The Worst Pokémon Game

Yay it’s time for Chibi Pinkie to play again! While this post goes life I am at playing the dutch theme park the Efteling with an amazing friend of mine, this week has not been so fun for Chibi Pinkie. Not only are we a bit sick I also have to review the worst Pokémon game ever made. Fun and me had no fun with this one. By far the most horrible and unplayable Pokémon game of them all. Hey You Pikachu!

The Disclaimer

Hey You Pikachu never got launched in Europe. However trough having a big friend who is working for an even bigger international  gaming company, as well as having known (past tense) retro game dealers I managed to actually play this one and even finish it. However I do not own the game I just played it knowing full well the material is not optimised for us. Some of my gripes will be a result of that. Prior to this review I brushed up on the game however by watching several playthroughs and I noticed plenty of people had the exact same gripes (just a bit less tedious) This game got very mixed reviews and ended up with passable grades on Metacritic so I do guess this doesn’t apply to everyone. If this game  works for you, good on you but I very much hate this ‘game’

The Concept

When Pokémon Stadium was a big succes a people  aid bucks extra for a peripheral to transfer their beloved poképals to the N64. Seeking to do something similar they designed yet another attachment for your controller. they could charge you extra for, this time you would be able to talk to your Pokémon. In this game you play the nameless and even shapeless protagonist this time that once more gets hired by our good old pal Samuel to do yet another form of research. This time his newest invention allows you to befriend wild Pokémon and gaining their trust. The concept is a stroke of brilliance, this could have been such a great game if it had been designed better. The idea of winning a pokémon’s trust and actually focus on the budding bonds between a human and a singular pokémon is something that in these days I would crowdfund immediately.  This is what I would have wanted Tamagotchi to be. The Pokémon you encounter of course is Pikachu which is arguably a bit uninspired, but don’t worry that wasn’t no where near the only uninspired thing in this game. By talking to Pikachu you can go on , sort of adventures with him to collect leafs, catch fish toss a ball and suchlike things. All in order to win that Pikachu’s heart and earn the most horrible ending in a kids game ever. bit but more on that later. Pikachu can buy stuff from a store, you can pick up items while Pikachu follows and of course you can talk to your Pikachu and it can respond to you. Unfortunately it listens about as well as a Lvl 100 Missingno traded to you before you have any gym badges, whilst you try to operate the menu blindfold would in the main games. Oh right and you only have moves with like 50% hit chance… and your pokémon is confused… and paralysed. Commanding a Pokémon like that just about is the feeling that this game will give you.

The Atmosphere:

Pikachu lives in Viridian Forest which basically looks like it copied the textures of Ocarina of time, which at least in Japan launched at the same time. Making the looks feel adequate on intial glance. Because saying positive stuff is fun i’ll say the area’s  the game is set in are charmingly mediocre and pikachu looks and sounds cute. Pokémon have their names as cry which brings some charm to this and that is where the positives end. Regretfully I am not only talking about the atmosphere… this is it for the game. It’s cute to look at and see Pokémon do their thing. Pokémon Snap however can do that for you as well however and so much better.  Where you have 7 very different locations on that one… this one is just grasslands .. sometimes with a bit of water. It makes sense because it is set in a much smaller area but jeez some fauna would be much appreciated. By far the WORST sin in terms of Atmosphere is how the actual ‘levels’ are designed. Item placement is so random it looks like Michael J Fox with a mouse was in charge of placing them.  On a grassfield with no bushes or trees at all you can find 12 strawberries laying around, just scattered around. Pokémon to interact with are treated in a similar fashion. Guys I know you made this game for kids but does the term world building mean anything to you? Pokémon tend to group together. this would be the ideal game to show that off. Have a family of Oddish fight over some strawberries and let Pikachu bring them a few! Awesomesauce. But no.. the Oddish are scattered and don’t interact with each other at all.  Fishing for Seaking or Goldeen’s will produce super tiny fish which don’t have an appropriate size. Items show up with no rhyme or reason and the laws of the world make no sense at all. At one point Pikachu can shop with money while for remainder of the adventure it is just a pet, mixing the Pokémon Mystery Explorers world a bit with that of one similar to snap feels odd and non-cohesive as everything else in the game. Though flour and eggs, milk sugar salt. love and sprinkles could make a wonderful cake together when combined properly, just tossing some flour eggs and sprinkles in a pot and baking the living shiitake mushrooms out of them and then cooling it down with milk you had a lovely day with, does not result in the same thing. Hey You has the ingredients of a game, even a decent one at that.. but the elements don’t gel into a cohesive product..we end up with just some ruined ingredients.

