A Nod to Nostalgia: 'Pokèmon Quest'
Still Trying to Catch 'em All, 22 Years Later
If you were to ask me to embody my childhood nostalgia, 90 percent of it would be in the form of some kind of Pokémon game. I wouldn't even like to estimate the amount of time I have poured into the Pokémon series (something that I know many of you will empathise with). From the original Pokemon Red/Blue Gameboy Colour games, all the way through to Pokémon Go and everything in between, rarely have I been disappointed with a Pokémon game... (Okay, I may have had reservations about Pokémon Go's longevity, but I hear it still has a solid fan base behind it!). So I was fairly confident that I was going to enjoy The Pokémon Company's latest release—Pokémon Quest.
And it doesn't disappoint. My one warning to potential players is to go in with the mindset that it is a mobile game (despite being a very close port from the Switch version). If you expect a traditional Pokémon game then you are likely to be left feeling let down. As a handheld game, however, it shines. I'll be the first to admit that PQ is akin to other casual-simulation games as Portal Quest or Fallout Shelter—you semi-control some characters and upgrade them, as well as your home base, as you progress the game. Enemy levels gradually increase in difficulty and you grind for gear.
When put like that, it doesn't sound that entertaining, but the fact that it is a Pokémon game made by the actual team behind Pokémon is a big selling point. What's more, you don't feel like you're necessarily playing a Pokémon game, but there are enough elements to it that bring forth that nostalgic feeling from previous titles. The aim of the game is a simple and recognizable trope; start with a group of characters (Pokémon in this case), level them up by battling other characters (again, Pokémon) and collect loot and power-ups along the way. Easy, relaxing, and time-eating.
You start off travelling to an Island that is mostly made up of cube-shaped landscapes. (Think Minecraft but with softer, smoother edges.) Not only that, all the Pokémon are also made from various colours and sizes of block. The simplicity of the graphics evoke a feeling of endearment towards PQ, and the soundtrack is vibrant yet straightforward at the same time. You'll also recognise many familiar noises from earlier titles; Pokémon calls, for example, have hardly changed since the original games.
The only sticking point I am anticipating is that usually games of this ilk come with a price; quite literally. Yes, there are microtransactions. However, I can hand on heart say I have not felt the urge to pay any actual money into PQ, nor has the game prompted me to (other than showing me the shop during the tutorial). I've seen it before in so many mobile games—around halfway through the game's content you'll hit a "paywall" of sorts, cough up the cash, or expect a long, lengthy grind to get anywhere. but not with PQ; not yet at least. It would be silly to try and argue against the fact that this game is just a cash generator (like most mobile games these days), but that doesn't mean it's not fun and entertaining, easy to play and most importantly, full of Pokémon-themed nostalgia.