A Bitter Girl in a Pokémon Candyland: Pokémon Sweet 2th Review

Hello Island Guests, as you know I search the lands far and wide to play interesting Pokémon Rom Hacks and fan games. One of my all time favourites was Pokémon Sweet Edition, a game where Pokémon turn in all sorts of pastries and sweets and their typings get replaced by flavours.  It was adorable. The only thing that was annoying was that it was set in canydised Kanto.. we have seen that region so much before! So when the sequel offered us Mega Sweets and a region they built from the scraps of Kanto.. I could not wait. However lighting never strikes twice apparently.

Lemony Road

Pokémon Sweet version did not offer a wide variety of candies, by my guess there would be like 90 or so?! I am not fully sure! This game was marketed as more candies, more variations, bigger regions and a story about mega evolutions. Or Mega Sweets..  I may use original terminology here to make this all a bit more understandable. Immediately the game starts with a bit of a set back. You see this game offers you the exact same starters as the first game. Browniesaur, Strawmander and Squirpie! While cute and actually pretty balanced Pokésweets there is a problem. The prequel already allowed  me to obtain all three and I ran most of them.. so I did not feel that compelled to use them. So I started with Squirpie the candy that I did not get to use enough the last time. An apple flavoured candy. After picking a starter something interesting happens though.. a choice that seems so smart but makes this game even more of a hassle.

Depending on what starter you pick you are locked in a certain route! You see in this game Pokésweets (the name for candy pokemon) have an ability to use a HM-move by instinct. Or they may not there is no real way to tell as far as I am aware. Browniesaur can cut trees, Squirpie can surf on the cream and Strawmander can roll around rocks. This is not explained very well so if you follow your trainer instinct you end up being stuck straight away. Each route leads to a Battle Bakery, which are basically gyms! Here you fight the head baker for a medal. If you have 8 medals you can participate in the pokéweets league. So far so good! Well.. the issue is the open ended route of this game. We can land at three separate gyms at first.  Either one you can challenge first depending on your starter.  While this sounds great it brings issues. Once you past the first one, the next two are no challenge at all and after them there is a lot of grinding to do because the game has to guide you to gym A B and C before moving on to D & E.. so while Pokémon felt super linear this feels like you are backtracking a lot! There are alternative ways to get somewhere but you need the pokésweets of routes anyway so instead of walking in a line we now zigzag our way through.

I do like the concept of a more open ended pokémon world but  you really need  a sliding leveling scale for that to work. Now some parts are super easy and starting on a next tier is super hard. The way the world map is designed is UGLY as well. It kinda feels like a kid has drawn a map with just some random aspects scattered anywhere. In Kanto , even in Pokémon’s sweet version everything felt unique. It had a reason to be there! There was a harbour town, there was a mining town, there was a town by ocean and a village of the dead.  Here most towns are copies of another with one having slightly more milk ponds or having the Pokésweet Center and the shop swapped around.  In the end I could not find the final badge I was missing because I felt .. I had been to that down before.. because it looked that much like another town. No village has a purpose.. it’s just a few houses.. in one house you get a move to teach your pokémon , in one house you get maybe some potions or have to trade some soda and in others there isn’t anything. The battle bakery sprites look really ugly in the world and lots of buildings have no doors. It just feels so sloppy. Put an asset on the world just so you can have an asset.

Since you need particular Pokésweets through travel through certain areas it quickly becomes tedious! I for the life of me could not found a Sweet that learned Rock Smash and if I gave up on a Pokésweet for not liking it’s design I often had to get it back still, because it was the only one who could roll away a boulder or cut a tree. It isn’t all bad though There are a few cool areas such as the halloween fields or the inverse world, where typings are different.. but those are few and far between. Weirdly I’d rather be playing Kanto yet again.. so unfortunately the world left a sour taste in my mouth. And it’s super pink! I loved it the last time around so why do I think it’s so ugly now?! Well because there went no love or thought into this.

A mixed Bag

Luckily there are the cute Pokésweets right?  Yes you are half right! Pokésweets are still very cute! For the most part! I got a really quite Chefchop which was a machop in a chef outfit with pink hands. I also got a muffloom which is a Muffin Gloom.. I could not evolve it though no matter how hard I tried.. some Pokésweets are a bit bugged. They might not actually evolve! So heck! I was stuck! Also for some weird reason. my Muffin Gloom could fly?! I am not complaining..but it’s pretty weird since I also had a banana bird who could not fly! These bugs were present in the original though and they come with the territory of Rom Hacks.. it’s a shame but you learn to deal with and move on. There are a lot more sweets this time around and there are some very very nice designed ones. Like Noibats sweet version. Who looks very pink and tasty. It has a bit of a donut-like quality. I also really liked oddish and Muffloom as I said before and here and there there are a few great new clever Pokésweets. So there is a charm to this! ..And then there are the “new” new ones.

