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Finally, the answer to the question we've all been asking ourselves for two decades: what if Pikachu was a no-nonsense private eye? It shouldn't surprise anyone that Detective Pikachu is an incredibly silly spin-off for the Pokémon series, but it has its charms as well—not least of which is Pikachu's little deerstalker hat. Make no mistake though, this is a game for young audiences. A lot of the game feels like a simplified version of Phoenix Wright, which isn't necessarily bad but makes it difficult to feel invested in the story or gameplay. Like any good detective story the game opens with several bits of intrigue: Detective Pikachu is an intelligent Pokémon that can speak, but only Tim Goodman is able to understand him. Pikachu used to be the partner Pokémon of Tim's father Harry, but Harry went missing two months ago while working a case. Now Tim and Pikachu are teaming up to unravel the mysterious circumstances of his disappearance. Not a bad start to the game's story, but remember that this game is pretty clearly aimed at young audiences, so each new mystery you encounter isn't all that elaborate. The game also falls into the same annoying habit as Phoenix Wright of forcing you to walk through each detail even when you've already realized what the solution is. The writing is definitely cute but maybe not quite cute enough to justify these somewhat tedious moments of slow plot development. And ultimately the game ends on a disappointing cliffhanger, one that fails to actually resolve any of the big mysteries presented in the game. It's understandable that they'd want to keep some threads open for a possible sequel but the lack of a strong resolution means the game ends on more of a whimper than a bang. The core gameplay in Detective Pikachu is pretty much exactly what you'd expect: collect evidence, talk to witnesses, then pieces together the clues to uncover the truth. There's always something satisfying about picking up new bits of information in games like this, though there is a fair bit of repetitive action at times as you learn one new detail then run back to a previous witness to check what they know about it, then run back to the previous screen, etc. And don't worry if detective work isn't your strong suit—you basically can't fail in Detective Pikachu, and the game throws hints or suggestions at you constantly to keep you on track. In fact it's pretty annoying at times how much the game doesn't expect you to remember basic details that you just went over. You might hear new testimony from a witness, and then immediately afterward Pikachu will chime in reminding you of what you learned. There's helping novice players and then there's just not trusting players to understand your game, and Detective Pikachu too often falls into the latter category. Occasionally you do get a few action scenes when things get hairy. These play out as quick-time events, and again there's little penalty for messing anything up. The developers may have wanted to keep things exciting for the player but quick-time events are just about the laziest way to do it—nothing of value would be lost if they were dropped entirely. The game's mysteries take you to a variety of locations but there's not that much interesting design in the visual department. Detective Pikachu draws from quite a variety of Pokémon to fill the cast—it's nice to see that it's not just limited to one or two generations—but the art style is just so bland. It may not be realistic to expect anything elaborate from a spin-off Pokémon game but the generic scenery is kind of a bummer. The same can be said for the music, which isn't necessarily bad but it just doesn't excite any emotion or reaction. The one saving grace of the presentation and arguably the entire game is every interaction with Detective Pikachu. It may be a silly twist but his gruff voice really is funny to hear from everyone's favorite Pokémon, and over the course of the game you can watch dozens of little skits with Pikachu. It's not like the writing is any more elaborate with these short cutscenes but they're charming in a child-like way. You can expect Detective Pikachu to last around ten hours or so—not a bad length, but since it's a mystery game there's basically zero replay value. The only things that might keep you coming back to the game are the aforementioned skits which are missable in each chapter. However, if you have the Detective Pikachu amiibo, you can unlock all of them for whatever chapter you have progressed to—pretty handy if you don't want to sift through each chapter to find them. Detective Pikachu is a cute spin-off that features an amusingly bizarre take on the most recognizable Pokémon in the world, but so much of the game feels simplified. It's possible to make a game that appeals to children and adults alike, is accessible but still engaging and rewarding, but Detective Pikachu isn't that kind of game. Instead it focuses on making everything as easy as possible for a very young audience, which might leave other players feeling somewhat left out. Pokémon fans will still enjoy seeing a new side of human-Pokémon interactions, but be prepared for a basic detective story. Rating: 6 out of 10 Pikachus As long as you're looking for Detective Pikachu content check out Kirbymeister2's video review here.