Also available on iOS and Android
Pokemon Quest is the game that no one asked for, no one really wanted, but most of us are enjoying nonetheless. It was a bit of a surprise announcement at Nintendo's E3 conference, and what was more surprising to most of us was that it launched on Switch several weeks before launching on mobile as the game seems to be developed with mobile in mind given its freemium model.
Pokemon Quest is a strategy...ish...game. You can have a party of up to three Pokemon each of which knows one or two special moves in addition to the default attack. You use these Pokemon to battle wild Pokemon on your "expeditions" to explore a bizarrely cube-shaped island. You can buy decorations that have various effects with tickets, and you get an allowance of tickets every 22 hours as well as a new Pokemon friend that wanders into your camp every 22 hours. You can get more tickets by completing some quests, and cooking with ingredients that you find from defeating wild Pokemon can attract new Pokemon to your camp. There's also a paid aspect to the game that can get you some paid DLC decorations that have some REALLY good effects, but those are totally unnecessary to complete the game. They just make it a hell of a lot easier. If you want to go all-in, the combo pack that gives you all of the extra content plus a bonus is $30. A little steep for a F2P game, but if you think of it as a $30 game instead, it seems a bit more reasonable (although still a little overpriced in my opinion).
Inevitably, you'll hit a wall where you just aren't strong enough to progress. It's at this point that some grinding becomes useful, and I don't just mean experience grinding although that's certainly part of it. Each Pokemon can equip up to nine power stones that boost either HP or attack strength, and the number of slots increases as the Pokemon's level goes up with the ninth slot not unlocking until you hit level 100. These power stones are random drops from defeating wild Pokemon and completing expeditions, so that's the second benefit of grinding after experience. The other benefit is grinding to stockpile ingredients that you can use to cook more (and better) recipes to attract stronger Pokemon to your camp. You may find a Pokemon that's a higher level and/or has better moves that you want to put in your team, or you may end up using the new Pokemon as training fodder for the Level Up training which gives the trained Pokemon experience in exchange for sacrificing the Pokemon used to help with the training.
Since grinding will be necessary especially if you plan to dive into the postgame content, it's an absolute godsend that there's an auto function. If you press up on the D pad when you get into an expedition, your Pokemon will act on their own. This can make it EXTREMELY useful for grinding as long as you pick a stage you're a bit overpowered for because you can have your Pokemon pretty much grind on their own while you go do something else be it clean or play another game. One more benefit of grinding for ingredients and cooking to get Pokemon to use in training is that it gives you an opportunity to find an elusive shiny Pokemon. While they're MUCH more common in Pokemon Quest than in the main series game - I played for around 40 hours and found three or four in that time - they're still a pretty special occurrence when one wanders into your base camp.
Pokemon Quest was a huge surprise for me. I wasn't a big fan of the art style at first, and the gameplay took a couple levels to grow on me, but once I was hooked, I was hooked hard. The $0.00 price tag is certainly appealing, but if you really love the game, don't feel bad about buying some of the DLC. It may be a bit steep with regards to price, but for those of us for whom the game just "clicks," it might be a game worth spending a little money on. Either way, if you have a Switch or, once it releases for Android and iOS, a smartphone, it's definitely worth downloading since there's no cost to download.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.