It is just two months shy before “Pokémon Go”, Nintendo and Niantic’s surprise phenomenal hit AR-based mobile game app of 2016 (and mostly just then), will turn two years old. While there is still a dedicated player community for “Go”, it has long passed its front-page news glory days. And besides, the “Pokémon” franchise is far more than just that. In fact, two new “Pokémon” games are soon to come on the Nintendo Switch, evoking the feel of early game titles. Now, franchise developer Game Freak and Niantic are collaborating on a peripheral connecting “Go” and these new upcoming games.
According to The Verge, a new gadget called the Poke-ball Plus is soon to debut from the combined efforts of Game Freak (original developers of the “Pokémon” handheld and console games) and Niantic Labs of “Pokémon Go” fame. This peripheral is a reimagining of the original Pokémon Go Plus, a wristwatch-like device that interacts with the “Go” mobile app and vibrates to alert players of their close proximity to a wild Pokémon or Poke-Stop on the game map. But the new Poke-ball Plus device also works with the soon-to-release Nintendo Switch “Pokémon” games “Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Let’s Go, Evee!”
With the “Pokémon: Let’s Go” titles, the Poke-ball Plus acts as a specialized Joy-Con controller, used to catch wild Pokémon in those games. Game Freak describes the audio-tactile experience gamers will have with the Poke-ball plus, where it vibrates to imitate a captured Pokémon struggling inside it, light up when it’s loaded, and even make Pokémon sounds. At the same time, a Pokémon inside the Poke-ball Plus from the “Let’s Go” games can be exported to the “Pokémon Go” mobile app and deposited onto the game map for recapture, serving as an upgrade of the original Pokémon Go Plus device.
The “Pokémon Let’s Go” games for the Nintendo Switch have been described by Game Freak as remakes of “Pokémon Yellow” on the Game Boy. It was a custom edition of the default “Red” and “Blue/Green” version of the first “Pokémon” handheld games, with a central Pokémon character. The “Let’s Go” titles are focused only on the Kanto Region and the 151 first-generation Pokémon, with the main companions being Pikachu (as with the original “Yellow” version) on one game and Evee on the other. Wild Pokémon can only be captured, while battles are only fought with NPC characters and their Pokémon.
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Evee!” are angling for a November 2018 release on the Nintendo Switch, and the Poke-ball Plus peripheral will also debut then as a separate purchase. This should introduce a new generation to Pokémon, while possibly reinvigorating the “Pokémon Go” mobile player base.