Detective Pikachu Returns (Switch) – Review

On October 6 of this year, “Detective Pikachu Returns” saw release on Nintendo Switch. Coming five years after the first game’s release on Nintendo 3DS in 2018 and four years after the hit live-action film adaptation in 2019; the game marks an ideal sequel to one of the most unique spinoffs of the “Pokémon” franchise.

The main story takes place two years after the events of the first game. As Tim Goodman (voice of Khoi Dao) and Detective Pikachu (voice of Kaiji Tang) are commended for their actions in the first game; they continue their search for Tim’s father Harry while also unraveling a new set of mysteries in Ryme City.

This title builds on the gameplay established in the first game. Rather than the battles in the mainline games, the mysteries blend humor and puzzle-solving; recalling classic point-and-click PC adventure games such as “Maniac Mansion” and “Day of the Tentacle.” On top of this, there are a variety of smaller mysteries to solve in each chapter (known as “local concerns”). 

In addition to the urban environments present in the first game, there are mountain ranges and ancient temples that would not be out of place in the original “Tomb Raider” games. Some missions even contain stealth sections that recall earlier installments of the “Metal Gear” franchise. The visual presentation, while keeping the Japanese aesthetic of the Pokémon (including the title character and newer fan favorite monsters such as Inteleon); also portrays its human cast in a more stylized Western art direction. 

Overall, “Detective Pikachu Returns” is a worthy follow up to one of the most unique spin offs in the “Pokémon’ ‘ franchise. Though what comes next from this corner of the series remains a mystery of its own (talk persists of a movie sequel and streaming event series), developer and longtime series partner Creatures has delivered another “bolt of brilliance!”

“Detective Pikachu Returns” With New Mysteries on Switch

By Steven Pryor

Publisher: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company/Game Freak/Creatures, Inc.

Developer: Creatures, Inc.

Platform: Nintendo Switch

ESRB Rating: E

My Rating: ****1/2:5

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