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Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee artwork Game Freak/The Pokémon Company

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Pokémon: Let’s Go!: everything we know

The beloved RPG is coming to Nintendo Switch — what’s different?

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Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! were announced as the first Pokémon games for Nintendo Switch. There’s been speculation about the Switch Pokémon titles for a while, and now with the official announcement, there’s even more buzz about the exact nature of the games.

We’ve played and reviewed the game, but if there’s still burning questions, here’s everything else we know about Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

What is Pokémon: Let’s Go?

Described by director Junichi Masuda as a remake of Pokémon Yellow, the first Pokémon titles for Switch will take us back to the Kanto region, where the original Pokémon games were set. Players will start off in Pallet Town, meet Professor Oak and encounter the 151 original Pokémon. In addition, elements of the Pokémon anime will appear, notably Team Rocket and specific characters.

When is the release date?

Both versions of Pokémon: Let’s Go! will launch on Nov. 16, exclusively on Nintendo Switch. The games are available for pre-order on Amazon for $59.99 each.

What’s the difference between the Pikachu and Eevee versions?

Each game allows you to travel with the starter Pokémon in question, either Pikachu or Eevee.

Additionally, certain Pokémon will be version exclusive. So far we know that Oddish, Sandshrew and Growlithe will only appear in the wild in Let’s Go, Pikachu! while Bellsprout, Vulpix, and Meowth will only be in Let’s Go, Eevee!

Update (Nov. 16): The full list of version exclusives is below.

Let’s Go, Pikachu! has:

  • Sandshrew
  • Sandslash
  • Oddish
  • Gloom
  • Vileplume
  • Mankey
  • Primeape
  • Growlithe
  • Grimer
  • Muk
  • Scyther

Let’s Go, Eevee! has:

  • Ekans
  • Arbok
  • Vulpix
  • Ninetales
  • Meowth
  • Bellsprout
  • Weepinbell
  • Victreebell
  • Koffing
  • Weezing
  • Pinsir

Additionally, Pikachu and Eevee can each learn different special moves, with Eevee having more options to boost its Normal type. It’s also easier to get a Pikachu in the Eevee version than it is to get an Eevee in the Pikachu version.

Which Pokémon will be available?

Currently, just the first generation of Pokémon will be available in the games, though their Alolan forms will also appear. Mewtwo has been confirmed to appear, but the status of the other Legandaries is unknown.

There will also be an all-new Pokémon appearing in both games.

Update (Aug. 9): Mega Evolutions of the three Kanto starters (Mega Venusaur, Mega Charizard X and Y and Mega Blastoise) are confirmed to return.

Update (Sept. 19): Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno are confirmed to be in the game.

Update (Sept. 25): The all-new Pokémon has been officially revealed! The mysterious new Pokémon first appeared in Pokémon Go, though it would turn into a Ditto right after players caught it. A new trailer for Let’s Go! revealed that this little guy is a steel type named Meltan. Professor Oak sends Professor Willow off to discover more of these new friends — perfect for transferring from Go to Let’s Go!

Meltan’s stats. The Pokémon Company

Can Pikachu and Eevee evolve?

Your starter Eevee or Pikachu will not be able to evolve, but any Pokémon that you catch will. Keep in mind that since the game features first-generation Pokémon, the only available Eeveelutions will be Jolteon, Flareon and Vaporeon.

Update (Nov. 27): You can purchase the stones required to evolve your not-partner Eevee and Pikachu at the Celadon Department Store (remember — Thunder Stone for Jolteon and Raichu; Water Stone for Vaporeon; Fire Stone for Flareon).

But what if I want one of the original starters?

Update (Nov. 16): Unlike the original Kanto games — where after you picked one starter, unlocking the others was not easy — you can obtain all three throughout the course of the game. All three can be given to you by various NPCs, though you have to catch a certain amount of Pokémon to be eligible (30 for Bulbasaur; 50 for Charmander; 60 for Squirtle). Additionally, there’s also a chance to spot them in certain places in the wild (Viridian Forest for Bulbasaur; the Rock Tunnel for Charmander; routes 24 and 25 for Squirtle).

How do I get Mega Evolutions?

Update (Nov. 27): After Cinnabar and before Viridian, you can swing by Pallet Town and talk to Professor Oak. He’ll give you the Mega Stones for the three Kanto starters. More Mega Stones can be purchased at the Pokémon League.