The Technical Thingies

Dear Arceus who art in better games. If Tommy Wisseau could write and design a more cohesive world, the game designers of Big Rigs over the Road Racing, could have made a more functional game.. it would be close but at least when you play that game you are winner. (And yes I written that correctly) Let me be straight with you.. this game doesn’t work.
It starts and you can finish it but it doesn’t work. It isn’t prone to crashing nor is their something really broken about the game… it just doesn’t work.  Voice control is atrociously bad, thus there is no gameplay. When you make a sound there is a 1 in X chance Pikachu chooses the word you want it to hear. Mechanically wise this basicly results  in gameplay mechanics that are akin to roll a 3 on a d6 to progress. A one and two will result in something cute , 4 5 and 6 may even hinder your progress or will annoy Pikachu. Progress is possible it’s just up to a matter of  ever so slightly manipulable chance. The game works as follows, you read some dialogue and examine some items and everything in Red Text or Blue Text can be recognised as a command. For example Oddish, Pikachu, Throw or Thunderbolt. Simple enough should work but it really doesn’t With my accent it’s a total no go while these are really simple words.  Trying to make Pikachu buy the middle item in a shop failed so often I almost cried in frustration while the Oddish level is a showcase of bad design. Think about it’s 20 years ago and voice technology is still really coming up and there is a plethora of issues. In one level you have to make Pikachu water a radish to let it sprout as oddish.  The voice command would be “Pikachu Water a radish”.


Issue number 1, Pikachu has to hold the watering can but he will snag about everything else you hold in your hand as soon as he gets to close.  Annoying but overcomeable, now when you water a radish it becomes an Oddish… which is also a separately recognisable word. Voice tech isn’t that great so as soon as the first Oddish sprouts out of the ground, you have about a 50% chance from Pikachu getting the next “radish” command right.  In the entire rest of the map you only find strawberries. which is again a word. “Water A’ and Strawberry are kinda similar in sounds once you pronounce them vast enough. So now at best.. you have a 25% chance of actually being able to execute the task, and that is if Pikachu even choses to recognise the words at all.  Since the voice is basically your only option to make Pikachu do anything it kinda gets frustration when you end up with about a 10% accuracy in your commands. Compare it to playing Mario but 9 out of 10 times the A button doesnt work. Doesn’t that sound delightful. If Pikachu holds an item and he gets frustrated because he doesn’t understand you… he oftenly tosses it, depending on where it flies of too (the physics are rather extreme)  you might not be able to get that item anymore that day. Yes thats right I said that DAY , the game that listens to you 10% of the time… has a time limit.
This game does not work.

The gameplay

To describe how this game plays I am going to use a comparison. Imagine taking one of those children that feature in those supernanny shows too a foreign museum of modern arts. Now imagine that kid drank about two liters of red bull prior to this event. Now you are given the task to keep him in check whilst learning yourself about some artwork that is made of random stuff stuck in a oversized plush  torso. and I mean random stuff like.. red dyed drainpipe.. and straw bundles with LED lights in them. The kid keeps asking you to tell him what to do Dora the Explorer style. This would be about the same experience as playing Hey You Pikachu. The latter having the advantage that you can rip out the cartridge and toss it out of the window… but still, Sans would be surprised how bad a very bad time could be ..should he put his hands on this  game. This is made worse by Pikachu’s horrible walking speed. It’s cute to see him waddle, that genuinely still made me happy, but seriously he is slower than any windows update. When you make Pikachu walk from place A to B , Disney will have released two new live action remakes by the time he gets there, oh and have I mentioned the game has a time limited. Those two go together super well. Now Pikachu CAN run… he just rarely does it. “Pikachu picked up a A STRAWBERRY, It wants you to guess what it is holding”  is the text prompt that follows when I decided to just move to him’
‘Strawberry’ I say. Pikachu nods! I guessed correctly! Wow.. so it can still work. ‘Pikachu eat Strawberry’ is what I say next. Even though the word is not in this game Pikachu clearly must have heard, Pikachu YEET Strawberry’ as th Strawberry wizzes past my ear.. it’s gone.
It looks upset because he wanted to eat it. The day is over…. isn’t this fun.
Now the game is still cute to look it, so cute even that it might have been enough if not for the horrible way this game ends. Mass Effect 3 had briljant choices compared to this.  You know those “it was all a dream endings we pretty much universally hate?”

