Detective Pikachu Review

Posted April 11, 2018 by Jacqueline Juretus in Video Games

Developer:  Creatures Inc

Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  March 23, 2018

Platforms:  Nintendo 3DS

Detective Pikachu features an interesting and unique view into the world of Pokémon. Players control Tim Goodman, who is venturing out to Ryme City to search for his missing father. He quickly encounters a weird Pikachu with a penchant for solving mysteries and drinking coffee, and gets wrapped up in several cases involving Pokémon around the city. Tim often plays the straight man to Pikachu’s antics. While the story and characters aren’t exactly deep, there are enough twists, turns, and little details to keep things interesting.


The different cases take the player through a variety of settings and show several facets of Ryme City and the world around it. Integration between Pokémon and people is shown in an in-depth way not seen before in the main games or the television series, which often focus on trainers and battles. Through various conversations with both people and Pokémon, the player gets a fleshed out sense of this universe. The game does not focus on any single generation, and instead, offers a nice batch of Pokémon from all the different series.

The voice acting is fantastic and brings an extra level to the characters, with both English and Japanese audio options. The environments and characters are well animated and detailed, especially in cut-scenes; however, there are a few instances during gameplay where the world may seem a bit empty compared to other areas.

Despite being a 3DS title, there is no 3D mode.

Gameplay is exceedingly simple, but works. It’s very reminiscent of a point and click adventure or visual novel, with only a few quick-time events thrown in for some action. The dual screen of the 3DS is well utilized and controls feel natural. Older, more hardcore gamers looking for a challenge will be disappointed and possibly bored. However, those willing to get immersed in the story or who enjoy the characters should find this to be a charming and relaxing time. The only difference between the two modes of difficulty is that easy mode offers a help button–one click will direct the player to the answer. Pikachu will often alert the player to help out, which can be nice at times and annoying at others. Sometimes Pikachu seems to interrupt the player to tell them to do something the player was probably going to do, had they not been interrupted.

It is worth it to talk to Pikachu often, even when not prompted to unlock the various Pika Prompts, which can be viewed again later from the main title screen. There is only one ending, but players may pick up more details on a second playthrough and can try to unlock more Pika Prompts. Gameplay will probably range from 20 to 30 hours depending on how much extra exploring the player chooses to do. Some may even complete it in less time if sticking very strictly to the main tasks. Those that purchase the large Detective Pikachu amiibo, which stands at 5.4 inches, will be able to use it to unlock Pika Prompts they may have missed.

Detective Pikachu is a must play for major fans of Pokémon. Fans of the show will also catch a nice little cameo at one point in the game. Even those not super familiar with Pokémon will have something to enjoy if they are looking for something cute and relaxing.

Overall, while not perfect, Detective Pikachu is a delight and should have the player smiling.


About the Author

Jacqueline Juretus