In this game it is clear that you can tell who knew anything about pixel art and sprite design ..also who was invested in Pokésweet design and who is not. All those Pokésweets from last time look amazing and there are a handful of hits here as well.. There are also Pokémon that are just sprite swaps. Give Pignite a wine colour and it’s a grape flavoured Pokésweet. Same goes for Torchic and for about 60% of the new roster.  Pokemon either have one random element added to it.. like Treecko having a little mint leaf hat that clearly looks added.  It gets even worse that some sprites even get cut off. Like if Pignite fully evolves you get an Emboar that has no arms or leg as the sprite is cut off.  Same goes for Blaziken! The first game showed so much love, and this feels like a rushed project where most people don’t even seem to care. I wish I could go softer on it..because there ARE people who care in that team.. but there are also a lot of people who very clearly don’t and it’s just sooo noticeable.  

Now I could forgive bad sprites if the other flavouring was intact. It was super cute to see Pokémon use flavoured type moves like . Apple Claw, Zester or  Karate Choc! I used about 10 pokésweets during my journey and I have only gotten about 9 moves with candy-themed names. Four of them are on my Starter.  Which means 29 moves were just their literal game translation. A few Pokésweets never EVER learned a name based on sweets including Blaziken..whose sprite gets cut off. So now I have a yank Blaziken sprite.. with the same moves as a normal.. also Blaze Kick is a Strawberry movie while Ember counts as a lemon type move or something?  This may not be an actual example but it does happen that some moves just have been retyped randomly. This also leads to broken Pokesweets. For example Wineboar.. never learned any grape type moves. He learns a lot of lime ones.. but he doesn’t get the same type attack boosts thus suffers. You can feel that this group who designed the game lacked synergy. It feels fundamentally broken and given how great the first game is I can not forgive them for giving us THIS as a sequel.

No more Bug Types.. But there Sure are Bugs.

Still I would be willing to forgive them, it’s a fan game. Not everyone can design a great world, not every pokésweet you design can be a hit. Yet there is so much wrong with this game that in fact you almost nearly did not get a review!  It happened when I found a rare move I could move by pushing a Boulder, luckily I had a Sweet who could do that.  I got stuck! I saved my game and I got stuck!  Saving booted me to a menu and it resetted the rock position leaving me in a box from which there was no escape. By then I was, including grinding,  about four hours in the game and I had to restart my entire game. Luckily I had save stated before (I do not know how pokémon evolve so I do save states to quickly experiment)  Had I not.. all game progress would have ended as I would have locked myself in a game over type situation! Surely this counts a game breaking error. You can get trapped. Then there are pokésweets that should not evolve even if they should. Making your grinding them up a waste.   There are a few visual glitches and  the entire map has so little design in it that there are invisible walls everywhere! You can almost at EVERY  spot travel to the boundaries of the world and just bump the invisible wall. Pokémon at least brings some confines by placing mountain ranges in between.. or peer buoys or whatever. Here this is just part of the map map you can’t walk onto. Or even a pixelated mess of assets to form a barrier.

Mega evolutions are a cool new addition but I have not seen a single mega evolution work. Except for my Back Sprite, if someone uses a MEga evolution but me I see they activated it but the sprite does not activate.. it only activates if the pokémon is switched out, then the next pokémon that swaps in will show up as the actual mega sprite. So as cool as Mega evolutions are.. they are not in this game for you to see. Also it’s a wild guess who evolves! Besides from my starter I was unable to find any! Apparently Arbok mega evolves..into a blue form.. but I barely saw it..because I oneshot that Rattitart that it actually was. I got to see a few sprites during the final fight against my rival which I named Mailman! He used six Mega evolutions sweets but those are the only six sprites I saw. To fight him however you have to find all 12 mega sweets which are named after their flavour not the pokésweet that can evolve with it.  These can be given by any random people on the map or trough story. Which seems like a cool concept.. however the world is open now. Which means each town you can reach in three or four ways. So you have to interact with every single npc, on every single route and there is no clear indicator of items you have and dont have. If a mega sweet happens to be in your pc.. and you forget.. there is no way the game shows you have it.  You can be lost forever.

