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Glen-i

Looking back at Pokémon spinoffs

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3 hours ago, bob said:

I can't believe you played all this dross, but Pikachu Let's Go is where you draw the line...

I expect more from a mainline game. I hold them to a generally higher standard to Spin-off's.

3 hours ago, S.C.G said:

Anyway, what I really wanted to know is... what category does Pokémon Let's Go! fall into for you? Again I don't want to derail the thread (we already have two threads for the games) but I was just curious, as I think we all are because in your defence, you have actually played the game... as co-op player two but you've still played it.

In any case, if you were to write something for it later on down the line then I'd definitely be interested to read it. :peace:

Are there many more spin-offs to go now?

I absolutely consider Let's GO as a mainline series game. Game Freak made it, it follows the same basic structure as every mainline Pokémon game they made and that's that.

So while I won't cover it here, there's a  previous thread I did that I feel would be a better place to give my thoughts. So I'll probably bump that instead later on.

3 hours ago, Jonnas said:

Off the top of my head, there's still Pokémon Conquest, Pokkén and Pokémon Go, at least.

Out of all the spin-off's, those would be the big 3. But there's quite a bit to cover still.

There's one more thing that Generation 4 gave us before I move on. Generation 5 is probably the weirdest of the spin-off's. There's some proper wacky stuff in there.

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6 hours ago, Jonnas said:

Off the top of my head, there's still Pokémon Conquest, Pokkén and Pokémon Go, at least.

And PokePark Wii 1 and 2, Pokemon Quest and Detective Pikachu. Great thread @Glen-i!!

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7 hours ago, Glen-i said:

 

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I can't imagine many people proudly displaying that next to their amiibo collection. Scanning those would give you the associated Pokémon and also make your WiiU secretly judge you for having such poor taste.

Don't worry, they're on a different shelf.

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PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure released in 2009 for the Wii. It's an action adventure game developed by Creatures Inc.

You play as a Pikachu who starts the game playing with his Charmander, Chikorita and Piplup friends. A Mew suddenly shows up and leads them into a mysterious hole in the ground. This leads them to the titular PokéPark. The Mew then informs Pikachu about an ancient stone called the Sky Prism, which has been shattered into 14 pieces. So Pikachu has to explore the park and find these pieces. No, the Mew isn't going to help.

The game generally involves exploring a number of areas and befriending the 193 Pokémon inside. Different Pokémon will want to play different games with Pikachu. The smaller ones will want to play chase and Hide-and-seek games while bigger Pokémon will probably want to battle. These battles are noticeable in that they're done in real-time, a first for the series. So no, Pokkén didn't do it first.

In order to get the Sky Prism Shards, Pikachu will have to win at the 14 attractions of PokéPark, a selection of Mini-games. The problem is, Pikachu isn't exactly good enough to pull this off, so you have to befriend Pokémon more suited to what's needed so they can do it for you.

The game is definitely aimed at younger children, so it's very easy. Despite that, it sold 1.19 million, which is decent.

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PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond was released in 2011 for the Wii. Once again, it was developed by Creatures Inc.

Pikachu has traveled to a different PokéPark with Piplup (Charmander and Chikorita are strangely absent from this game). There's rumours of a place called Wish Park where the fun never stops. Turns out it never stops because Pokémon who go there can never leave. Piplup gets trapped in there and Pikachu has to rescue him.

The game plays similarly to the first game, but befriending Pokémon plays a bigger role than the Mini-Game Attractions (Of which there are only 4). As you can probably tell from the cover, the Gen 5 starters, Snivy, Tepig and Oshawott play a big role in this game. They're fully playable in this and are able to switch with Pikachu for exploration and battles. Each one has a special skill that makes them suitable for different situations (Except Pikachu, who has no special skills and should almost never be used).
The battles in this game get a bit of a renovation. Type advantage plays a part in this and choosing the right Pokémon will make battles easier, if things are going bad, you can even call upon a Pokémon you befriended to control for a bit.

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You can also play the 4 attractions in Multiplayer as well.

PokéPark 2 sold 0.76 million. Which is pretty average considering.

And that does it for PokéPark. Which is a shame, there was potential here. These are decent games, even if they are devoid of challenge. The battling in the sequel is really fun as well. I would have liked to see where it could have gone...

And that also does it for Gen 4. There weren't a lot of original ideas here and most of them were a bit "meh" PokéPark was good, but it's not a dizzying high.
Next up is Gen 5, which I have mentioned before as a wacky bunch of spin-offs.

