New to Pokémon? What you need to play after watching Detective Pikachu

While it isn’t the most traditional Pokémon gaming experience, Pokémon GO serves as an excellent entry point into what makes the franchise tick.

The mobile app became a headline-grabbing phenomena when it originally released back in 2016, and while buzz around it has since quietened down it still remains extremely popular. Using the app, you walk around the real world and encounter pokémon through augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows you to capture monsters using the touchscreen. 

It focuses on one of the key aims throughout the franchise, of collecting pokémon to fill your Pokedex, but, aside from shallow gym stop encounters, largely sidelines the idea of battling. It is, however, an addictive, charming starting point for familiarising yourself with some of the monsters and types.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! (Nintendo Switch)

The release of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! on Nintendo Switch last year is something Nintendo are very keen to remind everyone one of, ahead of Detective Pikachu’s release. The games are a remake of 1998 Game Boy title Pokémon Yellow, an enhanced version of the original Red and Blue titles which kickstarted the initial craze. 

While there are several changes to the gameplay, largely inspired by Pokémon GO’s catching mechanic, this is an excellent bridge from the mobile app to the franchise’s traditional experience. The original titles saw you weaken pokémon in the wild by damaging them in battles, but here it’s just a matter of flinging balls at them using the motion controls. There are, however, traditional battles against fellow trainers, so it acts as a hybrid experience. 

Similar to past Pokémon games, the two versions are practically identical, with the only difference being the different ‘partner Pokemon’ available at the outset and a few exclusive pokémon – to encourage trading with others. It doesn’t sacrifice the key depth of past Pokémon titles, but it’s a return to basics which strips out some of the baggage more recent entries have introduced. 

Check out our review of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! here.

Detective Pikachu (Nintendo 3DS) 

Once you’re familiar with Pokémon, it’s worth diving into some of the spin-offs which have emerged over the years. And there’s no place better to start than the detective game which the movie is a surprisingly close adaptation of.

You might miss the snarky tone of Ryan Reynolds, with this Pikachu sounding older and gruffer, but many of his traits, like his love of coffee, have carried over. It’s a surprisingly decent game too, with gameplay revolving around interviewing witnesses and solving puzzles while absorbing the vibrant world of Ryme City. 

It isn’t a traditional Pokémon experience, and didn’t really take off in Western territories, but there’ll undoubtedly be renewed interest in this title which should hopefully see it ported to platforms beyond the Nintendo 3DS.

Check out our review of Detective Pikachu here.

Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon (Nintendo 3DS) 

If you’re craving the top-tier Pokémon experience ahead of Sword and Shield later this year, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon represents the best entry currently available. As an upgraded version of the critically praised Sun and Moon, it’s essentially a refined remix of what’s come before. 

A lot of the pokémon in these games might not be familiar, as they draw from the entire roster of 807 critters, with added variations on each. Once you break them down into elemental types, however, they’re easy to remember and pick up. The game is a deceptively complex role-playing experience and the culmination of everything Pokémon has been building on over the decades, with a significant emphasis on the collecting and battling endgame once you’ve beaten the story.

While these games might sound daunting on the surface, they’re an accessible experience once you have prior knowledge of the world of Pokémon – with the game’s formula largely remaining the same despite having been tweaked and expanded over the past 20 years. Think you’re ready for the Pokémon big leagues? There’s no better place than Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. 

Check out our review of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon here.

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