Pokemon Quest is an extreme rarity of a smartphone game. It’s a mobile game that doesn’t stay in business by getting users addicted to “chasing the dragon.” You can actually beat this game. You can beat this game faster if you buy things with in-game purchases, but you absolutely, positively do NOT need to spend real money to play comfortably and have a good time passing your time. This game is fun, simple, and is available right now for Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad), and Nintendo Switch.
Before we go any further, I’ve gotta say: This game is just the right balance of simple, challenging, and entertaining for the extremely strange and unprecedented times in which we’re all living right now. Most games are either too complicated and require too much time and energy, or they’re built to keep your attention non-stop. This is not a game like that. This game feels like it was made specifically to make you feel entertained, relaxed, and GOOD. (Or feel well, if you’re not Superman).
This game has features that make it feel like the creators legitimately want you to play only when you want to, without making you feel like you’re going to miss out on anything if you don’t “check in” every day or keep playing all night. It’s like the creators came from the golden age of “mobile” games, the 1990’s, when playing games on a Game Boy felt more like a release than it did like a required exercise done in order to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Much like the “Save Game” buttons of the past, this title does not freak out and throw you under the bus if you need to stop playing in the middle of a battle. If you switch apps, turn off your device’s display, or just close the app in the middle of a live battle, you’ll just be asked if you’d like to continue where you left off the next time you sign in – how kind!
The way the game plays
The game Pokemon Quest requires very little knowledge of the ins and outs of previously released Pokemon games. This game was developed by Game Freak, the same company that developed the main line of Pokemon games since the original Nintendo Game Boy game. This game was meant to be a more casual experience than the main Pokemon game series, set in an alternate blocky (or pixely?) universe on a land mass called Tumblecube Island.
The game is classified as an RPG, a Role Playing Game – but it means something slightly different here than it did with the original Pokemon game series. Here you’re not holding a set of Pokemon, waiting to toss one out at a time to battle one opponent at a time. Here you’re more of a commander of troops.
The game includes only Pokemon from the Kanto region, the first generation of Pokemon. That means people who were fans of the first Pokemon games, or just watched Pokemon back in the mid-1990s, will be able to play this game without knowledge of the many, many new Pokemon that’ve appeared since then.
With Pokemon Quest, you’ll get anywhere from one to three Pokemon on a team at a time, and you’ll set them loose on an environment filled with other Pokemon. You get some basic amount of control over which Pokemon do what, but you don’t choose how those attacks are aimed, or at whom. You’ve also got the option to press an “Auto” button that allows you to sit back and let your team do their best with the AI of the game.
You can spend money, but it’ll only go so far
You’ll collect items that allow you to bump up the powers and abilities of your Pokemon, and you’ll collect ingredients with which to cook. You toss ingredients into a pot that then heats up over time – either over the course of several of your battles, while you’re away, or instantly, if you’d like instead to spend some of your Pokemon PM Ticket points.
You get PM Ticket points for completing in-game quests and automatically, once per day. As of the point at which we’re reviewing this game, users cannot purchase PM Ticket points on their own for real money. You CAN find them in “Expedition Packs” in the “Additional Content” section of the game’s store.
The only things on which you can spend real money in this game are Pokemon Power Stones (which you can also get for free from quests and from random drops in battles), and Expedition Packs. Packs cost anywhere from around $5 to approximately $30 – that big one includes each of the other packs in a single, all-inclusive pack. None of the packs are necessary for a user to beat the game.
Gameplay can be spread out
There’s a Battery Timer which includes 5 charges at the outset. Each charge takes approximately 30 minutes (or so) to re-charge. You’ll need one charge per outing – one charge to attempt to beat one environment in one of the multiple sections of Tumblecube Island. It can be maddening, not having the ability to just run through the entire game all at once, non-stop – but such is life.
This game is fun, this game is simple, and if you’re quarantined right now like the vast majority of the world due to novel coronavirus / COVID-19, you’ll probably be able to beat the game in a matter of weeks. Or a matter of days, if you’re all about speeding up the process with real cash. But even that won’t take you especially far – you’ll max out at $30 (or so) then you’ll have to go back to waiting for more battery power…
So you’ll probably end up starting several accounts, *one on each of your devices, so you can move from account to account to keep playing when your battery timer runs out. And you can play forever, and ever, and forget all about the darkness of our current darkest timeline. It’s summer time, after all, right?
Again, the game is called Pokemon Quest. It’s out in the Apple App Store for iOS devices, on the Google Play app store for Android devices, and in the Nintendo Store for Nintendo Switch. If you’ve ever been a fan of Pokemon and, like thousands of people around the world right now, you’ve got a few minutes to tap around, take a peek at this game.