Are you prepared for a Pokémon game unlike any other? The upcoming Detective Pikachu for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems offers a unique take on the world of Pokémon, both in its setting and its gameplay. We're going to take a deeper look at the first three chapters of the game!
Unlike most traditional Pokémon titles that take place across a large region, Detective Pikachu is primarily set within an urban sprawl. In Ryme City, players get to see humans and Pokémon interact in very different ways. Imagine seeing wild Pokémon frolicking without care in a park, or a helpful Ludicolo working as a waitress, or even a Garbodor helping out researchers with experiments. From its start, the game creates a world where humans and Pokémon have fully integrated into a life together.
Explore Ryme City and Solve a Crime
The game stars Tim Goodman, a young man who has just arrived in Ryme City on a quest to find his missing father. Right away, he crosses paths with a peculiar Pokémon—a Pikachu wearing a tiny detective hat. Even more unusual is that this Pikachu can talk! It would seem, however, that Tim is the only person who can understand him. Everyone else just hears Pikachu's standard Pokémon cry (though with a raspier sound than most other Pikachu).
Detective Pikachu is an amusing character. His gruff but friendly attitude, wisecracking nature, and obsession with a good cup of coffee is a lively contrast to the Pikachu you encounter in other Pokémon adventures. His personality shines through in the Pika Prompts that pop up during your investigations. These quick scenes highlight the humor in the great detective's interactions with Tim.
Tim's mission to find his father involves multiple cases, each composed of several twists and turns. During the course of the investigation, the player freely moves Tim around the environment, with Detective Pikachu following along. Clues are gathered by chatting with people and Pokémon—Detective Pikachu serves as the interpreter—and by scanning for important-looking artifacts. Occasional bursts of action are handled via quick-time events during cutscenes, where the player is prompted to press a button at the proper time to, say, dodge an attack or navigate through rough terrain.
This is a complicated case, and there's lots of pertinent information to keep track of. Luckily, Tim has a knack for taking notes. At any time, the player can refer to Tim's Case List, where he records details about the evidence, testimony, and people and Pokémon encountered. Tim's notebook also contains a Case Notes section, where the player will piece together clues and evidence like a puzzle to solve cases.
Younger players (or those who are skeptical about their investigative skills) will be reassured to know that Detective Pikachu has an Easy Mode, where Pikachu will always be ready to provide hints to keep you going in the right direction. It can even be used to solve particularly perplexing puzzles that may be impeding your progress.
Before we go on, please keep in mind that we'll be taking a closer look at early moments of the game. There will be some spoilers from this point onward, but don't worry—we're not going to give away any puzzle solutions or unravel any major mysteries.
Chapter 1: Tahnti Park
Detective Pikachu starts with a brief prologue: Tim arrives in Ryme City and meets Detective Pikachu, soon after encountering a pair of mischievous Aipom. One Aipom swipes a little girl's necklace, and the two Aipom split up and scamper off, leaving Tim with a simple mystery to solve—which path should he choose to pursue the Pokémon purloiner?
Given the first chapter's title, it should be no surprise that the path leads Tim to a park, but the case immediately gets more complicated. At the park, Tim and his new friend Pikachu discover Aipom's unresponsive body lying in a pool of red liquid. Yes, poor Aipom has been knocked unconscious and is covered in the juice of a squashed red Berry. Wait—what did you think happened to that troublesome little Pokémon?
Anyway! The little girl's necklace is nowhere to be seen, but our heroes discover a stray black feather underneath Aipom's body. Thus begins the hunt for the feather's owner, which is presumably the true culprit. Of course, savvy players should be wary of red herrings during their investigations.
Once the mystery has been solved and the necklace has been recovered, Tim heads to the Baker Detective Agency, where Tim's father, Harry Goodman, used to help with investigations. Mr. Baker informs Tim that a rash of strange Pokémon-related incidents have been happening throughout the city. Could these be related to Harry's disappearance in some way?
Chapter 2: Litwick Cave
After Tim and Pikachu step in to save the GNN crew, the group discovers that a cave-in has trapped them inside. The only way out appears to be a large hole in the cave ceiling. Unfortunately, only a Pokémon that can fly will be able to reach the improvised exit. Tim's quest this time involves chatting with the Pokémon in the cave to find one that can carry everyone to safety.
Once escape has been accomplished, Tim heads to the Hi-Hat Café, where Detective Pikachu gets to indulge his appetite for coffee. And once back at Harry's apartment, the great detective reveals that he discovered a broken vial inside the cave, which points our heroes toward their next target: a laboratory called PCL.
Chapter 3: PCL
The Pokémon Comprehensive Laboratory (PCL) is a noted research facility in Ryme City. Tim gets himself a job as a lab assistant so he can investigate the origins of the broken vial and hopefully get a step closer to finding his father.
At the lab, Tim meets a variety of colorful characters in the form of eccentric researchers and their partner Pokémon. And the mystery deepens as Tim witnesses another attack from an enraged Pokémon, stumbles upon rumors of an older laboratory that was somehow destroyed, and crosses paths with a Pokémon that seems to be able to disappear into the shadows. Even worse, a mysterious—and undoubtedly nefarious—person is watching Tim's every move.
As the chapter ends, it appears that Tim and Detective Pikachu are on the right track to finding Harry. Even so, the pair have a long and dangerous road ahead of them—but with your help, they're bound to succeed.
Detective Pikachu will be available March 23, 2018, for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Be sure to look for the new Detective Pikachu amiibo as well. Not only is it larger than a standard amiibo, it also allows players to view all the fun and helpful Pika Prompts from completed chapters, including ones that they may have missed. Check out the official site for more information!