Pokemon Red and Blue were the first to release in the U.S, with Yellow coming out two years later as a companion game to Red and Blue. Same story but different Pokemon exclusive to the titles and Yellow is the first game to force your starting Pokemon on you. Since then there have been 7 total generations of Pokemon each with 2-4 games for the main line. Mix in some remakes of the original Red and Blue (such as Leaf Green and Fire Red), some console games like Pokemon Stadium, and even the wonderful Pokemon Go for phones; and you have one of the biggest and most prolific series in gaming. Now, for the first time ever (not counting ports like the one for the 3DS), Pokemon Yellow finally gets its own remake.
If you want to have a slightly more authentic Yellow experience go with the Pikachu version since you will have Pikachu at the start and he will always be out just like in Yellow. I personally do not care that much for Pikachu, I love all things Eevee, so it was a no-brainer for me in which version I chose to purchase. The game starts out just like normal: choose your gender, choose from a preset of character designs, name your character, and then name your rival. After that, you get up from in front of the TV in your room (complete with a docked Switch console). I am not sure if it was random or not but I own the Switch with the red and blue Joycons and I saw one blue Joycon next to the switch so that took me by surprise. I am not sure if that is for everyone or if it was because it read what specific Joycon I had attached to my console.
Everything is more or less the same at the start, but instead of Professor Oak stopping you from going further into the tall grass, he is on the other end studying some Pidgey. When you find him, a very energetic Eevee appears and your tutorial on how to catch Pokemon begins. It is very similar to Pokemon GO but there is no curveball and it does seem easier to me. Maybe because instead of flicking your finger over a phone screen, you point the Joycon at the TV and flick your wrist in order to release the Poke’ Ball. There is still the shrinking green, yellow, and red circle depicting catch difficulty as well as Razz Berries to make it easier, Nanab Berries to make the Poke’mon calmer (though Pinap Berries just increase the chance they have items when caught such as more berries or candy). You get 5 Poke’ Balls for this and after you leave for the next town you get a total of 50 in your bag to start.
Every time you catch a Pokemon your entire party gets equal experience. The experience is calculated on various things like if it was a tiny or huge Pokemon. Also newly added are streak bonuses. To get a streak bonus you need to catch the same Pokemon X amount of times in a row. It does not matter if it is with the first ball or not. If there is a cluster of Pokemon it is fairly easy to avoid them since they appear out in the world and are not random encounters. If you accidentally run into a different Pokemon just run away without throwing a ball and you will keep the streak. Being able to see the Poke’mon is one of my favorite things in the game. It makes the world feel much more real despite the cartoony look. There were times where I saw a rare Pokemon and put on my best Liam Neeson impersonation “I will find you, and I will catch you.”
Pokemon caught when your party is full go into a storage pouch in your bag, there is no longer a PC. If your storage starts getting full you can send one of your Pokemon to Professor Oak and he will give you a candy that can upgrade the stats of your Pokemon. There is some candy that just gives you an increase in one stat and can be used on any Pokemon. Even still, there is Pokemon specific candy that will upgrade all the stats for that Pokemon you feed it to. You can also play with your Evee or Pikachu outside of battles and if you see the little icon of them shaking a Joycon on the lower left of your screen outside of battle you can shake the Joycon to instantly go into the play mode and a message will appear like “Eevee is feeling confident.” You can also feed them berries here if you wish and dropping one will just put it back in the bag.
The Gyms are laid out the same as they were in Yellow, but to get into them you must first prove your worth. For Brock’s Gym, it is having a Pokemon with a type advantage against rock type Pokemon. For Misty, it is having one Pokemon above level 15. Luckily for Lt. Surge’s Gym, it is still the same old cutting down the tree blocking the path to his Gym, which leads me to an interesting point. Those of us who grew up on the old games know how useless certain moves from either a single use TM (those are infinite in the Let’s Go games) or infinite use HM’s. You needed these moves to progress through the game. Flash and Cut are two of them. Cut is simply a weak move that is used very often in the world to get by an area and Flash is a move you only need once or twice in the entire game to brighten dark areas, so without it, you are literally lost in the dark. They may still be in the game, but their world functions have been given to special ones that your starter gets taught by the NPCs who gave you the TM or HM. The first being Chop Down that you get from the Captain of the S.S. Anne. He shoots lasers out of his eyes to chop down a small tree in his room and your starter will learn that move for use in the world but it does not take up a move slot and cannot be used in battle, which is extremely convenient.
