Jumping for (Nurse) joy — A recap of the 01/09/2020 Pokémon Direct

I’m quite certain most of us can agree that today was a good day to be a Pokémon fan, as today’s Pokémon Direct hit us with three very cool announcements.  The most prominent reveal was that of the Expansion Pass that will add 200+ Pokémon and two areas to your journey through the Galar Region.  Some gamers were a bit aggro about a duo of Pokémon games having paid DLC ($30 or otherwise), but I have confidence the content in said DLC will be worth the dinero.

But Sword & Shield were not the only stars of the show, as the Direct kicked off with the reveal of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX, which is a Switch remake of Pokémon Blue & Red Rescue Team.  This remake is due for release on March 6, and there is an eShop demo available now.

The Direct wrapped up with Pokémon Home being announced for a February release.  Home is a hub app that allows for transferring Pokémon from game to game, and that includes importing from Go to Sword & Shield.

We’re not even a full month into 2020, and it’s already looking like it’s gonna be a fantastic year for the mega-popular Pokémon franchise regardless of how controversial Sword & Shield seem to be.  From Switch games to mobile apps, 2020 will no doubt be a fun year to catch ’em all

Review of Pokémon Sword & Shield — Galar Calling

Since its 1996 debut, the international phenomenon in Pokémon has always seemed to cater towards the handheld-gaming crowd.  While there had been plenty of spin-offs and remakes for home consoles ranging from the N64 to the Wii U, having a portable system was a requirement if you wanted a piece of the core Pokémon lineup.  But thanks to the Switch, that prerequisite has been axed.  After three years of development, Pokémon Sword & Shield have arrived as the first main-series Pokémon games for home consoles.  I know these games have been the butt of backlash for several reasons, but it’s a still good duo of games on their own merit.  Let’s whip out our Pokédexes and converse about it.

Jolly ol’ Galar

The eighth generation of this heavily-revered franchise is set in the Galar region, which is based on the United Kingdom.  The plot is mostly the same as previous gens — You receive your starter Pokémon, learn the ropes of being a Trainer, and go on a quest to become the regional Pokémon champion.  Gym Battles are part of your journey again, except the lineup of Gym Leaders you face depends on which of these two versions you decide to play.

With tea or biscuits

Although features like Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves have been tossed and the Pokédex has been trimmed, there are plenty of new things to do in your latest Pokémon adventure.  You can take part in raids similar to those in Pokémon Go, have your Pokémon partake in special tasks, and even spend some time socializing and cooking meals with your Pokémon.  It should also be pointed out that the world now has a dynamic weather system, and the powerful critters can temporarily become larger in appearance thanks to Dynamax and Gigantamax forms.  Lastly, if you have some Pokémon from previous adventures that you’d like to bring along with you for this ride, you’ll be able to transfer them via the upcoming Pokémon Home service.

No Game, No Watch, Just Galar-y

Despite seeming like a very polarizing duo of games in its franchise, Pokémon Sword & Shield do what they can to provide you with more of the great Pokémon fun that’s been had since its late-90’s launch.  The new formula may seem a bit too streamlined to your liking at first; But once your adventure in the Galar region commences, you’ll have nothing to develop gripes about.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Add Autosaving

Gameinformer reported yesterday that the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield games will feature autosaving.

It will be the first time in the franchise’s 20-plus year history players don’t have to pause the game to save. During an interview with game director Shigeru Ohmori, it was only mentioned for the open-world Wild Area, but later clarified it can be used throughout the entire game

But for anyone who feels like that takes away from the Pokemon experience, it’s optional. You can decide for yourself which you’ll want to go with when the game releases next month on November 15.

Nintendo Direct Recap

Today’s Nintendo Direct was chock full of announcements and new details about many upcoming games and had a few surprises as well.

The switch version of Overwatch that’s been rumored for a few days was the first thing Nintendo showed and is releasing on October 15. The trailer also showed of motion controls for some of the heroes as well.