Edited by Glen-i
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It's a new Generation! My particular favourite, but would the spin-off's match up? Well, like all the other gens, let's start with the smaller titles that don't really need their own post... Don't expect much in the way of sales figures.

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Pokédex 3D released for the 3DS in 2011. Made by Creatures Inc. and released as a free digital only title.
Pokédex 3D was essentially a database for 152 Gen 5 Pokémon. Providing information on movesets, stat spread, catching locations, abilities, etc.

This title is notable as it's the first time we started seeing the official 3D Pokémon models that are still used today. You see, during the transition from 2D sprites to 3D models that the mainline games were going through, Creatures Inc. decided to make Pokémon models that were ready for the HD era that would inevitably arrive for the series. It was remarkably forward thinking, but as you can imagine, making models for well over 700 Pokémon at the time was a massive undertaking. So this was released as a way to kind of tide people over. It also utilised Augmented Reality to let you take pictures of Pokémon.

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Pokédex 3D Pro came out a year later for the 3DS. As the name suggests, it's a more comprehensive version of Pokédex 3D that features all 649 Pokémon from the first 5 generations. It also wasn't free. You had to pay for this one.

That pretty much sums up the main upgrade, but this title also has a quiz feature that puts your knowledge of Pokémon to the test. Like, serious nerdy stuff, such as heights, weights and even egg groups. Yes, I nailed all of them. What!?

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Pokédex for iOS also came out in 2012 and is pretty much Pokédex 3D Pro for Mobile Phones. Not much else to say.

These titles were probably made to subsidize the cost of making the absolutely huge amount of high quality models that are still used to this day. You can still see them in the Pokémon Let's GO games. They were also used in the 3DS mainline games, even if it did have the side effect of tanking the framerate when too many were on screen at once. Still, it was a smart move. It saved a lot of time in the long run.

I still actually boot up Pokédex 3D Pro now and again. Not for actual Pokémon knowledge, mind, it's kinda out of date now. But those models are great and make great references for whenever I feel like drawing a Pokémon.

Anyway, let's get weird.

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Holy Crap! It's the Pokémon Trading Card Game! ...OK, not quite...

Pokémon Card Game: How To Play DS is a free tutorial game that came with the Starter Kit in Japan that was available in 2011. Developed by Creatures Inc. and Zener Works, it's a small tutorial that teaches you how to play the TCG. That's it. There's nothing more to talk about. It was a freebie, after all.

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Pokémon Dream Radar is an Augmented Reality Shooter for the 3DS that released in 2012. Made by Game Freak and Creatures Inc. It's the first time a spin-off was made by the actual developers of the mainline Pokémon games.

The player is tasked with collecting Dream Orbs by shooting clouds using the 3DS' AR feature. But now and again, you might encounter a Pokémon. When this happens, you need to shoot it with... beams of light(?) in order to capture it. If you pulled this off, you were able to transfer those Pokémon to the Gen 5 DS games. This includes the new Therian Formes of Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus. You could also utilise the Gen 4 games to get special versions of Legendary Pokémon with rare abilities.

This game was OK, decent fun for what it's worth. I wouldn't be surprised if the AR feature used in this was reused for Pokémon GO in some way.

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We finish with Pokémon Tretta Lab, a Japan only 3DS digital title that came with a special bundle in 2013. You might remember me talking about Tretta back in the Gen 4 posts, so I won't repeat myself with what that is.

Unfortunately, it's not a 3DS version of the original arcade title as the name would suggest. Instead, it's a utility kind of application that helps you catalogue your certainly ginormous collection of Tretta discs. You could scan them to see more details and to simulate battles.

What's that? How do you scan these discs on a 3DS? Why, with this monstrosity of course!

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And you thought the Circle Pad Pro was bad...

Unfortunately, support for this dropped almost a year later when a new set of discs was released. Which was a bit of a middle finger to anyone who bought this, really.

That's it for Gen 5's weird spin-off section. Tomorrow, there'll be something that's actually weirder than all this.

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Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure is a DS title that released in 2011. It's developed by Genius Sonority and as the name suggests, it's an educational typing game. The game came bundled with a bluetooth-enabled keyboard.

It sounds like the kind of game that I would put in with the smaller titles, but there's quite a lot of stuff that makes this particular title unlike a lot of other spin-offs.

