Detective Pikachu was first revealed just a little over two years ago and only managed to see a Japanese release. After so long, many fans believed it was unlikely that it would ever be released in the west, but the most recent announcement of the title not only revealed that fans worldwide finally going to get it, but that it was going to include brand new content. As Detective Pikachu launched before the reveal of Sun and Moon, the addition of seventh generation Pokémon revealed that brand new story was going into this title as well as a physical release and a brand new giant amiibo. Now players around the world are waiting to be introduced into the newest setting of the Pokémon world, all while working alongside a sassy talking Pikachu.
The setting of Detective Pikachu is unlike any other Pokémon title, as it is the closest representation of the real world they’ve ever made. It’s a nice change of pace seeing a world where the emphasis isn’t on Pokémon training, but rather on everyday occurrences and of course mysteries to be solved. The story revolves around a boy named Tim who has a run in with the self-proclaimed Detective Pikachu and becomes his sidekick. Tim is looking for missing missing father and is fortunate enough to have Pikachu to help him try and solve his father’s whereabouts. While the two are on the case they will run across many other people, and Pokémon, who they must help to solve their own mysteries. It’s up to Pikachu and Tim to help solve the cases that present themselves and find out who they can trust along the way in order to uncover the many mysteries in Ryme City.
The main gameplay of Detective Pikachu follows many similar sleuth styled games. Players explore a set part of town finding clues, talking to those in the area and trying to piece things together. Having the great Detective Pikachu around is useful when needing to get information out of other Pokémon, while Tim does more of the heavy lifting and a good amount of talking to other people as well. Gathering clues scattered around town will help Pikachu connect the dots to move the case along to the next step, getting them closer to the resolution. During these investigation segments, Pikachu will occasionally quip in with a Pika Prompt which acts as a short scene. These can point to more clues or simply be an enjoyable moment between Pikachu and Tim or others in the surrounding area.
For older audiences looking forward to diving in, Detective Pikachu doesn’t look as though it will offer as much challenge as other sleuth-like titles such as Ace Attorney, but does appear to offer a great amount of enjoyment and entertaining story with a dash of some humor for older audiences. The youngest of audiences will even have the option to turn on easy mode, which will allow Pikachu to point them towards the next clue they need to find. The visuals, however, are hugely impressive looking for a 3DS title and will likely make the town even more fun to explore. As a bonus for those interested, the Detective Pikachu amiibo will allow players to view all the Pika Prompt scenes featured throughout the game, including any they might have missed the first time around.
While it still comes off as a bit of an odd choice for a spin off, it’s hard not to be interested in Detective Pikachu. The world is incredibly endearing and it simply looks like it will be fun for multiple age groups which is exactly what Pokémon typically aims for. While Pokémon does best in the core series, their spin-offs shine bright for being unique takes on a beloved series that almost always tend to lead them down a new path. Should Detective Pikachu do well we might even see more of them in the future, which could make for quite a wonderful side series that takes players down a fun new path of the series without an emphasis on battling. Player can look forward to diving into the unique world of Detective Pikachu for 3DS starting on March 23.