It’s been a weird month for Pokémon.
With the release of Pokémon Sword & Shield’s first expansion – The Isle of Armor (more on that soon), players have been wondering… What’s next? Nintendo, knowing how hungry for more their fans always are, offered up a pair of “Pokémon Presents” Direct presentations this month to shed a little light on their roadmap.
Many hoped for a “Let’s Go” pair of titles set in the Johto region, while others have been clamoring for Diamond & Pearl remakes. What we got from The Pokémon Company in the last month, however, has been an odd mix of exciting surprises, perplexing spin-off games, and outright odd franchise decisions. Here’s what’s been announced so far:
New Pokémon Snap
We’re getting a new Pokémon Snap! Aptly titled… New Pokémon Snap. The forthcoming Nintendo Switch title is based on the original N64 version from 1999, and is one of those things that I bet most Pokémon fans (myself included) never thought they’d see again. Nintendo shocked us on June 17th though, when they revealed a WHOLE TRAILER, outlining the new setting for this shocking sequel. Players once again will seek to fill up their Pokémon Photodex, all while getting a close-up glimpse at never-before-seen Pokémon behaviors and habitats. Fuck yeah.
Pokémon Café Mix
Pokémon Café Mix looks great! It’s a “free-to-start” puzzle game for Switch systems and mobile. While I hate that phrase, I guess it makes sense for what the game is. Players assume the role of a Café owner that many different Pokémon visit (the amount of accented é’s in this blog is making my fingers hurt). To mix up drinks and keep customers happy, you chain Pokémon icons together by swirling them around on the screen. This looks like your typical link, match, clear puzzle title. It’s adorable. I love it.
I hate this. I really do. Nintendo teased “the next big thing” in the 6/17 Direct, and came out at the 6/24 direct with a mobile MOBA game with Pokémon. That’s right folks! The company that can’t seem to figure out how to make multiplayer online play function properly, consistently, or enjoyably for 99% of their games is releasing a title that is – you guessed it – focused on online play. Sigh.
Who asked for this?
Pokémon GO Updates
Mega-Evolved Pokémon will begin appearing in Pokémon GO… Hooray? They already abandoned this gimmick in the main-line Pokémon titles, so why implement this now? Also, there’s barely any different between Gigantamaxing and Mega Evolving, so please just figure it out and make them the same thing, Nintendo. Retcon some dumb lore stuff and make them be the same thing. Please. For my sanity. Please.
Just like Pokémon Sleep, Smile is a weird attempt at Pokémon-ifying a daily routine. If kids are obsessed with Pokémon, and don’t like brushing their teeth – cool, give them this and let the Pokémon themed Snapchat filters occupy their face until they’re done brushing. Parents can even get notifications from Pokémon Smile three times per day to remind them it’s time for kids to brush their teeth. I guess that’s one way to get your kids in a healthy routine? I feel like there’s gotta be a line where you should not rely on Augmented Reality to teach your kids stuff… But what do I know.
All in all, The Pokémon Company has given fans more announcements and projects this month than many developers do in a decade. Sure, a lot of them are super fucking weird – but hey, that’s Nintendo. That’s Pokémon.
At least The Isle of Armor expansion is cool, right?