This is worse.
So you are a kid without a pokémon of your own over the course you befriend Pikachu and it even follows you home and sleeps on your bed as your bonds grow.  You have yelled at Pikachu , cried in your pillow of frustration that it doesn’t listen and even considered giving up on being a gamer because this just isn’t fun and this isnt working at all.  All your hard work will be worth it in the end right? You get to capture Pikachu and use the voice commands to have a battle with it right? How amazing would that have been for an ending! Unfortunately we do not get such a cool ending… nor does this game just fizzle out like Pokémon Snap kinda did.  In the end, you release Pikachu back into the wild!
The game ends with you saying farewell to Pikachu and it cries as it runs off into the forest knowing that it will never see you again. The only reward you get as a player for stomaching trough this yank as frizzlesticks game is another punch in the gut.  All your progress is nullified, that bond you earned is severed and Oak has some research that has never been used again in the entire world of Pokémon. At least that kid you took to the museum MIGHT say thank you for the nice day Miss Pinkie.. or insert your name. It is nice and consistent though, you get punished for playing , you get punished for finishing it oh and of course you get punished for buying this because you had to buy that microphone for it too.. that no other game used. This game is like an inverted stress ball. I legitimately have a bad heart and this game frustrated me so much that I actually noticed it harming my rhythm. 

The Verdict

The title and the rest of the blog have pretty much made clear that I will give this the lowest score in my ranking system. This is a cute-ish game to look at and that is the best credit I can give it.  There is no effort in designing a stage and items have randomly been placed just to cater to the extremely young and it’s to frustrating for them . This game should only be played if you do not care what actual happens… which kinda defeats the purpose of playing a game to begin with. Seaman which released earlier is the better microphone game.. much weirder…but he at least reacted a bit. Pokémon Snap is the cuter game to look at and let just run. A pikachu plush is cheaper and less frustrating and about as interactive.
When it comes to pokémon, you gotta catch em all, however when it comes to Pokémon-Games you can easily Leaf this one alone.

Now unless the creepy jester of the Efteling kills me , I harm my back and neck even further than I already have in the rides or if I get sick from the theme park food, we shall be back tomorrow where we will answer the questions of our Sunshine Blogger award finally! Keep following me for that one! Leave a like, follow the blog, make a witty comment and remember:
I am not weird just very pink!
Until we read again

Wait Pikacchu what are you doing to my room?!

Classic Review: Pokémon Snap

Yay it’s finally saturday, which means I can finally come out to play! The others Pinkie’s might be bigger than me and have like important jobs and such …but just because I am just a chibi doesn’t mean you can think little of me! I am the Pinkie that discusses like the actual fun of playing like the games or who plays with the toys and the likes. Today I decided a classic Pokémon game a lot of people seem to like! My Pokémon Fun the Mime Jr will play it along side of me! Even if this is a single player game! Today me and Fun wil play Pokémon Snap on Nintendo 64.

The concept

Uhm even though I find this a bit of a difficult word, the main Pinkie told me I should talk  about what’s the game about here so here goes! This game is like a 3d on rail shooter… but like not one of those mean ones where you kill people or monsters while a lot of angry music blasts through your speakers.In this game you shoot, with a roll of film… well quite a few a rolls actually.  You play the role of Todd “Gimme any name’ Snap. A photographer that one his adventures once encountered a Mew but Mr Snap failed to snap it on camera. Luckily after he is tired of the Pokédex and Red, Oak calls Todd to investigate a mysterious place called Pokémon Island. On this Island Mew is to roam and it’s up to our generic looking hero to succeed where he failed before. Generic looking as he may be, he has a nice short! Gotta love the colour. Poké-Island is pretty rough terrain for a hike though, so luckily professor Oak shows us his skill in engineering as he made an all  terrain vehicle named the Zero-One… and I mean ALL-Terrain. Mr Snap can take this yellow basket looking vehicle thing out to seven stages that unlock as you complete puzzles or score enough points. Yes points, rather than paying the young photographer in cash, professor Oak hands him points based on how good your photograph is. Earn enough points and you will get new tools and sometimes stages. Solving puzzles with these tools will allow you to snap new pokémon or progress in the game even further. It is a nice idea that is executed quite well and some puzzles are very clever, but more on that later. A lot of people are still hoping for a sequel and given how far the pokémon world has progressed  it could make for a nice beefy and mostly relaxing game! This one really misses out on the beefy part.

