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Pokémon Quest: everything we know

It’s free on Nintendo eShop, but what exactly is the game like?

Game Freak/The Pokémon Company
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Pokémon Quest is the newest Pokémon title and a deviation from the previous games. Reminiscent of Pokémon Rumble and Minecraft, Quest takes the player to the blocky Tumblecube Island, where “Pokéxels” — voxel versions of our favorite Pokémon — roam freely.

Here’s everything we know about the latest Pokémon adventure.

What is Pokémon Quest?

Instead of the traditional RPG-style of the previous Pokémon games, Pokémon Quest is designed to be a mobile game. There’s no overarching storyline or human NPCs — or even familiar graphics. The game relies more on time management than battle strategy. And like with most mobile games, there’s a lot of waiting involved.

Is it out yet?

Yup. Pokémon Quest was released on May 29 for Switch via the Nintendo eShop. The mobile versions for iOS and Android will be available on June 27.

Do you have to pay to play?

As with most mobile games, Pokémon Quest is free to download and play — but there are packages available to purchase to alleviate waiting times, unlock special moves, and improve your equipment.

It is totally playable without spending a cent, but those who want to skip the waiting time or unlock special items faster can pay if they’d like.

What is the gameplay like?

There are two main activities in Pokémon Quest: going on Expeditions and managing the Base Camp. Expeditions involve resource-gathering and fighting wild Pokémon, while managing the Base Camp handles training your Pokémon, cooking, and decorating.

Going on Expeditions requires using the in-game energy points (your drone’s battery). A full drone gives you five Expeditions; a new trip recharges once every real-world 30 minutes.

That’s the very basic gist of it. For more in-depth information about gameplay, including some tips and tricks, check out our handy guide.

What Pokémon are available?

The original 150 are present in Pokémon Quest. The game starts out asking you to pick from Bulbasaur, Charizard, Squirtle, Pikachu, and Eevee. By the end of the tutorial, you will gain two more. The rest, however, will wander to your base camp.

Game Freak/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

How do you get new Pokémon?

Once every 22 hours, a new Pokémon will show up to your base camp. But if you want more Pokémon, you’re going to have to cook using the cooking pot at your base camp. This requires ingredients — which you obtain through Expeditions — and time. As you progress, you unlock more recipes which attract different types of Pokémon. There is no catching involved.

How does leveling up work?

There are two different ways to do this. One is by training, which involves sacrificing other Pokémon (don’t worry; they won’t die, they’ll just leave your team) to improve another. Think of it like a support group. Up to four Pokémon can be used to improve another.

The other way is by using Power and Move Stones that you obtain through Expeditions. Each Pokémon has a Power Charm grid, which holds Power and Move Stones. As the Pokémon levels up, more slots open up.

More detailed information about the leveling system can be found on our guide.

What else can you do at the Base Camp?

In addition to cooking and training, you can also decorate your Base Camp. Decorations give your Pokémon some passive benefits.

How is Tumblecube Island set up?

Tumblecube Island is broken down into dungeons, which are further broken down into different areas. Each dungeon has a boss and wild Pokémon. When going on Expeditions, each area needs to be cleared before moving onto the next one.

Do you have a Pokémon team?

A team of three Pokémon is sent on Expeditions, and you can edit your team before each Expedition. A breakdown of the types of wild Pokémon in each dungeon is displayed, so the teams can be optimized. A number displays the strength of the area. If it’s higher than the overall strength of the team, you will not win.

Game Freak/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

Do you get to battle?

Kinda. Your Pokémon will be able to battle while they go on expeditions, but unlike the traditional games, the player has little control over their actions. There’s an option to turn auto off, so that you can choose when the Pokémon use their special moves and tell the team to scatter — which means the Pokémon abandon their attacks and flee from the enemy.

More in-depth information on Expeditions and battling can be found on our guide.

Do you need an internet connection in order to play?

Neither the mobile version or the Switch version will need an internet connection to play.

Can you connect your mobile version and your Switch version?

No. Director Junichi Masuda has said that the two games are separate titles and cannot be connected.

Is it worth playing?

If you’re more of a traditional Pokémon player, the simplistic nature of this game and the long wait times might not be right for you. But if you’re looking for a quick Pokémon fix between the next core series game or if you want a cute game to play on your phone, then Pokémon Quest might be a fun treat. No matter what, it’s free to download, so giving it a try will cost you nothing.

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