Detective Pikachu Returns (Switch): COMPLETED!

Detective Pikachu Returns (Switch): COMPLETED!

It’s been a long time coming, what with the original game coming in at the end of the Nintendo 3DS’ viable life, and it now being the twilight hours of the Nintendo Switch, but finally it was released and, having given it to my daughter to play first, the time eventually came for me to finish the story that cliffhangered on the previous game.

Now, I may be misremembering the first game, but I’m pretty sure this one is somewhat simplified in comparison. It’s shorter, easier, and your hand is held constantly through the entire story. You don’t really have much say in how the investigations progress, and the puzzles are not only straightforward but you’re constantly told how to actually complete them. It all feels like the interaction is somewhat superficial, and really it’s not much more than a visual novel. It’s certainly less than a “point and click” adventure.

It’s also pretty bland graphically. There aren’t many locations, and they’re pretty plain in appearance. Voice acting is variable, with most characters being text-only but the odd one that isn’t comes across as amateur. Aside from the good detective himself, of course.

Thankfully, the story is more than enough to draw you in and keep you connected. The first game ended without a resolution to the big questions – where is Tim’s dad, and why can Pikachu talk? In the intervening years, there’s been a film which loosely followed the plot of the game but did end on an answer – with Tim’s dad actually being Pikachu, of a sort, thanks to Mewtwo’s actions. The game actually addresses this outcome directly, as it is mentioned that “they made a film about Tim and Pikachu’s adventures”, but “they made up the ending”, or words to that effect. Is the ending the same here? Well, that’s a spoiler.

The events that lead to the end mainly involve a load of Pokémon going rogue, which seems a bit like the “R incident” from the 3DS original but is actually more targeted and related to where Tim’s dad is. You’ve the theft of a gem to solve, the rescue of an archaeologist from some ruins, and even deal with Pikachu getting “arrested” for a crime he didn’t commit. Towards the end, Pikachu starts remembering things that aren’t things he could possibly remember. Unless… well, spoiler again.

In summary, it’s a low tech game which exists to wrap up the cliffhanger from the first game, but really shouldn’t have taken nearly six years to make nor is it worth playing on its own. There’s nothing terrible here, it’s just a bit disappointing that after all this time, all we’re getting is what feels like a cheap C-team product.

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