Pokéballs don’t break this time around, they are reasonable.. but if you try to switch bals you lose a pokeball of any type you used during that catch. While it has a major glitch this system is actually quite great! Just buy once and you only lose a ball upon a succesful catch! This makes the catching aspect really appealing and since this is a game where you really want to collect good on them! I managed to catch three boxes full of pokesweets in my journey and still I missed a lot of those that I already catched in the prequel. It also makes it pretty useless to buy any other pokéball than a sweet ball/pokeball.  Yet in later towns you can only buy the more expensive ones… so you have to backtrack. This game has so many great ideas but it’s just that everything and I mean everything ends up in a broken mess.

Artificial Sweetner

The story last time was kinda clever, featuring the evil team trying to steal all the rare candies to create the ultimate army. That is a great story! Dark Chocobun trying to betray humanity and you having to try and stop her felt pretty satisfactory. This time your rival is just a capital D who wants to rule the world. He fled into another world where all typings are inverted, which again would be clever..but the movesets are so random that it barely leaves an impact. The Chocolate bunnies who are deities of the candy world help you stop the guy ..and then there is a Pokésweet league that is not even part of the plot. All dialogue felt super lazy and while I actually cared and was invested in the plot of Sweet Version, Sweet 2th did nothing for me.  It’s just an evil guy! No twists, no development.. nothing! How? Clearly you had a great writer on board last time what happened here?! The last one was good?! It was really good.

Never ever have I seen such a drop in quality between the first and the second part. The first game I love to bits and if you want to play a Pokémon game filled with the delicious looking monsters that is the way to go! This one feels like it’s deformed , barely viable brother. I am sure it’s parents will love it..but that is about the extent the love goes. The map is horrible, un-inspired and very frustrating to traverse. It basically requires you to carry specific pokésweets all the time.. or at least typing wise. You can get trapped in several spots due to how bad the world is made.  Save a lot.. and use save states to avoid this.  While the original candy monsters are all sweet and adorable the majority of the new ones is either lazy or broken, their movesets have not been adjusted to fit their new flavouring what so ever. If you want a fun team you have to play the game “what do I think is the developers favourites , because not every pokésweet gets the same love.. With some bad luck like me you can have a team without any of the unique flavour but with all the broken stuff. Every cool system this game has comes with a huge downside due to not being balanced, as a result it is a glitchy mess that is playable and finishable but not enjoyable. The lackluster story finishes it off perfectly.

This game could have been passable if not for it’s sublime predecessor. It shows just how incapable this game is. This game has been done better, more balanced, more functional, more flavorful and a LOT sweeter.  Unless you want to really play Pokémon on a map that feels like a 10 year olds custom age of empire map or Tony Hawk Pro Skater custom course, I am gonna have to see I can’t find ANY reason for this game to exist. It does not expand the story of the first game, the new sweets are neglectable Therefore this is the first pokémon fan  game.. and perhaps even a pokémon game that gets my lowest rating. Guys I loved your first game to bits… but this feels like the Beta test of Pokémon Sweet that did not work out. Clever ideas.. is all it has..and a cute Noibat!   The first one is briljant still … this is it’s broken little brother! Pass on this one guys! It’s a waste of your time.. and teeth.

If you like me to play better games please consider supporting my Kofi so I can buy some decent ones! Or feel free to suggest a fun pokémon fan game/rom hack in the comments if you do not have any money to burn! I hope you all will check out the prequel! Despite everything I all wish you a sweet day!

Review: Pokémon Sweet Version

Now Pokémon is already a pretty cutsie franchise. Of course there are some though ferocious beasts to deal with as well and quite a few world ending schemes to be had but overall we can still say a majority of our pocket monster pals can be deemed cute.  Now what if we told you this cuteness can be put in overdrive? A game so sweet hat 9 out of 10 dentist recommend that you do not play this game. Chibi Pinki’s teeth might have rotted away.. she can’t stop smiling! It’s time to review Pokémon Sweet version.

The Concept

This game is sooo fun! It’s like super cute and amazing and sweet, but it’s also a bit tricky to get.  You see Pokémon Sweet version is a Romhack.. that means it used to be a rom for a gameboy emulator and some pretty nifty egghead people changed it around into a new game. Kinda like how you would find a person you like well enough but are a bit tired off.. then peel off all their flesh leaving just their vital systems intact and then building a new person from it..but less bloody. So it means you have to download an emulator and the rom. If you are unlucky you’d have to download an emulator , the original rom and a patch file taking you about 10 to 15 minutes or so. That’s longer than my attention span. 