Anyway, the player is the newest member of the Elite Typists Club and tasked by Professor Quentin Werty and his assistant, Paige Down (Yeah, it's one of those games), to travel through 63 courses and research 403 Pokémon. What's that? How do you do that? Why, by typing their name really fast and really accurately, of course!

Generally, each course involves typing the names of Pokémon to progress through 12 worlds (Although there are some exceptions), at the end of each world, they will encounter a boss Pokémon, generally a legendary Pokémon. Each course also has 3 medals to collect, you can get these by finishing the course quickly, finishing without errors, successfully researching certain Pokémon, keeping a combo going and so on.

On the surface, this game seems like a child-friendly educational tool, and as far as the main story goes, that holds true. It's when you go for 100% completion that you realise that this game is really hard! The 63 courses each have 3 difficulty levels and the third one in particular is so incredibly harsh, I can't even beat the second boss! Of course, that video makes it look easy, but you try typing that nonsense in 6 seconds with no mistakes! 3 mistakes total and you're starting again.

Anyway, the main reason I gave this game it's own post is because it's development is full of weird oddities.
For starters, despite having an English release in Europe, the game never came out in America. The only Pokémon game to do so.
Because of the regional differences in Pokémon names, the order in which you encounter them can change between different languages. Probably done to maintain a smooth difficulty curve, despite the version you're playing.
To work with the bluetooth keyboard, the DS card has built in bluetooth support, which I believe is the only DS game that has such a feature.
And for some reason that I can not find any clue of, the European version removed the Pokémon Surskit, Staravia, Ferrothorn and Heatmor from the game. They're still there in the game's code and the Japanese version.

The game sold 0.29 million, so it kinda flopped. It didn't release in America, so that didn't help. Shame really, there's not a lot of typing games on consoles and I do like a good typing game.

Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't share with you all the absolutely amazing boss battle music this game has! It's seriously the most hype typing music I've ever heard!

IT'S JUST TYPING! CALM DOWN!

If Smash Bros. didn't inexplicably hate Pokémon spin-offs, I'd be gunning for this music in that. It's better than half of the Sun/Moon soundtrack!

Edited by Glen-i
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Yeah, that boss battle music is just insane! Love it. :D 

Here’s the old thread for typing adventure if anyone wants a trip down memory lane:

I’m actually tempted to dig up my DS and have another go on this. :hehe: 

Although it blatantly doesn’t help... I’m still awful at typing. :heh: 

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Pokemon Typing Adventure is way better than it has any right to be!  Even ignoring the utterly mental music, it's a pretty darn solid little title! If you ever enjoyed The Typing of The Dead, this game is for you!

 

Also yes, it's disgustingly hard! I will never beat this game 100%!

 

Pokepark 1&2 are also surprisingly good too! They're not mind blowing or anything, but they're surprisingly decent little games!

 

But yeah, it's all about Pokemon Typing! And that keyboard that it came with was actually really good too! (I actually still use it for my living room PC :D) Seriously! Check it out guys!

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The keyboard that came with it was also great. Perfect for something like an iPad. 

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Thanks @Glen-i for this interesting thread.  I thought I knew Pokemon spin-offs, but it turns out there’s such a huge number that I didn’t know about!

I still stand by my desire to see a new Snap and Trading Card game (although I wouldn’t object to Pinball either!).

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17 minutes ago, WackerJr said:

I still stand by my desire to see a new Snap and Trading Card game (although I wouldn’t object to Pinball either!).

I'm pretty sure everyone here does.

When I get to the 6th generation, you'll probably start to notice a trend develop that I think is the main reason we won't see these kind of titles any time soon.

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These guys beg to differ.

Pokémon Conquest is a turn-based strategy RPG developed by Tecmo Koei. It released on the DS in 2012. It's a crossover with a certain game series called Nobunaga's Ambition.
What's Nobunaga's Ambition? Good question. When this game was announced, I certainly didn't know. So, a quick lowdown on that.

Nobunaga's Ambition is a series of long running SRPG's that started in 1983. It's set in the Sengoku Period of feudal Japan, and such, it's characters tend to be based on those real-life people. The same holds true for this Pokémon version, that dude with the Goatee probably didn't use a giant electric jet dragon though. The games usually focus on taking over and maintaining areas of land in the ultimate goal of taking over the entire country.