The Atmosphere

Professor Pinkie told me, I should tell how a game looks, sounds and feels on this spot. So I think, this is what Pokémon Snap does best! It looks super cute! The pokémon are very recognisable and are lively, they do their own thing and if you bonk them with an apple or pester ball on the head they react to it in a funny way! The best thing is, Pokémon have their anime cries. That means every single pokémon states their name or a part of it. Jigglypuff sings it’s iconic song if you save it in a cave, Pikachu is full of Pika-Pika’s and shellder pop out of the water with their cute..yet somehow annoying shell, cry. The 7 stages are very diverse and though they are short they are filled with fun things and easter eggs. Like a surfboard for Pikachu or zelda like walls. Of course this is a game of 19 years ago and yes you will spot it, but the way they move and flow around, it really doesn’t feel that old. The fact that this thing is on rails instead of a massive stretch of land might really help with that. The Pokémon theming is done very VERY well. Originally this game would be launched as Jack and the Beanstalk for something called the Nintendo 64DD , which was supposed to be like an extension or something, but with that falling through Pokémon Snap was born.  Normally when a game originally is something else you really notice it. Think Super Mario Land 2 for example. You can easily tell it was Doki Doki Panic first, well not the title of course.. but you can tell it used to be a NOT mario game. Snap can let you lure a slowpoke to a shellder infested river so it can evolve, you can see meowth being mischievous and you can see Snorlax sleeping peacefully. Everything FEELS like pokémon. They look like Pokémon and sound like Pokémon as well. Graveler looks kinda bad though!

Except for Graveler not being as sleekly designed as he could be, the only complaint I have is how boring the non pokémon stuff is. The nature in stages are fine.. but the items and technology thingies are bland and seem to not contribute anything. Todd is blander than Pidgey and never gets anything going for him. The Zero-One.. though practical.. is just a basket on wheels and doesn’t really seem like the best thing to send on this adventure. That loading screen where Oak waves at the Snap kid makes them both look terrible. However this is kind of a nitpick, cause you only see those elements at the beginning and ending of a stage. The stages themselves like the pokémon are wonderful and varied.

Technical Thingies

So how is the game build? Did the makers do their jobs well?  Does it control well? I really liked the easy controls myself, even though that Nintendo 64 controller  kinda looks like an evil spaceship thingy that can easily cripple you. The biggest problem with Pokémon Snap’s  control on the original system actually is Mario Party. I played a lot of Mario Party on my N64 so all my controllers are a bit..wonky because of certain spin the analogue stick mini games. This gave me some issues while playing this, but for the most time it worked well.  Controls are fairly decently chosen , though I personally would have preferred all items to work from the C pad, like Zelda instead of just one. That being said the apple and the pester ball are a lot more frequent so I get why this was chosen still as soon as you unlock everything it kinda feels odd. Except for some pop up here and there, the game feels quite smooth actually. The main part of the game , shooting pictures works wonders! I like the Z button for photograph mode controls. It is easy to take cute snaps, and easy to send them to the professor. Everything flows. .. except for the throwing.  Throwing apples and pester balls onto pokémon reacts way to specifically. There is no auto-aim whats so ever so be prepared to toss a gazillion apples. Hitboxes can be weird at times and sometimes you knock a pokémon back with a pester ball but sometimes you need an apple for that same job. The balls are filled with some annoying gaslike thing so it would make sense to for it to have an extended hitbox..but no to pester a pokemon you gotta hit it flat on the head. Aside from tossing the technical side is solid as a rock-type though.

The gameplay

Many people adore this game and in the general review scene it would score between a 7,5 and 8,5 out of 10. There is one magazine that has a really weird point score that goes up to 40 and I think they got 30 or so there. Though I had amazing fun playing this game.. I am more in line with the review people as the general public.  This game is not a timeless classic. It’s a snack that is great fun. Though it is great fun to take all the snapshots, the fact that it doesn’t feature all 151 original pokémon is understandable, yet 63 feels like such an odd number as well, especially how easy it is to get them. While progressing to mew, I discovered 54 species without any trouble.  In part because of the gameplay in my eyes biggest flaws. Pictures professor Oak disapproves off still count towards your “Pokédex’
You can litteralty shoot the foot of Kangaskhan in the first stage and it will still be logged towards your completion process. Though your point count helps unlock items, like the Pokéflute, making bad photos still counts, just very slowly. It takes away some of the magic of the game. Puzzles however are positively interesting. There are spots where pokémon can evolve if you interact with it in a specific way. Knock that charmeleon into a lava pit with an apple and bam you have charizard.  Toss an item at Electrode and it will self destruct, which might unlock new secrets, bait a Slowpoke to a shellder pool and congratulations that Slowpoke evolves into a Slowbro! These are fun and oftenly quite clever. Puzzles that you need to complete are nicely telegraphed to the player without it being in your face obvious on your first run either, you really need to look around! These are even fun for non-pokémon players. The only one that might not work for a non Poké-player would be the Slowbro one because the evolution lore is never conveyed to the player. Maybe the diglett you have to snap three times as well.  All the other puzzles are something the game can communicate to you and you find out by playing around with your items and pokemon. Progression is possible for everyone and the game knows what it is doing and relays the needed information to it’s players.

