All of the Pokemon games have offered a way to play with others, either by trading Pokemon with someone else or battling another person. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! amps that up by increasing the connection options. It retains the whole trading and battling systems we expect to see, but introduces some other methods of connecting with other people or games. In each case, it tries to make things as simple as possible and offer all sorts of benefits to incentivize the experience. More often than not, this works pretty well, though some of these means of connecting work better than others.
The most obvious way to connect in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! is the ability to shake a Joy-Con to bring someone else in to play as an aide. In towns and on the world map, this extra trainer is essentially the human equivalent of a walking Pokemon. They are there for show, though it does mean having two extra Pokemon walking outside of their Poke Balls. Their real utility comes when battling and catching. Standard 1v1 matches become 2v1 in your favor, while catching gives you two Poke Balls at once that, if thrown at the right time, can combine and increase the chances of catching the Pokemon you are attempting to get.
This is really a mode designed more for playing with young children or the very inexperienced, but can be easily exploited to help solo players. In my case, when I saw my first shiny (a Diglett), I triggered co-op on my own to make things go more quickly. I also played cooperatively alone in the Game Corner, to help make that segment of the game go faster. But it came in most handy when I was trying to keep combos high in the hopes of getting better Pokemon or luring in shinies. While catching in general is easier in Handheld mode, when I was looking to try and get enough Vulpixes to acquire candies that would make mine stronger, I was turning to “co-op” to make the experience a little easier.
The Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! GO Park feature is another great inclusion that made me wish I had been more active in Pokemon GO. Once you get to Fuchsia Town, you can head in and start connecting with the mobile game. It involves a lot of steps, but pays off. You need to go to your Nintendo Switch options menu and choose Pokemon GO settings to start connecting, then need to open up Pokemon GO on your mobile device, go to its settings, and choose to connect to a Nintendo Switch. Once the two devices are connected, you need to go to your general Pokemon list in Pokemon GO, tap the Nintendo Switch icon, then click the characters you want to send that can head over. You then have to choose to bring Pokemon over in the Nintendo Switch game. It takes some time and works best if you are some place where you can really set things down and go back and forth.
I was a little surprised at the size of the GO Parks in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee!. It took me a minute to realize where all the characters were. It also made me realize I really should have stocked up on Poke Balls before I popped in. My second transfer involved sending a Meltan over, and I did not think the little guy would be so difficult to catch again in the park. (After transferring a Pokemon to a GO Park, you actually have to catch them again to add them to your collection.) He ended up running from me twice and it took about 15 Ultra Balls, but I finally made him mine (again). While this is relatively easy and reminded me of the Safari Zone that this facility replaces, I do wish it had been easier to access earlier in the game. This is mainly because most of the Pokemon I transferred over were under level 30, making them less likely to become a part of my level 50 and up lineup at that point in the game.
I do wish the online interactions were handled a bit better. To do things with people over the internet, all you have to do is head into the main menu at any time, choose Communicate, then pick Play with Others. You can choose from Link Trade, Single Battle, and Double Battle in this section. However, you can’t choose who you connect with. There are 10 Pokemon icons to choose from, and you pick three to get paired up. It is possible to get paired up with someone else, though it is unlikely with some combinations. Considering how well past handheld Pokemon trading and battling methods worked, it would have been nice to see something a bit more organized and clear appear here. It almost feels like this input method was an attempt to make things less complicated, but it could lead to some frustrating if you use an incredibly simple code (like three Pikachus) or a code that uses popular Pokemon, like Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Eevee.
The best thing I can say about the Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! connection features is that they all can make it easier to acquire all 150 Pokemon. Taking advantage of the co-op function can let you take advantage of capturing bonuses by tossing Poke Balls at the same time. Using Pokemon GO can give you ways to get version-exclusive characters or boost your Pokedex count. I suppose someone could even take advantage of the online trading and battling system to see if they could encounter random people by inputting common codes to connect. It tries to make things easy, which lets with the idea that this is supposed to be a less complex Pokemon.
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! are available for the Nintendo Switch.