Pokémon Conquest stars a random warlord (AKA, you) who has just inherited the nation of Aurora in the Ransei region. In the Ransei region, there are a number of people who can communicate with Pokémon in a sort of spiritual way, letting the two understand each other. There's a legend in Ransei, one that tells of a Pokémon that created the region. It's said that a warlord that takes over and unifies the region of Ransei under their name can meet this Pokémon. There's a bloke called Nobunaga who apparently has a Pokémon so powerful that this goal is perfectly doable for him. (Spoiler alert, it's Zekrom) So you and your Eevee have to beat him to the punch and meet the Pokémon yourself.

The game has two major types of gameplay, a management mode where you command the warlords that work for you to perform certain tasks, such as develop your nations, train with their Pokémon, go mining for gold or spending your funds on items they can equip. You can also send a group of up to 6 to try and invade another nation.

Doing this (Or having an enemy army invade one of your nations) results in the game switching to battle mode, where you command the 6 Pokémon your warlords use in turn based battle. Different Pokémon have different attacks, so positioning and type advantages play a key role. The invaders have a set number of turns to defeat the opposing army (Or capture a number of flags). If they succeed, the nation is theirs. Each Warlord also has a special skill that they can use once per battle that can help turn the tide in their favour. Defeating enemy Pokémon either in 3 turns, without taking damage or with a Super Effective move may result in the warlord joining your army.

Warlords generally come in two varietys, generic warriors and unique Warlords. The unique warlords are the people based on historic events and each one of those has at least one Pokémon that they are utterly perfect for. Known as a "perfect link", finding these Pokémon can exponentially increase the effectiveness of your army. The cool thing about this is that you can normally deduce what a Warlord's Perfect Pokémon is by the outfit they wear. It's also depicted by the Pokémon appearing alongside them whenever they give dialogue.

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Yeah, I can definitely see the resemblance.

Anyway, in a weird move, once you actually complete the main story, you'll quickly realise that was just a tutorial... This comic sums it up pretty well.

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The game sends you off on a number of mini scenarios (One for each unique warlord). Although the warlords you used in the tutorial keep the Pokémon they used, their link values (Basically, levels) reset. So best not to get too attached. It does provide a really long length to the game, as completing all of them gets you a final hard mode scenario that nets you a true ending.

This game sold 1.02 million, a respectable amount. Although, don't expect to see a sequel any time soon. This has "one-off weirdness" all over it.

In my opinion, this is a really good game. I'm kinda of a middling opinion when it comes to Strategy RPG's, but I had loads of fun. If you don't like the genre, stay clear.

Time for a theory of mine when it comes to this game and Pokémon X/Y. If you played the sixth gen games, you may recall a certain cutscene where you're told of something that happened a long time ago. Honestly, it's the best part of an admittedly bad story. I think you know where I'm going with this...

In my head, the Pokémon War was Pokémon Conquest. Shut up! You know it's cooler that way, don't you dare use the word "Coincidence"!

Either way, that's Gen 5, probably the strangest batch of spin-offs the series has seen (Apart from any sequels). Gen 6 next week.

Edited by Glen-i
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New Generation, new batch of smaller titles to trudge through. They all have something in common that means there's no sales figures.

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Pokémon Bank is a storage system application for the 3DS made by Game Freak that released in 2013.
It's a pretty simple utility system that allows players of the 3DS mainline titles to store up to 3,000 box in cloud storage. Yes, it's bloody Pokémon Box again! But hey, at least this one let's you easily transfer a large amount of Pokémon between different games, which was always a pain to do before this.
It's a subscription service that costs just under 5 quid for a year of use.

This title also comes with an accompanying application called Pokémon Transporter which lets you transfer your Pokémon from the Gen 5 games and the Virtual Console versions of the Gen 1 and 2 games.

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The Band of Thieves & 1000 Pokémon is a free 3DS title that was only released in Japan. It's developed by Marvelous AQL and was released in 2014. It's loosely based on the Movie "Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction"

You play as a Chespin, Fennekin and a Froakie that have to retrieve stolen treasures from a group of thieves. You do this using the 3DS StreetPass feature to gather more Pokémon to help you beat other armies of Pokémon.
If you think that sounds a lot like StreetPass Battle, you'd be right. It's very similar.

Why didn't it come out over here? Probably because it was discontinued and removed from the eShop only 4 months after it was released. It was most likely just a marketing tool for the latest Pokémon movie at the time, seeing as bringing this game there got you special bonuses.

