Typing your way to be a Pokémon master, sort of…
If you’ve ever played Typing of the Dead, you will have a fair idea of what Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure on Nintendo DS is about, because they both share a similar theme. The theme is that you have to type quickly to succeed (sorry, no Zombie Pokémon).
You start your journey by joining the Elite Typists’ Club, where you begin as a newbie typist and are charged with helping Professor Quentin Werty and assistant Paige Down (gotta love the names) to research the rare 403 Pokémon available in the game and capturing them in your typing ball. The Typing Balls are a special type of Pokéball that only gather information on Pokémon. All you have to do is quite simply type the name of the Pokémon to use the ball. It’s a fairly basic game, but is much easier if you know your Pokémon well as you can then type their names before the name is actually revealed on screen for better medals.
As you amble your way along a predetermined path in each of the levels, various Pokémon will jump out or approach you, and you have to input their names with the included Bluetooth keyboard to successfully “capture” them. The game begins with you having only to type one letter from their names to finish and earn points. Making a mistake or not being quick enough will result in points being deducted and the chances of earning an elusive gold medal slipping away. The aim of the game is to be as quick and accurate as possible when typing in the names of the Pokémon you encounter along the way.
The game allows you to explore the Z islands on your typing adventure with the Bluetooth keyboard and may begin quite easily with only one letter required to capture the Pokémon. But as you advance through the game, random Pokémon will jump out and try to distract you as you have to type full Pokémon names. Things become even more difficult as you are expected to type quicker and sometimes even without seeing the actual Pokémon at all, making it much easier to misspell names or accidentally hit a wrong key.
All the data that you gather is automatically recorded in your research notes which are easily available in your room. Sometimes you may find yourself having to type words other than Pokémon names in order to access more difficult Pokémon, such as Gengar who can be found behind a door. You’ll be rewarded with points for your talented typing skills and may even gain a bonus combo, which will provide you with extra points. Once you’ve completed each stage, you will need to reach certain criteria to progress further, such as a set number of points or medals to become a more advanced typist.
For the Pokémon fans out there, the selection of different Pokémon available to “capture” is quite varied, witha good selection of both rare and common types to find. However, their rarity is not really an issue in the game, as it is much more about how difficult their names are to type. Still, with 403 available, it will take a fair while to “catch ‘em all”.
Even if you’re not a Pokemon enthusiast, it’s worth noting that the included Bluetooth keyboard is really rather nice. The keyboard is slim and white, and is easy to type on with raised buttons. It is also able to connect with other Bluetooth devices, such as tablets, and is very simple to set up (although a quick search on the internet may be required as no instruction is given). The keyboard is a nice size and positively appropriate for smaller pinkies, but some adults (we know you’re out there) may find themselves accidentally knocking or pressing the wrong keys as they attempt to use their Typing Balls. I would have liked to see some kind of Pokémon branding on the keyboard as it’s aimed at a younger audience, but I guess the plain white look makes it appealing to adults who want to use it for important business-type stuff.
The keyboard requires two AAA batteries (which are included) to operate. One small issue I have is that there is no light to show that the keyboard is turned on, making it easy to leave on by mistake and difficult to tell when the batteries are flat (other than it not working any more). Included in the pack is also a stand for your DS/3DS, allowing you to place the unit at a comfortable angle whilst getting busy with the keyboard.
At the end of the day, does Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure actually teach you how to type? Well, not really. It doesn’t go into finger placement or offer any proper lessons as such. Generally though, it is a good introduction to the keyboard for the younger players, and may well be successful in increasing your typing speed. And it integrates this into a Pokémon game which, to be honest, I found quite amusing. There’s no deep storyline to immerse you in the experience, but the combination of the keyboard and the game was enjoyable.