(Hehe I got Blue Balls)

Anyway in Pokémon Sweet version.. which is free to play,  you travel to CandyLand, where roads are made out of fudge and the grass is not covered with dew but with frosting. Instead of trees cupcakes will grow and instead of fences people use candy canes. You live in rural Cookie Village where the road has been eaten by a woman. Because you are bored you decided to walk inside Professor Cinna’s lab, who was wanting to give her three apprentices a so called pokésweet. Yet one of them overslept.. your friend and rival ‘placeholder name Garysprite’ so she decides to give you a pokésweet instead.  Pokésweets are like pokémon..but sweeter they like to be eaten and grow back after they do. You can choose from Brownisaur the Cherry and Chocolate flavoured brownie, Strawmander the strawberry headed and tailed lizard and Squirpie the apple pie with a turtle body. Alongside your Pokésweet you are sent on a mission to catch all the other sweets to complete the cookbook for the good professor. Meanwhile you can obtain some gym badges from other pokésweet users so you can compete to be the pokésweet champion housed at Cake Castle. Pretty sweet right?

Well not everything is great in the land of Candyland! An evil team named Team Sour is after the secret of rare candies and wants to manipulate the two deities of the land , who happen to be two chocolate bunnies, to get their evil ways. It is up to your to salvage the rare candies and save Chocobun and Dark Chocobun.. the last one is like Chocobun but edgier. Team Sour is not the only obstacle in your way though, there is also the dreaded Candy Pirates who want all the pokésweets for themselves and their pink little outfits. Instead of pokémon typings each pokésweet has flavours, including but not limited too, vanilla chocolat , blueberry lime and orange! As flavours clash you’ll have to create a good enough flavor profile to overcome even the toughest of trainers, while harder than the original fire red.. victory in this game is double as sweet

The Atmosphere 

While Candyland is basicly Kanto but from Candy one would suspect a bit of a lazy copy past but nothing is further from the truth. This game is such a treat to play. With a lot of attention to detail. There’s about 150ish pokésweets but rather than the original 150 it takes pokémon from all across the first five generations to create the ultimate sweets. A lot of moves have been renamed , retyped and refitted to pokémon for optimal enjoyment. Instead of Snorlax knowing Rest and Snore.. we get Smorelax.. the marshmallow pokésweet that restores his health by using Zest, and while it sleeps it can use the move S’more to harm his foes. Strawizard learns to use Fruit Punch and Squirt Pie can use Apple Toss.  While a Pokésweet can still get burned , fall asleep or be paralysed they would not go poisonous as it would harm the flavour of the world. Instead a Pokésweet can go hungry and will begin to nom itself.

There is no ocean to swim on.. instead the sea is replaced by cream.. the lakes are filled with grape juice. Not a single element is out of place in Pokémon Sweet version. The number of items has been drastically reduced, most of the unnatural stuff is gone, replaced by extra rare candies, lemonades and berries. Berries can be used in the regular way to heal status or health.. but they can also be used to BAKE new Pokésweets. That’s right some Pokesweets you can only obtain by gathering the right ingredients and baking one. Every single cookbook entry has been customly made and they are all adorable!
Spinacake for example spins vanilla cake for unwilling visitors. Piestoise  has grown candy cane cannons which it uses to fire muffins at his opponents to make them happy again.Chocowool loves hugs.. but when you hug it it can leave blobs of chocolate on your clothes.
It’s all just how it should be. Very sweet!

The people are loving and helpful and help to flesh out this quirky world out greatly.  The custom soundtrack can be a bit repetitive. The Mario Kart Snes music plays a bit too oftenly.. but I kinda like it. It makes the journey feel cute rather than epic and that is exactly what it should aim for. At times you feel it has been made by a small team and they went like… just fit this in here and it’s going to be fine but that is perfectly understandable and excusable for a romhack. I’ve seen rom hacks break down regions and completely building their own.. but such a journey was never these guys ambition nor would it have worked this well. This game is so different that the safety of where to go next felt like a warm blanket. This game is about the pokésweets and gathering them.. not to tell a compelling and grand  tale. Team Sour and Candy Pirates! This game knows what it is and what its want you to do… and it does that very well and in it’s very own charming way.

Technical Thingies

Now Rom Hacks are a bit different when it comes down to judging the technical thingies. They are not professional games, but unlike fully created custom games the skeleton is there so there should not be to much errors there in the first place anyway.  Yet at the same time because it’s not their own code .. things can conflict much easier. Overall I’d say Sweet Version does a great job. The flavor system ..which is way more than just a name swap from the other games (as there’s only 12 flavors) and all weaknesses are custom. For example Banana and Lemon are weak to each other, which we’ve never seen in a regular pokémon game. The game feels mostly balanced though the chocolate type is quite powerful and the orange flavour has quite a few weaknesses. I am not sorry how the balance is as I can not play with every little sweet and the type chart is a bit more ungraspable than the typing chart.