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Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Shuffle Mobile are games that came out for the 3DS and Mobiles in 2015. They're developed by Genius Sonority.
Yeah, gotta come clean. This is basically Pokémon Trozei. I didn't realise at the time that there was another one of those. So I'm not gonna cover this one, except to tell you that this is one of those free-to-play games littered with microtransactions.

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Pokémon Picross is a puzzle game created by Jupiter for the 3DS that was released in 2015. It's a spin-off of the Picross series, which focus on picture logic puzzles called nonograms. I'm not gonna go into how it works, because I don't think I can explain it well. But this is another game that is free-to-play and has microtransactions. You need Jewels to progress and while you can get them by completing puzzles, you can buy them with real money.

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Finally, there's Pokémon Duel. A Strategy Board Game based on the Pokémon Trading Figure Game. It's developed by HEROZ and was released for mobile devices in 2016. Which means it's another game full of microtransactions!

The basic goal is to get one of your figures to the opponent's goal space first. You can get a pack of figures using in-game currency (Which you can buy with real money) as well as items to help you win.
This game still gets updates to this day, so I guess it's still going.

And that wraps up this post. You can see a trend with these games, can't you? You can also tell that I've played barely any of these. I might have played Pokémon Duel if it was more in the vein of the Game Boy TCG Game. But The Pokémon Company started getting a real thing for microtransactions here.

Next up, something that won't nickel and dime you at every opportunity.

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Detective Pikachu first released as a Japan-only digital title in 2016 before releasing worldwide as a full retail title 2 years later. It's created by Creatures Inc. and is a Cinematic Adventure game. No, I'm not gonna talk about the upcoming movie, that's not what this thread is about, calm your britches.

Tim Goodman's dad has gone missing. Apparently, he and his Pikachu got into a car accident while investigating a case. That happened two months ago. One day, Tim stumbles across the Pikachu his dad was with and for some reason, can fully understand what the Pikachu says. This Pikachu is no good at battling, but fancies himself as quite the detective, unfortunately, the Pikachu has no memory of what could have happened to Tim's dad. After solving a case involving an Aipom stealing a necklace, Tim and the Pikachu decide to work together in order to find out what happened to Tim's dad.

On the sliding scale of spin-off weirdness, Detective Pikachu is definitely up there in the weird scale. I mean, who would have thought we'd get what is effectively a visual novel? Because of that, the gameplay is pretty light, focusing more on the fully voiced cutscenes. You guide Tim around various "crime scenes", gathering clues, talking to people and Pokémon in order to figure out what's going on.

The digital version that originally released was only a small part of the game. Comprised of three chapters, (There's 9 in the final game) the game ends with a "To Be Continued" screen.
Unfortunately, the problem with describing games like this is that I can't really say much about it without giving away spoilers and this game is still relatively new. And seeing as I've not played it yet, I'm gonna have to finish this post here.

Detective Pikachu has sold 0.34 million copies so far. It's a pretty late entry for the 3DS and visual novels tend to not do that well anyway. Strangely enough, Europe is where this sold the most. It's probably a safe bet that the movie is what's gonna be more well known. At least this game has better looking Pokémon.

Did anyone here end up playing this? Genuinely curious...

Edited by Glen-i
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I have never looked into it, but from your description it would seem like it's something I'd like. But I have no 3DS, so..

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12 hours ago, Glen-i said:

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Detective Pikachu first released as a Japan-only digital title in 2016 before releasing worldwide as a full retail title 2 years later. It's created by Creatures Inc. and is a Cinematic Adventure game. No, I'm not gonna talk about the upcoming movie, that's not what this thread is about, calm your britches.

Did anyone here end up playing this? Genuinely curious...

Yep played it and I really liked it. It’s different from all other Pokemon spin offs, it’s very easy and very slow but I kept playing it. Like you said it’s a visual novel so for me it was the perfect game to play in bed before going to sleep. Instead of reading a book I was playing a nice and light hearted Pokémon story.

Too bad it sold so few copies, was really hoping it would get one or more sequels...

Edited by markderoos

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14 minutes ago, markderoos said:

Too bad it sold so few copies, was really hoping it would get one or more sequels...

Well, I wouldn't count it out quite yet. If the movie is a success, then it might make the idea of a sequel more appealing.

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Pokkén Tournament is a fighting game that released in arcades in 2015 (Not in Europe though). It's created by Bandai Namco, the makers of Tekken, and thus, has some similarlities to that series. Yep, it's another Pokémon cross-over! A port for the WiiU came out in 2016 worldwide.

