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Detective Pikachu

Posted by GG Goblin On April - 10 - 2018


While the core Pokémon games are what the fans wait for and get excited about, every now and again The Pokémon Company will release a spin off title, generally trying their hand at something new within the Pokémon universe. After having some two years of life in Japan, Detective Pikachu finally made its way to our shores last month, injecting the investigative narrative gameplay of games such as Ace Attorney or even Professor Layton into the Pokémon world. While the genre direction of Detective Pikachu may be a little strange and difficult for long time fans to visualize, believe me when I say that the voice of the titular character is something to behold. Someone get that Pikachu a lozenge!


Maybe I have been naive over the years. Of course, I understand that the electric mouse Pikachu is a species and that there are many of them across the Pokémon world. But for some reason, I imagined them all to share the same squeaky voice of the Pikachu from the animated series. In the show, Pikachu communication is limited to the same helium-fueled word over and over again, but if it were to talk, then surely the words would share that high pitched tone.

It is funny that the voice of the main character would be the most stand out aspect of a game, but when the titular Detective Pikachu speaks, it really is quite mind-blowing. The voice is older, more gruff and far more fitting to a grizzled, hard-drinking gumshoe than could ever be expected. The hilarious thing is that the voice works, and before long it seems perfectly natural, which is handy as the player will be hearing this voice a lot.

Players don’t actually play as Detective Pikachu, but rather as young boy Tim. Tim is searching for his missing father, who happened to be a detective. Detective Pikachu is looking for his former detective partner after something happens and he finds himself alone in the city. They meet up quite quickly and it becomes apparent that Tim alone can understand and communicate with Detective Pikachu. They team up to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Tim’s dad across nine cases that Tim and Detective Pikachu are uniquely able to work on.


The gameplay in Detective Pikachu is fairly easy going. In a given area of investigation, the player will mostly find themselves questioning the bystanders and looking for clues. Tim is able to question the Humans, while Detective Pikachu questions any Pokémon that may be hanging around, thanks to their ability to communicate. Once all of the clues have been found, the player can access the case notes and make all of their deductions. There is no fail state here and if the player misses something, Pikachu will point it out.

There are some simple puzzles in the game, but nothing too taxing. There are also some Quick Time Events, requiring the pressing of buttons, but even here the player is given plenty of time and failing will just lead to a retry. This is perhaps the biggest flaw of Detective Pikachu, in that the game is incredibly easy and offers very little challenge. Realistically, the game is aimed at the younger audience, but perhaps some form of alternate difficulty level would have made the game more appealing to the wider Pokémon fan.

What really shines is the depiction of the Pokémon world. This is not a world where the player is collecting Pokémon and then forcing them to fight other Pokémon. The game takes place in a fairly regular city where everybody is going about their general day to day business, but it just happens that they have Pokémon at their sides, or that there are Pokémon just loitering in the streets. It is as if Pokémon had been injected into our world, something most Pokemon fans would likely wish for.

The animation in the game is impressive, from the environments and settings, through to the Pokémon and even the resident Humans. Detective Pikachu is a really good looking game, making it very easy to play and enjoy. Excellent, and often humorous cut scenes featuring the titular detective further establish Pikachu’s status as the star of the show, and a character that deserves yet more games in the future.


Detective Pikachu is an unusual game. From the new genre approach, to the gruff voice of the star Pikachu, Detective Pikachu sounds on paper to be a niche title that is simply cashing in on Pokémon popularity. However, the reality is a good looking game which is packed with charm. It may be easy, but spending time with Detective Pikachu on 3DS is well worth it, and hopefully this is only the first title that will see the grumpy electric mouse detective solving cases.




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