Detective Pikachu Returns Review

Thursday, October 12th, 2023 4:30 pm

Investigate mysteries alongside a talking Pikachu detective.

Disclosure: Nintendo gave SuperParent a code for Detective Pikachu Returns for coverage purposes.

Detective Pikachu Returns is now available on Nintendo Switch. We had the chance to check it out.

What is Detective Pikachu Returns? What’s this game about?

Detective Pikachu Returns is the sequel to the original Detective Pikachu video game, which was released on Nintendo 3DS in North America in 2018.

Detective Pikachu Returns takes place two years after the events of the first game. The game takes players to Ryme City, where they’ll help a young college student named Tim Goodman investigate mysteries and solve cases alongside his talking partner Pokemon, Detective Pikachu. Along the way, players will work to figure out what happened to Tim’s missing father, Harry.

While Detective Pikachu Returns is the sequel to the original Detective Pikachu video game, players aren’t required to play the first game (or watch the Detective Pikachu movie that was inspired by the game) in order to play Detective Pikachu Returns. As players make their way through Detective Pikachu Returns, the game will provide a recap and information about what happened in the first game to bring players up to speed.

How do you play this game?

Detective Pikachu Returns challenges players to solve a series of cases and mysteries by investigating locations and interviewing citizens. During each chapter, Tim will gather information by talking to human characters, while Pikachu will talk to Pokemon. While most humans can’t understand what Pikachu is saying, Tim can have full conversations with Pikachu, and the pair will work together to solve each mystery.

Along the way, players will also receive help from a variety of helper Pokemon, who each have a different skill. For instance, Growlithe has a great sense of smell that can be used to track down people and objects.

The gameplay here is very straightforward, and there’s no way to “fail” or “lose” the game. As players explore environments, a prompt will appear on the screen anytime players are near something they can investigate. So long as players are thorough in exploring each area, they shouldn’t get “stuck” without knowing what to do next. However, if players need help, they can use the game’s hint feature to consult Pikachu and receive a clue about what to do next.

As players interview citizens and collect evidence, key information will be added to their notebook. Once players have gathered enough information to progress in the story, a “Begin Deducing” option will appear in the notebook that will allow them to determine the answer to a question or figure out what happened during a specific portion of each “incident” or mystery.

Source: Nintendo

When players “deduce,” one or more options (possibilities) will appear and players will need to select the correct one based on what they’ve learned during the case. For instance, during the game’s first real case, players will be asked to determine how an object was stolen by choosing from multiple options. Typically, there are multiple options to choose from, but in some instances, only a single option is available. 

Near the end of each investigation, players will also be asked to select the correct options during conversations as Tim explains what happened throughout the incident.

Players aren’t penalized if they select the wrong answers during conversations or while deducing. They can simply try again and choose another option.

Similarly, players can take on optional side quests during some cases, but there’s no penalty for not finishing these tasks.

Finally, while Detective Pikachu Returns is more focused on telling a story than intense action, some action sequences do take place. Some of these sequences will ask players to rapidly press a button or tap a button at the correct time as prompts appear on the screen.

Source: Nintendo

Is this game fun to play?

We really enjoyed Detective Pikachu Returns. The game is fairly slow moving, and it sometimes feels like Tim and Pikachu take too long to “figure things out” (that is, you may determine what happened before they do), but we really enjoyed the game’s story.

That being said, even though Detective Pikachu Returns is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, the game may not be appropriate for young children, since the storyline touches on some mature and complicated topics, including death and sacrifice. In addition, players need to know how to read, since the game only features partial voice acting and there’s a lot of text to read.

Is there anything else parents need to know about this game?

Detective Pikachu Returns offers a helpful chat log feature that allows players to re-read recent conversations to see what was previously said (older conversations will eventually disappear as players keep progressing).

In addition, parents should know that Detective Pikachu Returns will likely take players more than 10 hours to complete, depending on their reading speed, whether or not they complete all of the game’s side quests, and other factors.

Source: Nintendo

What’s the final verdict?

Detective Pikachu Returns is a fun, story-driven game that features an interesting story that kept us playing through to the end. While the game may not be appropriate for the youngest players in the family, we recommend this experience for older kids, teens, and adults.

Detective Pikachu Returns is now available on Nintendo Switch for $49.99. The game is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

Disclosure: Nintendo gave SuperParent a code for Detective Pikachu Returns for coverage purposes.

Brandy Berthelson

Brandy Berthelson has been writing about video games and technology since 2006, with her work appearing on sites including AOL Games, Digital Spy, and Adweek. When she’s not gaming, Brandy enjoys crafting, baking, and traveling with her husband.

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