The game plays like a traditional arcade fighting game but has a unique selling point (That isn't playing as Pokémon) in that gameplay can transition between a 3D field-of-play and a more 2D perspective (Like Tekken). Landing certain attacks on your opponent will change the perspective of the fight, changing the attacks that are available to you.
As well as this, the game has a sort of "Rock-Paper-Scissors" thing going as well. Each attack is classified as either "Normal Attacks", "Grab Attacks" or "Counter Attacks". Each one is highly effective against another, so good prediction can give you an advantage in fights.

As well as this, each player can use "Support Pokémon" to provide, well... Support. You can choose a group of 2 Pokémon that each have different effects. There is also a "Synergy Gauge" which fills up as the battle progresses. When it's full, you can activate a "Synergy Boost" which temporarily boosts the power of your Pokémon (Pokémon that can mega evolve also change to reflect that form) and can use a "Burst Attack" once, a devastatingly powerful attack.

There's a few tweaked modes you can play, but the basic gameplay remains the same.

The arcade version periodically received updates over it's life that added playable characters and the like, but the WiiU version never got these updates, which was... something. The more cynical of fans were saying that Bandai Namco were saving it as a selling point for a possible Switch port. But they wouldn't be that blatant, would it?

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Ah...

Pokkén Tournament DX is a port of the original game for the Switch. It includes all the previously arcade exclusive characters (along with a few new ones) and a mode that simulates battles from the mainline series by having 3-on-3 battles where health carries over between battles.

That's about it. It's a deluxe port, what can I say?

The WiiU version sold 1.37 million copies. The Switch port sold 1.57 million, which says volumes about how much of a success the WiiU was.

What do I think of it? Eh, it's OK. I don't particularly enjoy traditional arcade fighting games, so my enjoyment of this was very limited. But it does what it sets out to do well enough.
I will however lambaste it to hell and back for it's Pokémon models, which don't really gel well with the more cartoony Pokémon designs that feature. Pokémon with fur/feathers don't look good at all and more scaly ones look way too shiny. It all just looks off. Also...

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I still can't get over Charizard having pecs! It'll forever be weird!

Still, I can't talk about weird Pokémon models without bringing this up.

On 10/25/2018 at 7:11 PM, Glen-i said:

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There really isn't much else to say about this... Well, apart from how dreadful that Blastoise render on the boxart is. Jeez!

Notice how I didn't say "worst"...

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Bloody hell! That's clearly a bloke in a Blastoise costume!

Anyway, enough griping. Even if best Mexican wrestler bird, Hawlucha, got utterly robbed by a Pikachu in a costume.

That wraps up Gen 6. We're almost done. Gen 7 is the last one and that means I'm inevitably gonna have to talk about a particular spin-off that I'm not particularly fond of soon. Maybe I'll spontaneously combust mid-post? Who knows?

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Ah yes, Blastoise the Power Rangers monster :grin: The other Pokémon look fine, but phew, those Blastoise legs!

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I still can't get over Charizard having pecs! It'll forever be weird!




The largest muscles on a bird are the pectoral muscles, as they're the ones that power the wings. So it makes sense that Charizard would have large pecs, otherwise it wouldn't be able to use those wings at all.

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1 minute ago, bob said:

The largest muscles on a bird are the pectoral muscles, as they're the ones that power the wings. So it makes sense that Charizard would have large pecs, otherwise it wouldn't be able to use those wings at all.

 

I'm not disputing that it makes sense. But it still looks really weird.

Being more realistic is something Pokémon doesn't really need.

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Shut up! I didn't forget about this because of Christmas! You can't prove anything!

There's only two more posts for me to do, so let's get the smaller Generation 7 spin-off's out of the way.

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Pokémon: Magikarp Jump is a mobile game that was developed by Select Button and was released in 2017 in Italy. Everyone else got it a week later. No, I have no idea why Italy got it first. Maybe they really like Magikarp?

This is a sort of Virtual Pet kind of game that tasks you with raising a Magikarp to be the greatest jumper ever. I'd say that was a stupid concept, but let's face it, there's stupider out there.
It's basically one of those games designed to kill time. It involves a lot of waiting around for timers to deplete so you can do stuff. I can never understand why these kind of games are appealing, but I recall some fellow N-Europe members enjoying this when it came out.

Also, another game with microtransactions, par for the course with free mobile games. Speaking of...

