"A bolt of brilliance"
How do you like your coffee?
If I could live in a fantasy realm, I would love to be in the Pokémon world. Living surrounded by these wonderful creatures and enjoying everyday life with them would be fascinating. And among the myriad of professions that one could choose, I would love to be either a Pokémon Professor or a Detective. Hence, when Detective Pikachu was released in 2018, it was a dream come true not only for me, but for many fans who got to experience a marvelous game full of intrigue and mystery.
The story begins when a young guy named Tim Goodman arrives to Ryme City. He is looking for his father, Harry, who was a detective at the Baker Detective Agency (a clever reference for any Sherlock Holmes fan).
Harry suffered an accident while solving a mystery and his whereabouts are unknown. However, Tim soon gets involved in a mystery of his own alongside a gruff-voiced, coffee-loving Pikachu. We quickly find out that Pikachu was Harry’s partner in his investigations, but he doesn’t remember anything before the accident.
Even more mysterious is the fact that Tim and Pikachu can communicate with each other. No other human can understand Pikachu and no other Pokémon can talk with Tim. It is then when we start our adventure in Ryme City, trying to find out what happened to Harry and what was the case he was investigating right up to his disappearance.
Gameplay is divided into various sections. First we need to gather evidence, collect testimonies and solve various questions in order to solve each chapter’s big mystery. Afterwards, we have to provide conclusions by connecting ideas and presenting the right evidence in order to find our culprits (very similar to the gameplay in the Ace Attorney series). Along the way, we may also find short Quick-Time Events where we need to help our heroes get out of trouble.
While solving mysteries, we get to explore various locales, ranging from urban settings or dark caves, to paradisiac resorts and enigmatic warehouses. The world comes to life beautifully by how seamlessly the Pokémon themselves are integrated into every setting, and I found that combination to be the biggest strength of the game.
We can find a Growlithe helping a security guard, or a Manectric leading a detective by using his strong sense of smell. We may stumble upon a stoic Kricketune working with a violinist, a Klefki as a keymaster, or even Yanma as cameramen. It was incredibly delightful and absolutely charming to see how natural Pokémon fit into the lives of all of Ryme City’s inhabitants, and the joy of seeing every new interaction was immeasurable.
The mysteries themselves were quite fun and it’s a great entry point for any person who wants to dip their toes into in the detective genre. There is no punishment for making mistakes, since you get to retry right away, but there is still a nice feeling of satisfaction when you solve any question on your first try.
The game also has great voice acting, including an unexpectedly deep voice for the typically cute Pikachu. All of his interactions with the rest of the cast – in particular with certain Pokémon and every cute girl in the game – are hilarious and full of charm. As a big Pokémon fan, I can say with confidence that Detective Pikachu (both the game and the character) made me have a continuous smile on my face like very few other games have.
The game wraps up quite nicely, but leaves enough doors open for a sequel that we are soon to experience. In fact, I am both extremely thankful and excited for Detective Pikachu Returns, as it would have been very sad to not explore this whimsical and enchanting setting again.
Detective Pikachu offers a great variety of intriguing mysteries that players get to solve while exploring a charming world full of lovely interactions between Pokémon and humans. No fan of Pokémon or detective stories should miss out on this fantastic game. You’ll be thinking and smiling while solving the problems of Ryme City, all with the company of a lovely Pikachu partner and a hot cup of coffee.
Christian’s a fan of long lists, Pokémon, SMT, Advance Wars, Xenoblade Chronicles, Splatoon, S/JRPGs, VNs...
When not solving mysteries in Ace Attorney or doing supports in Fire Emblem, he can be found doing math or learning languages.