Battling trainers is more or less the same as it was back in the early days, no message saying if this move is strong or not against your opponent, however sometimes there will be an Evee shaking a Joycon above the option to “Fight” if you shake your Joycon then a special move will be used that deals great damage and is flashy with a goofy and very kid friendly name. There is even a person in the Cerulean City Pokemon Center that will teach your starter three special moves that only they can learn. These special moves do take up a move slot on your Pokemon.
Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu does feature a drop in and drop out coop where all you have to do is shake a connected Joycon to join or leave a game in session. The second player appears and has a Pokemon in the party walking beside them as well. If player two runs into a Pokemon then no battle is started, the Pokemon just jumps over them. They can also run off screen for some reason, but if they get too far away they will teleport next to player one. When battling people in coop you fight 2 vs. 1 using the same party of Pokemon. When catching Poke’mon you each can throw a ball and if timed right you get a bonus to catch rate and some added flair as well. The only purpose of playing in co-op is to make the game easier. However, you do use two Poke’ Balls in co-op, though the different types of Poke’ Balls are 50% cheaper than they are in the normal games. Just remember to buy in groups of 10 so you can get a free Premiere Ball and you will be fine, especially since most trainers give you a few balls when beating them.
Now let us talk about the Poke’ Ball Plus. It is easy to sync, I just plugged it into the Switch Dock when it was docked with the provided charging cable and heard the Poke’mon Center healing jingle. Then when I turned it on and started the game it asked what controller I was using I pushed the thumbstick in and boom connected. It has a general wrist strap that I HIGHLY recommend wearing and a plastic ring to put on a finger to help hold the Poke’ Ball in place. Once I oriented it the right way I was able to control the movements just like I would using a Joycon. There are two buttons on it, the A button is pushing down on the thumbstick and the B button is a spot on the top of the Poke’ Ball. Though it could just be me and how I have a bit of a heavy hand, sometimes I will move the thumbstick the split second before clicking it down changing an option. Other than that it works just fine and can be used outside the game too. Navigating menus is easy, it just does not have any other button than A and B.
When catching Pokemon it feels neat and natural to just give a flick of the wrist but make sure that the Poke’ Ball is oriented correctly or you will throw in a direction you did not want to. When the Poke’ Ball catches a Pokemon the Poke’ Ball Plus will vibrate, the ring around the thumbstick will light up with matching colors and on a successful catch, you will hear the Pokemon cry from the Poke’ Ball Plus instead of the console. During a battle, there will be sounds from your Pokemon also playing through it. The last function with the Let’s Go games it has is to store one of your party Pokemon in it to take with you when walking in the real world. This lets your bond grow stronger and the Poke’mon to gain experience. If you use it to play Pokemon Go that will also gain bonus experience and occasionally the Poke’ Ball Plus will vibrate, if you shake it then the Pokemon inside will make a noise thus gaining more experience. If you do not wish for the vibrations or noise when your out and about there is a way to mute it. Here is a link to the support article telling you how.
The Poke’ Ball Plus will also vibrate when a Poke’ Stop is nearby and can be spun or a Poke’mon is nearby and can be caught. It works just like any other Pokemon Go capture device. And since the price for the Poke’ Ball Plus is $50 it is smack in the middle of the price range for those various other devices, but this can be used to play Pokemon Let’s Go, and even comes with a Mew inside to use in the Let’s Go game as well. So all that considered I find it worth the price. This is especially true if you still have the Best Buy discount because you can get the $100 bundle of the game and a Poke’ Ball Plus for $80 then. If you play Pokemon Go regularly and have always wanted a capture device then why not get one that looks like a Poke’Ball.
All in all, I feel that the game is worth a buy. I was skeptical for a very long time since it had the Pokemon Go catch mechanics, but since your party still gains experience when a Pokemon is caught and you basically always have exp. share on leveling a Pokemon is not an issue. The music is nostalgic with the same songs but updated with instruments so it sounds like normal music. Seeing some of the NPCs from the Gen 1 games, though I will not spoil some of these (as I was not expecting one) was nice and just so gosh darn adorable. Dressing up, playing and battling with Eevee, and walking around with Eevee on my head is great and a dream come true. The Poke’ Ball Plus fits in my hand comfortably and is a great device as it spins Poke’ Stop when I am in mid Battle or catching Poke’mon. And being able to carry around a Pokemon and have it grow with me is great. After a day of having Eevee with me, he went from level 15 to level 27. I do recommend both Pokemon Let’s Go and the Poke’ Ball Plus. Even if you have a couple of kids they could have a ton of fun playing co-op together. For the older audience such as myself, the co-op is more of a novelty than anything else. – TS