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Pokémon Quest is the first Pokémon title for the Switch (It came out on mobile devices a month later) that released in 2018. The second spin-off title developed by Game Freak. It's another free-to-play game that tries to use microtransactions to make money.

This game tasks you with controlling weird cubic versions of the first 151 Pokémon in order to explore Tumblecube Island so you can find more Pokémon and treasure. Although, you can basically have the game play itself, which @Ugh first aid has done plenty of times.

Because it's a free-to-play game, this title involves a lot of timers that you have to wait to count down before you can progress.
Both of these games came along, were played for a bit, and then just kinda disappeared into obscurity, very unlike the game that I'm gonna cover in the next and final post.

As you can probably tell, I didn't touch these titles. They were about as deep as the puddle in the street outside my house. Good for you if you enjoyed them, but they are just not my cup of tea.

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RE: Italy. Mobile games tend to have soft launch in smaller markets to act as a test. I'd guess it was that. 

Plus they do like fish in Italy. 

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Oh boy... Time to stay impartial.

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Pokémon GO is an Augmented Reality, location based game. It released on mobile devices as a free-to-play game back in 2016. It's developed by Niantic as well as The Pokémon Company. Using geographic location technology, players must physically travel around outside in order to find and catch Pokémon.

But before I get deep into the actual game, it's worth looking at a couple of things that influenced this.

Before making Pokémon GO, Niantic made a game called Ingress back in 2013, the concept was pretty similar. You had to travel around outside to find portals to collect items and stuff like that. It did pretty well at the time, at one point, reaching over 8 million downloads. It's even been the subject of some academic studies. No, I'm not getting into that.

During 2014's April Fools' Day, The Pokémon Company collaborated with Google (Who owned Niantic at the time) to develop the "Google Maps Pokémon Challenge" 151 Pokémon from the first 6 generations were placed in various locations on the Google Maps globe and players had to find them by looking around the map. It was received pretty well and was a fun little diversion.
Niantic used the crowd sourced data from Ingress as well as data from Google Maps to help develop Pokémon GO. Anyway, now I'm gonna try and explain how the game works, which might actually be the most pointless thing I've done in this thread because I can guarantee almost all of you already know more about it than I do. But indulge me.

As I mentioned before, the main task is to catch Pokémon. To do this, you must travel to various locations in real-life. Once you get close enough to a Pokémon, touching it will take you into a separate screen where you can attempt to catch it.

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Call me nerdy, but I doubt Treeckos would be found near bins.

Here, you flick the Poké Ball towards the Pokémon to attempt to catch it. You can use certain items to try and increase the chances of capture, but take too long and the Pokémon might just leg it. This style of capturing would be later implemented in the mainline series in the recently released "Let's GO" games.

When you capture a Pokémon, you get experience points that can increase your Trainer Level, doing this gets you items as well as making it easier to find Pokémon with higher CP (CP is a measurement of how strong a Pokémon is). Just like the mainline games, you can evolve Pokémon, but because Pokémon don't have individual levels, you evolve most Pokémon by feeding them candy that matches their evolution line. The most efficient way of getting candy is to catch a large amount of the same Pokémon.
To get items such as Poké Balls, you'll need to travel to various landmarks in the real world that have been designated as Pokéstops. Flicking their icon to spin it around will net you items as well as other bonuses. You can also buy items with real-life money through microtransactions.

Over the lifespan of the game, Pokémon GO has received a number of updates that have added Pokémon other than the first 151 from Generations 2-4 (Not Kecleon though for some reason), various features such as trading with nearby friends, a very simplified battle system, various missions to complete for bonuses, a gifting mechanic and other stuff. The game still gets updates to this day and I'm not going to go into too much detail on all the features because I'll be here forever otherwise.

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A few months after Pokémon GO was released, Nintendo developed an accompanying device called the Pokémon GO Plus. It's a bluetooth device that lets players catch Pokémon and spin Pokéstops without opening Pokémon GO on their mobiles.

You don't need me to tell you that Pokémon GO immediately became a global phenomenon  Everyone who wasn't me was playing this game to an absurd degree. The Pokémon series hadn't seen a massive spike in popularity like this since the initial Game Boy titles. It broke an obscene amount of records as far as mobile applications go. It's been confirmed to have been downloaded over 800 million times to date. This game was everywhere and there was no avoiding it. Here's just some of the things that have happened as a result of the huge success of this.

