A good game to have a cup of coffee with.
I was not sure what to expect when I first signed up to take on Detective Pikachu. Developed by Creatures Inc., it’s a totally different type of Pokemon game, shifting to more of a point-and-click style of gameplay. Getting used to Detective Pikachu takes time but is worthwhile. The occasional tedium aside, Detective Pikachu is a charming, fun game that is uniquely different than any other Pokemon game before it -- and that’s a good thing.
Detective Pikachu casts you as Tim Goodman, a teenager who travels to Ryme City in search of his father, who has gone missing. Upon arrival, he encounters his father’s Pikachu, now rocking a detective hat while sounding suspiciously like Danny Devito. Together, they set off to find clues that hopefully lead to Tim’s father’s whereabouts, as well as clues to the mysterious goings-on in Ryme City.
One thing that becomes clear within the first half hour or so is that the pacing and character interactions within the story are very well done. Tim and Pikachu are a good pairing, and compliment one another. I always liked listening to their interactions as they looked for clues and tried to solve the mystery. Other key characters you meet are memorable as well, forming a strong narrative. Without spoiling the ending, I was a bit disappointed with how everything turned out. But much like Detective Pikachu’s signature quote, I guess it can’t be helped.
Gameplay-wise, Detective Pikachu is relatively simple to get into: you go around a linear area talking to various people and Pokemon. Using their answers, you and Pikachu solve questions in order to advance to the next area or problem. The problems that are presented aren't difficult to solve, to the point where they often felt tedious. Thankfully, the complexity increases as the story advances, which upped the interaction and challenge.
Detective Pikachu’s presentation is another strong suit, with the Pokemon charm well apparent just a few minutes in. The game looks very nice, with the backgrounds and characters looking bright and detailed. Human characters don't exactly look like ones you'd see in the main Pokemon games, more resembling characters you'd see in a CGI movie, but I like that as it's something different. As you solve mysteries, Tim provides hand-drawn clues that also look really good. While you can only move around in linear paths in Detective Pikachu, it still manages to do a good job in capturing the feel of a big city.
Detective Pikachu is a solid, unique spinoff in the Pokemon series that stands out from other spinoffs. It’s a relatively easy point-and-click adventure game that won’t take much to complete in a few sittings. But some aspects of the gameplay do get clever, and the story does resonate. It’s nothing revolutionary, but I can always appreciate a fun with a fun feel and colorful aesthetic.