Nintendo then jumped straight into Luigi’s Mansion 3 details showing off some new levels of the haunted hotel and a new multiplayer mode which pits a team of Luigi’s and Gooigi’s against each other.

The first surprise release was a free-to-play Kirby game called Super Kirby Clash which will be available today. Also releasing today is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s third fighter Banjo Kazooie which was detailed in a separate video after the Direct.

The fourth DLC character was announced during the Direct though. He is Terry Bogard from the series Fatal Fury and will release in November. Along with the Terry announcement Nintendo revealed there will be more paid DLC characters coming to Ultimate after the fighter pass finishes.

Pokemon developer Game Freak also has a new game coming to Switch called Little Town Hero which is coming out October 16. It’s available for pre-purchase today and seems to be a turn based fighting game that draws inspiration from Pokemon.

Speaking of Pokemon, the stream went over 4 new details for Sword and Shield. Character customization returns but now will have more depth and options allowing you to accessorize and even choose makeup. You can also set up a Pokemon camp in the wild and play with your Pokemon, experiment with curry recipes and visit other trainers’ camps. Two new Pokemon were detailed; Polteageist is a teapot shaped ghost type and Cramorant is a duck-looking water-flying type.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nintendo announced a few new IP’s, revealed new remakes, detailed already announced ones, and introduced new SNES games coming to the online subscription. They also announced a smorgasbord of new ports including a classic Star Wars game, Doom 64 and an Assassin’s Creed collection including Rogue and Black Flag.

The final announcement was Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, a remake of the Wii title coming in 2020. For more details on that as well as things like a Tetris 99 update, The Witcher 3 port, and Animal Crossing New Horizons, check out the video below.

Review of Pokémon Snap — For those with the benefit of Pokémon photography

For those of you who don’t know me very well, something I really wanted when I was a child was my very own camera.  Not because I was jealous of those in my family who owned one, but because I developed a fascination with walking around and taking pictures of the beautiful pieces of nature that surrounded my home.  I know it sounds like I watched too much Discovery Kids when I was a lot younger, but this wish of mine was actually influenced by a very interesting spin-off in the heavily-revered Pokémon franchise.  Replace the turn-based strategy with on-rails photography, and you get Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64.

Gotta photograph ’em all

Released in the summer of 1999, Pokémon Snap tasks you with taking pictures of 63 Pokémon in their natural habitats.  You and your trusty ZERO-ONE vehicle travel through seven courses that make up Pokémon Island, and you must use your photography prowess and a handful of gadgets to make sure your pictures look as nice as possible.  Every time you complete a trip, you must choose which of your shots will be shown to Professor Oak, who gives your pictures ratings based on size, pose, and technique.  Even though the amount of courses seems small, the goals of timing your shots correctly and searching for all the included Pokémon will have you hooked.

This was the first game to have 3D Pokémon character models, and the team at HAL Laboratory did a fantastic job designing both those and the courses’ graphics.  There can be a little slowdown when things like smoke and fire cover a big portion of the screen, but it’s only temporary.  In terms of sound, the voice-acting for each character (Both human and Pokémon) is above average, and each course comes with very appropriate music.

Snap, crackle, Pika

This Pokémon game doesn’t have nearly as much replay value as the main series we know and love, but it’s a unique game within its franchise.  If for some reason you enjoy photography simulators, or if you simply enjoy on-rails games of any kind, Pokémon Snap will no doubt be a very charming addition to your N64 library.  It could definitely use a sequel on the Nintendo Switch, especially if it’d allow you to share your in-game photos directly to Facebook and Twitter.  If we can’t bring our cartridges to Blockbuster anymore to print out our photos, we may as well go the social media route.

Catch ‘Em with Giant Pokeballs- Pokemon Direct June 2019

It’s that time again- new Pokemon Direct, new information about Pokemon Sword and Shield! There are some big things coming, come find out! You can watch the full Direct here.