How many Pokémon can I have with me?

Like in the traditional games, you can have up to six Pokémon in your party (with more in your box). In addition to your partner Pokémon (Pikachu or Eevee) riding on your shoulders or hat, you can select any party Pokémon to walk behind you and interact with. All Pokémon will be to scale and you’ll be able to ride the larger ones, like Onix.

Update (Nov. 15): You’ll always have your Pokémon box with you, making switching out your team easier than ever. Sending additional Pokémon in your box to Professor Oak rewards you with candies, which you can use to level up specific stats.

What about Pokémon trading, battling, and breeding?

Players will be able to trade Pokémon from their Let’s Go! games and battle other players via local wireless and Wi-Fi. This requires two Nintendo Switch systems, as well as an active membership to the Nintendo Switch Online service, set to begin in September of this year. The Switch’s paid online service will have subscriptions for one month (US $4 / £3.49 / AU $6), three months (US $8 / £7 / AU $12), and 12 months (US $20 / £18 / AU $30). A family plan will also be available, allowing up to eight Nintendo account holders to share a single membership for $35 / £31.49 / AU $55.

While online trading and battles will be present in the Let’s Go! titles, there will not be any breeding or eggs.

Pokemon: Let’s Go - capturing a Pokemon with a Poke Ball Game Freak/The Pokemon Company

How do I trade?

Update (Nov. 27): You’ll need to be a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber to access trading. If you’re all set on that front, navigate to main menu and chose Communicate. Hit “Play With Others.” From there, you’ll have the option to play locally or faraway. Choose whichever is applicable, then select the trade option.

A menu will pop up, prompting you to enter a combination of Pokémon. If you’re communicating with someone specific, make sure you’re picking the same Pokémon! Double check to ensure that who you’re trading with is the person you think it is (else risk sending your precious Haunter to a stranger and never getting a Gengar back), and from there, pick and send off your desired Pokémon.

Is there anything else you can do with your Pokémon?

You’ll be able to bond with your Pikachu or Eevee by playing, feeding, and petting them in the style of Pokémon Refresh from Sun and Moon and Pokémon Amie from X and Y. You’ll also be able to dress up your partner Pokémon in various outfits and even change its hairstyle.

Update (Nov. 15): Unlike with previous games, you’ll be able to change wild Pokémon’s natures by visiting a fortune teller NPC. The natures raise and lower stats and are a crucial part of competitive battling.

Update (Nov. 19): Dressing your trainer and your partner Pokémon requires navigating to the Clothing Trunk inside of your bag. From there, you can select outfits and accessories. You start off with a Sporty Outfit set for both you and your partner and as you travel through Kanto, you’ll encounter NPCs who will bequeath you some new threads.

Changing your partner’s hair requires playing in handheld mode. You’ll have to enter the Play menu and stroke the screen in various movements with varying amounts of fingers in order to get the desired hairstyle.

Update (Nov. 27): You can select a Pokémon to walk around with you in addition to your partner Pikachu or Eevee. And if that selected Pokémon is big enough, you can even ride on it.

Are there still HMs?

Update (Nov. 27): Kinda. You’ll still need to do actions like Surf, Fly and Flash, but instead of taking up precious move slots (or having a dedicated “HM slave”), your partner Pikachu or Eevee can learn all the usual HMs. They’re called Secret Techniques and have cutesy names like Chop Down (cut), Sky Dash (fly), Strong Push (strength), Sea Skim (surf) and Light Up (flash).

You get Chop Down from the captain of the S.S. Anne; Sky Dash after you beat Giovanni at the Celadon City game center and talk to an NPC outside; Strong Push from the Go Park Warden after you find his gold teeth (find them with Team Rocket by going south of Fuchsia City towards Route 19); Sea Skim from the man with the Lapras outside the Go Park; and Light Up from a man in front of a small house right outside the Diglett Cave.

To use the Secret Techniques, navigate to the play menu by pushing the X button. The option for Secret Techniques will be on the left, right under Partner Play. You’ll be able to select the moves you’ve unlocked from the menu. You can also select the piece of environment you want to interact with (say a branch you want to cut down) and the game will prompt you to use the corresponding Technique.

What’s new about Pokémon: Let’s Go?

