Cooking food to lure Pokémon basically makes me the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Except I’m luring pocket-sized monsters.
One night last week, Nintendo decided to announce all things Pokémon. One of which was Pokémon Quest – a new mobile game for Switch and iOS. It’s a light action RPG that tasks you with finding treasures on Tumblecube Island. To find those treasures you send out a team of three of your Pokémon on expeditions to clear through zones and dispatch pesky wild Pokémon along the way.
There is only me, sir
Each expedition is scored based on its difficulty, and it’s advisory to have the combined strength of your three-Pokémon team – Pokéteam? – surpass the score before attempting the expedition. In there your team runs around, encounters groups of Pokémon and fights them. Each Pokémon has abilities you can use during the expedition that damage, buff, or debuff. The auto feature makes your Pokéteam use abilities themselves, and while it’s useful, it means Pokémon Quest practically plays itself.
Expeditions award you with ingredients and power charms. You cook your collected ingredients which entices new Pokémon to be ensla—I mean, join your camp, for use in expeditions. Power charms are what mainly increase the score of your Pokéteam. They come in two types, Sturdy (+HP) and Mighty (+ATK) stones – with a third, much rarer, type of six coloured stones that enhance Pokémon abilities. The Sturdy and Mighty stones also have higher rarities which add more stats.
It’s a mobile game – but it’s not so bad
Each expedition you undertake in Pokémon Quest uses a battery cell. You’re given five cells, and one refreshes every thirty minutes. It was two hours before I was time-gated by running out, and you can’t buy more with microtransactions. You can buy any of the six coloured stones that enhance Pokémon’s abilities, but the big in-app purchases are expedition packs – one-off purchases for several bonuses and some extra Pokémon. Because the game isn’t multiplayer, none of the in-app purchases are particularly bothersome.
PM Tickets, the in-game currency, are where it’s at. You are rewarded with these regularly enough that buying them with real money doesn’t feel at all imperative or forced. They can’t be bought outright though; buying any stone with real money gets you 100 PM Tickets as a bonus. But since you get 50 tickets every 22 hours, and plenty as rewards for completing quests, it certainly doesn’t feel necessary. I have 195 of them now without paying any money, and have probably spent around 100 across my time so far. Things that are purchasable with tickets aren’t all that expensive, so it barely matters.
When not out on expeditions, your collected Pokémon hang out at your base camp. Your camp is where your cooking pot is to lure other vict—sorry, Pokémon. You use ingredients you’ve collected from expeditions to create any of a number of dishes that lure in specific types of Pokémon. It takes time to cook these dishes, and time is passed by doing expeditions. A meal that takes five will need you to complete five expeditions before it will be ready. It’s worth noting that expeditions don’t need to be completed; they just need to be attempted. Along with your free PM Tickets every 22 hours, one random Pokémon will enter your base camp that you can add to your roster.
Pokémon Quest is at its strongest when you’re picking your Pokéteam, deciding which stones to give them, and creating multiple teams. It’s the type of mobile game you can dip into for ten minutes at a time throughout the day. It may scratch the itch of some on the way to Pokémon Let’s Go, but I imagine some Pokémon fans will find Quest too shallow across the board for their itch. Still, it’s free, so there’s nothing to lose in giving it a try.