokemon Let’s Go

With time under my belt, I’m fully confident that Pokemon Let’s Go will be a wonderful addition to an already incredibly strong franchise. Everything completely flows together to fulfill the ideal Trainer fantasy, from the bond of your partner to the feeling of encountering Pokemon in the wild. It injects just enough life to make the slog that is the Viridian Forest a welcome place to return to and re-experience on brand new hardware. I for one am deeply anticipating the rest of the game, to live in the Pokemon World with a better appreciated player fantasy. For now, I wait with bated breath for its release on November 16th.

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