The biggest difference between the original games and Pokémon: Let’s Go! is the catching system. Unlike the usual turn-based battle mechanics from the older games, Let’s Go! has a catch system reminiscent of Pokémon Go, where the player will use the Joy-Con controller to “throw” the Poké Ball.

Additionally, wild Pokémon appear visibly, instead of surprising the player in the tall grass.

Regular fights between NPCs and other players, however, will have the same turn-based battle system of the regular games. There will be a variety of difficulty in the trainer battles, according to director Junichi Masuda.

There will also be a two-player co-op that will allow another player to join and assist in the Pokémon adventure by simply picking up the second Joy-Con controller. You can battle wild Pokémon, trainers, and take on gyms in co-op mode.

Second players can join as Support Trainers by waving a second controller at any time — even after a wild Pokémon encounter. Throwing the Poké Balls in sync at a wild Pokémon will increase the likelihood of catching it and increase the Exp. points earned.

Pokemon: Let’s Go - one person playing with Joy-Con, another with Poke Ball Plus
The whole family can join in!
Brandon Hill/Nintendo

Side events, where you can help people and Pokémon, will be present. A gameplay demo at the Nintendo Treehouse at E3 showed the player character watching an NPC’s Slowpoke in order to receive an item.

How do the wild Pokémon battles work?

Wild Pokémon battles have been completely eliminated in favor of maneuvering the Joy-Con controller to “throw” Poké Balls. Players will be able to use the controller to try out different throwing techniques. Earlier on in the game, the Pokémon won’t move around as much, but as the game advances they will be harder to catch. Like in Pokémon Go, berries can be used to soothe a wild Pokémon.

As mentioned before, wild Pokémon will now be visible on the screen. Some will have different auras around them, indicating that there is something special about the particular Pokémon. For instance, a blue aura means the Pokémon is smaller than average, while a red one means it is bigger.

If you switch to handheld mode, the catching mechanism changes. Instead of using the Joy-Cons as motion controllers, you must press a button and then move the entire Switch as a controller to line up onscreen elements.

What about trainer battles?

Trainer battles will have the same turn-based move-selecting mechanics of the traditional games.

Update (Oct. 18): A new trailer revealed a special type of trainer to battle: Master Trainers. These trainers specialize in just one type of Pokémon and will only battle you after you defeat the Elite Four. These types of battles have a specific set of rules: no items, only one Pokémon — the same one that the Master Trainer specializes in. Defeat them, and you win their title. There will be 151 Master Trainers, one for each of the 151 Pokémon.

How do Pokémon level up?

Like in the traditional games, Pokémon will gain experience from both wild Pokémon encounters and trainer battles. It looks like all Pokémon in the party will gain experience without the use of an Exp. Share.

Additionally, trading surplus Pokémon to Professor Oak will get you candies that you can use as stat boosts for your Pokémon, much like in Pokémon Go.

Are there still gyms?

Yup! All the gyms from Kanto will be there. Some have been totally remodeled with different elements and designs, whereas others will be true to their Pokémon Yellow counterparts.

How do I get to Saffron City?

Update (Nov. 27): The route entrances leading to Saffron City are initially blocked, and the guards say something about wanting a refreshing tea. While you can use the underground tunnels to bypass Saffron, in order to open up those above-ground entrances, you will need to get the tea.

Approach Brock in Celadon City. He’s hanging out by the gym and may only appear after you’ve defeated it. He stammers something about how skilled the trainers are (knowing Brock, he’s just ogling because it’s an all-female gym) and then hands you some tea that he’s carrying around. Now you can hand it to any of the guards in the entrances to the routes surrounding Saffron (that’s 5, 6, 7 and 8), and they’ll share it among themselves and allow you to enter and exit as you please.

Do any of the old characters appear?

As of now, it’s confirmed that Professor Oak, Misty and Brock will be appearing! Keep your eyes out for other gym leaders and NPCs coming back. Your rival, however, is a different character with a different personality than Blue.

Update (Aug. 9): Lieutenant Surge and Jessie and James of Team Rocket will also be making appearances.

Update (Nov. 27): All the Gym Leaders return, as well as Red, Blue and Green.

Does Pokémon: Let’s Go have anything to do with Pokémon Go?

The inspiration from Pokémon Go is clear and, indeed, Let’s Go! will allow players to connect their Pokémon Go games. There will be a way to transfer Pokémon caught in Pokémon Go to Pokémon: Let’s Go! via Bluetooth. It should be noted that this transfer is only from Go to Let’s Go!, not vice versa.