Galar Region

I’ll probably get lost in this region

The Galar Region is where the games take place. It is a vast region filled with wild areas for you to explore in-between cities. Professor Magnolia will be your guide through the region, and her research is in the Dynamax phenomenon, but more on that in a minute. Leon is the current champion of the region, and he earned his reputation as the best battler. His younger brother, Hop, is your rival because (surprise) you both start your journeys on the same day.

Leon is one fly guy, and a tough opponent

The region looks beautiful in the wild areas, and the cities are also nothing to shake a stick at. The gyms are built like sporting arenas. The battles are coliseum style, and broadcasted throughout the region as they are the most popular form of entertainment.

Wild Areas

These wild areas are where you will find most of the new Pokemon you will encounter and capture. Corviknight, a flying Pokemon who acts as a taxi service between cities (and to me looks like a stealth fighter, which is pretty cool), is one that you will encounter outside of the wild areas, along with others working alongside humans in cities. Third person camera is enabled while you’re in these areas, which allows you to look around and scout out for the Pokemon you really want.

Dynamax

Now for the Dynamax phenomenon- the new mechanic for these games. Dynamax allows your Pokemon to grow gigantic, and increases the power of their moves, but only once per battle for 3 turns. The gyms are specially designed to handle these kinds of Pokemon, and the crowd loves it when they battle.

Intensity Intensifies

In the wild areas, you can encounter Dynamax Pokemon and battle them with other players in raid-style battles called Max Raids. These Pokemon have special moves that make them formidable opponents while Dynamaxed. In addition, only one member of the battle team can Dynamax their own Pokemon, so make sure you collaborate to get the best outcome. Once they’re weak enough, you can capture them using giant Pokeballs that you have to throw with both hands. Some Pokemon can only be caught in the wild after being caught in these Raid battles, so keep your eyes open.

New Legendaries

The legendary Pokemon were revealed at the very end of the Direct. Sword’s legendary is a wolf who holds a sword in its mouth called Zasian. Shield’s is a lion that has a shield for its mane called Zamasenta. They both look pretty cool to me, but I’m partial to the wolf.

Which one do you like?

Pokemon Sword and Shield release worldwide on November 15, 2019. There is a special double pack that includes both games available today for pre-order.

The Pokémon Company reveals new apps, services, and devices!

Dreaming of becoming a Pokémon master? This is your time!

The Pokémon company revealed a new mobile game, Pokémon Masters. The game will bring back favorite Pokémon trainers we have battled in the past and lets players battle them on mobile.

The gameplay trailer shows a 3v3 battle between enemy trainers and the player teaming up with Misty and Brock. Looking at the player characters Pikachu seems fairly similar to the original Pokémon games, having two current moves and two more empty ones to learn in the future. Also, in-between matches players can interact with some of their favorite characters.

What if you could continue training your Pokémon even in your sleep?

Pokémon Sleep will use the new device also announced called the Pokémon Go Plus Plus. This unusual new project hopes to turn sleep into entertainment. Coming sometime in 2020, Pokémon sleep will watch users’ sleep patterns and reward them for time spent sleeping, wanting players to look forward to waking up in the morning. Connecting to mobile devices via Bluetooth, Pokémon Go Plus Plus sends information about how long you sleep to the Pokémon Sleep app.

Welcome home, Trainers.

Pokémon Home is a cloud service that will work with Nintendo Switch and mobile devices, allowing you to bring over the Pokémon that you’ve shared adventures with throughout your journey. While the Nintendo 3DS version, Pokémon Bank, lets players store Pokémon on 3DS, Pokémon Home will let players transfer Pokémon from other devices as well. The app will be usable through mobile devices and allows trainers to trade with each other locally and globally. Pokémon will be transferable from Pokémon GoPokémon BankLet’s Go, Pikachu!Let’s Go, Eevee!, and Pokémon Sword and Shield. Coming in early 2020!