Game Freak’s free, “rambunctious action RPG,” Pokémon Quest, is finally available for mobile devices. Though it may have launched on the Nintendo Switch first, it’s the iOS and Android versions that feel like the most natural place to play the game.
Pokémon Quest’s model is not conducive to long stretches of play time. The cube-y, cutesy adventure is a mix of tap-driven battles and passive gameplay popularized by games like Neko Atsume. You split your time between a base camp, where you can train your pokémon or cook up food to attract new friends, and adventuring through the island. But your actions are gated by time limits. If you want to fight, you’ll have to make sure you have the battery energy to do so; cooking meals requires you to step away and go explore.
On the Switch, this means you’re in for a lot of downtime, unless you want to empty your pockets to speed up the process. The game has in-game transactions that will get you additional items or more tickets to speed up your battery recovery, but you’re better off taking it slowly. Mobile games by nature, however, are perfect for this piecemeal play style. You can get through a level in Pokémon Quest in just a few minutes, making it easy to engage with on a short commute. The game also rewards you for checking in at least once a day with free tickets you can grab every 24 hours, rather than encouraging you to play for several hours at a time.
The only downside is that players who already spent money (like me) or time building their teams on the Switch won’t be able to salvage any of that progress. It’s a fresh start. Whether that means you’re willing to ditch your old game or keep them both (also like me) is up to you; the Switch is portable in its own right, but you can’t toggle texts and team training in a few taps. For new players debating which version to play, starting with a version you can pocket at will is the way to go.