  • People have helped authorities to arrest criminals because they happened to be a witness to a crime because they were playing GO.
  • Businesses have directly benefited from being near Pokéstops or becoming one themselves.
  • At one point, search service Yelp added a filter that only shows businesses that have a Pokéstop nearby.
  • The theme tune from the first series of the Pokémon anime saw a humongous spike in listeners on Spotify, despite the song not showing up anywhere in the actual game.
  • A few TV shows even started to reference the game, such as The Simpsons and Doctor Who, as well as in the music video of a Maroon 5 song.
  • Adult video streaming website, Pornhub, reported a 136% increase of Pokémon related searches within 5 days of the game getting released.

Don't say I don't do my research... Of course, with a hugely popular game like GO and some people being literally the worst when it comes to gaming, it was only a matter of time before controversy would raise it's ugly head. And this had some biggies.

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That's not the only sign telling people to show some bloody decency!

  • As pictured above, there were more than a few places that weren't particularly thrilled with being designated a Pokéstop.
  • Dutch company ProRail filed complaints of people trespassing on their railway tracks trying to catch Pokémon.
  • In a similar vein, multiple Fire Stations were impeded by GO players congregating outside stations and blocking access points.
  • The Sydney suburb of Rhodes was a particularly notable incident where residents were constantly subjected to a big amount of players gathering in the area because it had a larger amount of Pokéstops than usual. This led to some seriously dangerous traffic congestion, noise complaints and a big increase in littering. The residents got so fed up with it, that they started throwing water bombs at people playing GO. Niantic eventually removed 3 Pokéstops from the area to reduce the amount of players travelling there.
  • Bosnian players had to be warned to not enter minefields that were left over from the Bosnian War. Yes, really.
  • Unfortunately, there have been many accidents caused by people not paying attention while playing the game. Including falling from high places, driving collisions caused by people playing while driving, pedestrians getting hit by traffic, people getting into fights over the game, etc.
  • Even worse, people have been killed in relation to the game. One particularly horrific situation involved a Teenager from Guatemala getting shot dead while playing the game.
  • And of course, in a callback to the 90's, some religions claiming that the game encourages Satanism.

So yes, that's Pokémon GO. Easily the most successful Pokémon Spin-off of all time. Huh? What did I think of it? You're having a laugh, right?

I'm not a fan. Honestly, at the time, I thought this would end up being a detriment to the mainline Pokémon series. And lo and behold, that's precisely what happened with Pokémon Let's GO. Praise that game all you like, but it has none of the things that make Pokémon games so appealing to me. And Pokémon GO is pretty much entirely to blame for me actually skipping a mainline game for the first time in 19 years.

Ever since this game came out, I've been worried about a number of things for the Pokémon series. After this game exploded in a shower of success, we haven't seen a single Pokémon spin-off game that doesn't milk microtransactions for all their worth. If the next 2 Pokémon generations doesn't resort to the intensely simplified mechanics that Let's GO sports, I'd consider it a victory.

Throughout this thread, I've been thinking about how likely it is that these Pokémon spin-off series could make a return and to be quite frank, most of them won't. And the ones that actually do will more than likely follow the same kind of free-to-play structure that Pokémon GO has. I don't really blame Niantic though, they took an idea they made and used a highly popular franchise to capitalise on it. I attribute the blame to the Pokémon Company.
For years now, The Pokémon Company has been following the philosophy of only market what is safe. Cater to the lowest common denominator and nickel and dime whenever possible. They are certainly not the only gaming company to do so, but it really hurts when it's my favourite gaming franchise. If it wasn't for Game Freak and Nintendo, I'm sure they'd happily do the same for every Pokémon game, even the main ones.

As a lifetime fan of the series, Pokémon isn't about the first 151 Pokémon (And a handful of Pokémon that got into Smash Bros), it's not about reliving the game I experienced way back in 1999 over and over again. For me, it's about finding what kind of wacky creature Game Freak will come up with next, and then seeing what kind of ideas other gaming companies dream up when given these vast amount of monster designs to work with. I'd be honestly surprised if we ever see something as completely bonkers and experimental along the lines of Hey You, Pikachu! Or a new interesting take on the world of Pokémon that we got with the Mystery Dungeon games. Why take the risk when the free-to-play market is so lucrative and easy to exploit? Why bother with utilising new Pokémon when you can just fall back on the older ones and have people lap it up?

I can only hope I'm incredibly wrong about all this...

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