Detective Pikachu Returns test – The coffee-loving detective strikes again, but why?

The Pokémon games didn’t become so popular by accident. The enjoyable combination of monster collecting and (somewhat cynically) the resulting “___fight-like” battles lavishly built the “get ’em all!” to mantra. At first, the creatures themselves mainly came from the animal world, but over time, they enriched the repertoire bit by bit by including objects and other concepts, gradually building a world populated by strange monks together with humanity.

At the same time, however, there were hardly any works that did not focus on fighting. There was the photographic Pokémon Snap, as well as attempts at all kinds of skill or logic puzzles, such as Pokémon Picross, but there was little attempt to exploit the world.

Detective Pikachu, released for 3DS in 2018, wanted to fill this void, in which the titular, talking character solves all kinds of cases with the son of a lost detective, Tim (with whom they understand each other). The special feature of the narrative-focused spin-off was that it allowed an insight into the world of creatures that was previously made possible by anime. How well it excelled as a game is another question. Its latest sequel, Detective Pikachu Returns, which was announced more than four years ago, only confirms: as a game, it doesn’t work in this form.

After a jewel robbery, Tim and Pikachu discover a more complex conspiracy, which can have a massive impact on the coexistence between Pokemon and humans. Meanwhile, the duo is also looking for Harry, Tim’s father, and the story sheds light on what happened to him, as well as on the past of the electric rodent detective. It does all this through five chapters of varying length, where the central story can also progress by processing specific cases.

The gameplay is very simple. Pikachu, who has a deep voice and loves coffee, can talk to Pokemon, interpreting their language for Tim, while Tim can interrogate people. By interrogating witnesses and suspects, as well as exploring locations, we can obtain evidence, and if we collect enough of them, we can draw a conclusion in our notebook. The investigation itself practically consists of nothing more than running around the terrain with a fixed camera view, a few conversations and looking around.

There is no challenge in the program, because wrong answers are not followed by any negative consequences. In addition, the solutions are incredibly trivial, which also includes the fact that everything is repeatedly and in detail chewed in our mouths and very, very overexplained. The comfortably approx. A significant part of 10 hours of playing time could have been cut by eliminating them.

I would like to add here that if the target audience is very young video gamers or those who do not know the genre at all, then these decisions are more understandable. However, it is impossible to recommend Detective Pikachu Returns to a wider target audience, because the program brings out the joy of the gaming experience. In most cases, in the first 15 minutes we can guess who the culprit is or what the big mystery is, and every other minute is just meaningless grinding. There are also side quests that run of a similar caliber and have no reward whatsoever for completing them.

The game would have been much more ideal in the form of an anime aimed at young people, because the interactivity is only a weak illusion. However, it is great in that it shows how humans live with pokemon, all in a fairy-tale guise reminiscent of dollhouses due to the camera angle. Little monks are not just for battles, and here you can visit a cafe, the police station or a settlement in the middle of a bamboo grove, where the little creatures take their part in everyday life. Perhaps it would have been appropriate to build game mechanics for this, even in the form of mini-games.

Detective Pikachu Returns is not a good game, and its sometimes interesting story sucks. At the center of the narrative are the peaceful coexistence with pokemon, the moral consequences of controlling the creatures, and free will, which are otherwise particularly important, especially if they are presented to the player in a lighter form. However, the program is unable to fulfill its game character, as it is monotonous, tiring, boring and unnecessarily long. It’s not by chance that this story became a movie, because it simply works better that way. It’s a shame, because I think there would be a demand for Pokemon experiences like this, out of the mainstream, but this program won’t fill that void.

The test copy was provided by the domestic distributor of the game, ConQuest Entertainment.

an accomplished IT professional with a wealth of experience in the high-tech industry. As the IT Team Lead for Validation and Embedded Software at Qualcomm, he leverages his expertise to drive innovation and ensure optimal performance. With a career spanning over 40 years in Silicon Valley startups and consulting, Henry has been at the forefront of technological advancements. From software engineering to management positions, his diverse skill set has enabled him to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology. Currently, as an IT Manager and Web Administrator, Henry continues to contribute his knowledge and expertise to shape the digital future.