Additionally, only Kanto Pokémon and their Alolan forms will be able to be transferred.

A new device called the Poké Ball Plus will work with both games, allowing for a neat real-life catching mechanic, the ability to take your Pokémon with you where you go, and transfer between the mobile and Switch games.

Update (Nov. 19): Connecting your Pokémon: Let’s Go! and Pokémon Go games can be a bit of a hassle, but ultimately, it boils down to making sure nothing else is interacting with the bluetooth connection. That means using the Switch in docked or tabletop mode, going through your phone to make sure other devices (like a smartwatch or home speakers!) are disconnected, and enabling all app permissions in Pokémon Go.

So, do you need the Poké Ball Plus to transfer Pokémon?

Nope! You can just use Bluetooth LE to transfer Pokémon between Go and Let’s Go!

Anything else I should know about the Poké Ball Plus?

It can hold a Pokémon “inside,” so when you carry it around, it will light up and make noises. Additionally, each one comes with a Mew! A bundle pack of the Poké Ball Plus and each Let’s Go game will be available for $99.99.

Where do all my transferred Pokémon end up?

In place of the Safari Zone will be Go Park, where all the transferred Pokémon will frolic. If you want to add one to your party, approach it in the Go Park and start a battle with it. You’ll catch it the way you catch wild Pokémon.

Pokémon with high CP in Pokémon Go will also have high CP in Pokémon Let’s Go!

Update (Sept. 19): The Go Park complex will be in Fuchsia City and contain 20 parks, which will each be able to hold 50 Pokémon — so that’s up to 1,000 Pokémon that can be transferred.

Once you have 25 of the same species, you’ll be able to play a mini-game that involves herding Pokémon. Winning this game earns you candies, which you can then use to stat boost your Pokémon.

Can I only transfer from my own Pokémon Go game?

Nope! You can transfer from any Pokémon Go game to any Pokémon: Let’s Go! game. For example, a parent and an older sibling can both transfer Pokémon from their smartphones to a younger kid’s Pokémon: Let’s Go! game.

And how do I transfer?

Update (Nov. 19): After successfully linking up your Pokémon: Let’s Go! and Pokémon Go games, navigate to the Go Park in Fuchsia City. Fuchsia is the fifth gym, so depending on your level of skill and desired gameplay, it’ll take about 15 to 20 hours to get to this point.

Open up the Pokémon menu in your Pokémon Go app. Select the Switch icon on the top right of the screen, then select your desired Pokémon (remember — just Kanto Pokémon and their Alolan variants!). Talk to the guy at the desk in the Go Park and selection “Bring Pokémon.” Pick a park and continue to say yes to the prompts, till the game recognizes your Go account.

After the transfer is complete, you can travel to the Go Park where your newly transferred Pokémon are. To add them to your Box, approach one and press the A button, then chose to catch them. You’ll enter the Pokémon: Let’s Go! catching mechanic. Once you successfully catch the ’mon, it’s added to your party and is yours!

Does it work with the Pokémon bank?

Unfortunately, no.

Can you have multiple saves?

Since Switch allows for multiple accounts per device, each account can have its own save file. So a family of three siblings with three accounts can have three different Let’s Go! save files with the same copy of the game.

A special edition Nintendo Switch for Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! The Pokémon Company/Nintendo

Are we still getting a new regular Pokémon game?

Yes. Pokémon: Let’s Go! is not intended to replace a new core game, which is set to be released in late 2019 on Nintendo Switch. The new core game will focus more on the handheld features of Switch, while Let’s Go! will focus on the home console experience.

Any cool Nintendo Switch console deals for this game?

You betcha — there’s gonna be an exclusive Pokémon bundle, featuring your choice of Let’s Go! game, the Poké Ball Plus controller and an absolutely adorable Eevee-and-Pikachu-themed Switch, all for $399.99.

What kind of game can we expect?

Pokémon: Let’s Go! is tailored toward younger people and new players who may be familiar with Pokémon Go and the Pokémon television series, but not with the original games. Although the game is geared to newcomers, it looks like committed fans will still find some fun and familiar aspects in it. Nostalgic elements that older players know and love combined with newer mechanics, revamped graphics and a connection to Pokémon Go promise a new type of Pokémon game.


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