Unfortunately all that cleverness is thrown out the window for the final encounter. The way you snap Mew is so dumb that it aggravates me.  Once you enter the rainbow cloud you see Mew in a barrier that lights up once you photograph it, ensuring it will not be seen. You solve this by tossing apples onto it’s barrier until they break it.  The Pokémon that created all Pokémon life, who has the power to learn every more, shoot fire that can melt through mountains, that inspired the ultimate weapon Pokémon.. which was basically just a clone.. can be stopped by six apples.  How cool would it have been if we could use everything we learned so far to break it’s barrier. Knock a zubat out of the sky with an apple so it heals it.. losing energy to his barrier, then wake up a pokémon with the flute while we see Mew losing some energy playing with it. Using the dash engine to ram into the barrier while it gets closer and the likes.  Or keep it even cuter. Feed a pokémon with an apple, save a pokemon being bullied with a pester ball, wake a sleeping mother pokemon so she can take care of her kids and eventually Mew sees you love pokémon and reveals itself. Instead we really do get in my opinion of of the worst final stages in gaming history! Meany developers this could have ended so amazing.


I would not have minded the final stage so much if the road towards it was nice and beefy, but you can finish this game  very easily. Within 3 to 6 hours you can beat this game if you can keep your eyes peeled, maybe a bit more if you don’t have the logic sense of a gamer. Speedrunners are even able to 100% complete this game in 24 minutes. That time gap is mostly due to the second gameplay element that can feel a bit iffy, the photo ratings.
At the end of each stage Professor Oak will give you an evaluation of your Pokémon. Size, Pose and is it in the middle of the camera.  That last one works perfectly. The other two are sometimes a bit hard to find out what oak exactly likes to see. A pokémon doing an attack will always give you good points but not every pokémon does that. Sometimes the pose is connected to a seemingly random set of frames. I managed to capture a dragonite during my run and it popped out with a huge smile on it’s face and the moment I snapped it it looked exactly like it was giving me a thumbs up. It was the cutest photo I took during those 3  and a bit hours and Oak didn’t like it all that much! Waaaaaaah! My favorite photograph!
The ratings can make the game feel a bit more static, but if you are just out here to be driven around in the cart and snap Pokémon it’s nothing too bad. It just can break your heart a little of that greyed fool baka meany professor doesn’t like that one truly amazing photograph.

Score

I truly loved replaying this game, I had an amazing time while playing it. Yet though I love spending time with this game, I do not necessarily love the game.  It is definitely worth picking up for an evening when you just want to relax and it ages amazingly well. It doesn’t feel all that retro, in a way it still feels like a modern game. It feels like one of those 20 dollar games you buy on steam these days, you know it’s short but it’s great while it lasts and it’s flaws are easily ignorable for how long the game lasts.  The game feels like it was made for “one evening’ and one might argue we should judge it as such. But I am not going to do that. It feels wrong. It feels like saying you love a hooker as much as a wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend . Simply because  the one may satisfy you fully that one time doesn’t mean she is 100% satisfactory! Pokémon Snap is an enjoyable ride but it is not something you will come back to each night.  It might not it’s intention to last for longer but if we go compare it to a life partner, those can still be fun for that one particular night as well as an entire life. That is why I mark Snap one grade own!

<\ I really need to talk to this girl about her analogies ‘Pinkie Prime>

I am absolutely eager to see a sequel game  someday with hopefully just a bit more flesh on it’s bones and a better final encounter.Until then snacking this will have to do!  Have you ever played Snap? What monster did snap on camera last? Next week you will find me shouting at a pikachu but remember:
I am not weird, just very pink!
Until we read again.