Detective Pikachu Returns on the Nintendo Switch is a delightful continuation of the saga that began on the Nintendo 3DS. The game, developed by Nintendo, brings back the electrifying charm of the coffee-loving Pikachu and his partner, Tim Goodman. The duo’s return to Ryme City promises a blend of mystery, humour, and unexpected twists that fans of the original will undoubtedly appreciate. The game’s release has been highly anticipated, especially given the success of its predecessor and the 2019 movie adaptation. The world of Pokémon has always been vast and intriguing, but Detective Pikachu Returns offers a unique perspective. Instead of battles and gym challenges, players are thrust into a narrative-driven experience focusing on investigation, deduction, and interaction with humans and Pokémon. The shift from traditional Pokémon gameplay to a detective narrative is refreshing and engaging.
With its enhanced capabilities, the Switch provides an ideal platform for this sequel. The graphics are sharper, the sound is more prosperous, and the overall experience feels more immersive. The improvements are immediately noticeable for those who have played the original on the 3DS. However, for newcomers, Detective Pikachu Returns serves as a perfect entry point into this spin-off series.
While the game retains its core mechanics from the original, several new features and enhancements make the gameplay experience even more enjoyable. The puzzles are more intricate, the dialogues are wittier, and the story is packed with even more unexpected twists and turns. The game successfully balances its appeal to both younger audiences and longtime Pokémon fans.
Setting and Story
Ryme City, the game’s primary setting, is a bustling metropolis where humans and Pokémon coexist harmoniously. The game begins with a brief recap of the events of the original Detective Pikachu, setting the stage for the new adventures that lie ahead. Tim Goodman and Pikachu are celebrated for their past achievements, but their peace is short-lived. A mysterious Pokémon disrupts an event, reigniting the tensions between humans and Pokémon in Ryme City.
The narrative dives deep into the complexities of human-Pokémon relationships. Tim and Pikachu embark on a journey to solve interconnected cases, from tracking down a stolen gem to locating a missing professor. Along the way, they encounter familiar faces and new characters, each adding depth to the story. The game masterfully weaves humour, suspense, and emotion, keeping players engaged from start to finish.
One of the standout features of the story is its unpredictability. When players think they have figured out the mystery, a new twist challenges their deductions. The game also does an excellent job of portraying the Pokémon world in a familiar and fresh way. The interactions between Pokémon, their roles in society, and their relationships with humans are explored in depth, providing a richer understanding of the Pokémon universe.
Detective Pikachu, with his deep voice and love for coffee, remains the star of the show. His witty remarks, insightful deductions, and dynamic with Tim Goodman are the heart and soul of the narrative. The game brilliantly captures the essence of the Pokémon world while delivering an entertaining and thought-provoking story.
Gameplay and Mechanics
At its core, Detective Pikachu Returns is a graphic adventure game. Players must interact with characters, gather clues, and solve puzzles to progress the story. The gameplay mechanics are straightforward, making it accessible to players of all ages. However, the game does offer challenges that will test the deductive skills of even seasoned players.
The interrogation sequences are a highlight. Players must question both humans and Pokémon to gather information. Pikachu’s ability to communicate with other Pokémon adds an extra layer of depth to these interactions. The game also introduces new mechanics, such as using specific Pokémon abilities to aid in investigations. For instance, a Growlithe might help track a scent, while a Darmanitan could be used to break obstacles.
The detective notebook is an essential tool in the game. It automatically records all the information gathered, helping players keep track of clues and deduce answers. The interactive deduction phase requires players to choose from multiple options based on collected evidence. While some answers may seem obvious, others require careful consideration and logical reasoning.
The game also incorporates various mini-games and puzzles to break the monotony of investigations—these range from simple pattern recognition tasks to more complex logic puzzles. The variety ensures that players are always engaged and challenged. The game’s pacing is well-balanced, ensuring players never feel overwhelmed or bored.
Detective Pikachu Returns introduces a multiplayer mode, allowing players to team up and solve cases together. This cooperative mode adds a new dimension to the gameplay, as players must collaborate and share clues to crack the case. The multiplayer mode is competitive and collaborative, with players racing to gather evidence while working together to solve the overarching mystery.
The game also offers various challenges and side quests to tackle with friends, ranging from timed investigations to Pokémon trivia quizzes. The multiplayer mode is seamlessly integrated into the main game, allowing players to jump in and out of cooperative play without disrupting the main narrative.
In terms of replayability, Detective Pikachu Returns offers multiple endings based on players’ choices throughout the game. This encourages players to revisit the game and explore different paths, adding to the game’s longevity. Additionally, the game features collectibles and hidden secrets that players can uncover, further enhancing the replay value.
While the main story provides a satisfying and complete experience, the additional multiplayer challenges and alternate endings ensure that players have reasons to return to Ryme City long after the credits roll.
Graphics and Sound
The Nintendo Switch’s capabilities are fully utilized in Detective Pikachu Returns. The graphics are a significant step from the original, with detailed character models, vibrant environments, and smooth animations. Ryme City comes to life with bustling streets, dynamic weather effects, and lively Pokémon interactions.
The Pokémon designs are particularly noteworthy. Each Pokémon is rendered with care, capturing their unique personalities and characteristics. The animations are fluid, making the Pokémon feel alive and real. While not as detailed as the Pokémon, the human characters are well-designed and fit seamlessly into the world.
The sound design is equally impressive. The game features a captivating soundtrack that perfectly complements the mood of each scene. From the upbeat tunes of Ryme City’s streets to the suspenseful melodies of a mystery unfolding, the music is always on point. The acting, especially Pikachu’s deep and charismatic voice, adds depth to the characters and enhances the overall narrative experience.
The game also boasts impressive sound effects. The cries of Pokémon, the ambient noises of the city, and the subtle sound cues during investigations all contribute to the game’s immersive atmosphere. The attention to detail in graphics and sound ensures that players are fully engrossed in Detective Pikachu Returns.
Detective Pikachu Returns is a worthy successor to the original. It builds upon the foundations laid by its predecessor while introducing new mechanics, a deeper story, and enhanced graphics and sound. The game offers a unique blend of mystery, humour, and Pokémon charm that will appeal to both longtime fans and newcomers.
The narrative is engaging, with unexpected twists and turns that keep players on their toes. The gameplay, while straightforward, offers enough challenges to keep players engaged. The addition of multiplayer and the focus on replayability ensures the game provides hours of entertainment.
While the game does cater to a younger audience with its simplicity, it doesn’t shy away from offering depth and complexity. The portrayal of the Pokémon world, the interactions between humans and Pokémon, and the overarching theme of coexistence are all explored in depth. The game strikes a perfect balance between being accessible and offering depth.
In conclusion, Detective Pikachu Returns is a must-play for any Pokémon fan. It offers a fresh perspective on the Pokémon world, a captivating story, and hours of gameplay. Whether you’re a seasoned detective or a rookie investigator, Ryme City awaits your arrival.
We prepared this review with a digital copy of Detective Pikachu Returns for the Nintendo Switch version provided by Nintendo PR.