I can imagine why water beats fire.. or how grass beats water. Deducing why Apple beat Orange or why raspberry beats blueberry is  somewhat less natural. As a result the sense of balance is gone a bit.. but I do not mean that in a bad way…it’s like pokémon battling without the training wheels. The game definitely spiced up in terms of difficulty but in a good way. Trainers who stick to one pokésweet will usually outlevel you if you commit to a entire team. This make sense because in a way it enforces the rules of the game on the npc’s. Solid design but it does mean you’ll need a bunch of items or a lots of trips to the pokésweet center. Baking the Pokésweets works perfectly which are new mechanics they build in.. now you get locked into a gym and have to finish it in one go works like a charm and all those little things work wonders. Dialogue however has a few oversights. Quite a few trainers have their old dialogue intact. Mostly the one you never really notice unless you talk to them after combatting. But because this world is so new I talked to them all.. and I noticed quite a few of them slipped up and broke the suspense of disbelief. Some stores are a bit glitchy because items have been added or removed. Since emulation can already result in a few glitches I am not sure what I can and can’t blame on them so since it’s nothing that stops me from playing or even hinders me I don’t mind it too much. It just looks a bit sloppy. Like a bit of whip cream spilling out of  desert. Still tastes good even if it doesn’t look like it’s supposed too.

The Gameplay

Delicious as this game might be, it is not for the faint of heart. Pokémon Sweet version is pretty hard. I try to spend as little money on items as i possibly could but in Sweet version I carry a lot of medicine on me because the game wants me too. Not only do we get locked inside gyms and whiting out  means repeating ALL the trainers also the moves we work with are drastically reduced. Pokésweets are less offensive than Pokémon, they have limited good attacks. Instead nearly every sweet gets access to status inducing moves. Nearly every trainer battle is also a double battle, meaning you have to be prepared for two types or even two attacks onto a single sweet. With all that cream filling flying about I guess hitting moves is a lot harder as well because accuracy has proven to be quite a bit more of an issue. Not only can you toss sprinkles in your opponents eyes to make them less accurate, a lot of the 100% hitting moves are simply gone for more risky moves. This means you have to think a lot more about your actions and that’s good. 

I enjoyed this battle system so much, reminding me more of classic rpgs where you rarely get a new attack other then a support type move here and there. I love how they changed obstacles around though. HM’s are as good as gone with only fly and surf still existing, though these other obstacles are all non consequential the no hm method allows us to be so much more free in what sweets we carry along. Gym’s are infinitely repeatable making grinding up levels a breeze as long as we skip those with annoying gym puzzles like the Blueberry gym. When I say skip I mean for the grind of course you have to complete it once. The game has been thusly altered that you can basically complete the entire cookbook yourself. All starters will become available and there are no trade evolutions. I still have to discover how to evolve some of these but it’s just a delight to see your babies grow up and read all their adorable pages. The plethora of status can be a bit annoying when you start but these are pokésweets not pokémon.. they don’t like attacking so it’s something you will just have to get used to. It’s different.. not worse..as long as you carry medicine at least.

It’s a long game, longer than the same run would take you in Pokémon Fire Red (the rom it’s based on), a lot longer. Pokésweets are super cute and you will be very tempted to try them all out the way they designed the game also means that you actually get better things to put on your team as you get along. Some sweets will get outdated  or outclassed or just outlived. You’ll need to level quite a bit more than in the legitimate game but you’ll be given plenty of options for it as well. So while it does require some effort of you as a player this game features enough content to sink your teeth into.

The Verdict

Okay this game will not be a 10 out of 10 but it’s definitely something special. It’s something we will NEVER EVER see again and it’s something I have never seen before it. While other Rom Hacks change the game.. in some cases better than this little game, Pokémon Sweet version reinvents the entire concept. Recognisable to  keep the old charm while innovating enough to add a whole lot of sweetness. I can not in good conscious gave a game as cute as this where you walk onto a pink world anything lower than my highest ranking! This game is my soul emulated. Feel free to disagree .. but this game is sweet.

What do you think about Pokémon Sweet Version? Did you ever play a rom hack? Do you have any suggestion for me to play? Let me know in the comments and I will see you all in the next post!

The Pinkest Poké Blogger is blasting off again!