Nintendo Switch Review: Detective Pikachu Returns

Is this sequel any good? You may find a Pik-a-clue inside….

Get to the bottom of an intriguing mystery in Detective Pikachu Returns on Nintendo Switch. Join the detective in question and his cohort Tim to help solve the riddle of his missing partner, along with other curious incidents occurring within Ryme City.

The original Detective Pikachu for the 3DS came out in 2018 and I gave it an 8.5 in our review back then. It was so popular that it spawned the incredibly successful movie in 2019 which earned nearly $450 million at the box office, so not a bad result…of course, those numbers pale in comparison to the Super Mario Bros movie that made $1.36 billion, but I suppose that’s the power of Mario and naturally, Jack Black and his “Peaches” song. Anyway, back to Detective Pikachu Returns…

This is a full sequel to the 3DS game which left on a cliffhanger. Tim and Detective Pikachu still haven’t found Tim’s father and the game has moved on 2 years from then with still no sign. It doesn’t take long for trouble to stir up again in Ryme City and before you know it, you’re back to sleuthing.

Cases take the form of investigations in which you gather information by finding evidence, questioning witnesses and then putting it all together in your detective’s notebook by deducing the facts. Each case is unique, for instance the first has Pikachu ride on Growlith’s back to sniff out clues that show up as a visible odour. There are also mini-cases that are scattered throughout the city such as finding lost Pokémon or answering questions in a quiz to name a few.

The game ends up being more of a visual novel with a few quicktime events that you cannot lose. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but it is hard to pinpoint the game’s audience. The story takes a few dark turns compared to the movie and original game, but it is so simple to play that it feels more for a younger crowd. It’s not a challenging game by any means, it’s more of an interactive experience but it has it’s moments that are fun to watch and the English dub is done particularly well.

The visuals are impressive for a Switch title, though it doesn’t push the system too much. The Pokémon look nicely detailed and while Ryme City looks a bit basic, it gets the job done. Character models for the humans are a bit of a mixed bag, but I’ve definitely seen much worse over the years.

The Verdict

Detective Pikachu Returns brings the cliffhanger of the original game to a close in decent fashion. It may not pose a challenge or require you to do much other than talking, deducing and QTE’s, but its still an enjoyable experience that fans of the series and the original game/movie will love.

Score: 7.5