Developer: GAME FREAK Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Switch / iOS / Android
Version Reviewed: eShop download & Android version 1.0.1
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: February 11, 2020 (Worldwide)
Price: Free download
Pokémon HOME-ward bound.
WHAT IS IT? WHAT DOES IT OFFER:
As The Pokémon Company fully embraces all things Nintendo Switch and swaps one handheld system for a handheld system that can offer TV, the world of HD Pokémon is alive on well on Nintendo Switch.
It all started with a deluxe port of Pokkén Tournament, only to have a set back with the voxel designed Pokémon Quest, which endured a very short run, but things soon picked up once again, just as Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! made their November debut in 2019.
Although the games weren’t to everyone’s liking, due to a severe difference in core gameplay, they still gave players the chance to revisit Kanto and start building our collection of HD Pokémon on a different platform, thus resulting in a problem.
Without a Pokémon Bank to call its own, the Nintendo Switch desperately needed something on hand for Pokémon fans to use for swapping Pokémon and in time it would get one, after the release of Gen 8 games Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
So, having kept us waiting for quite some time, for those unaware, Pokémon HOME is a cloud-based service that offers both a free and paid subscription, which looks and acts like an evolved form of sorts, to Pokémon Bank.
Like with Bank, it offers players the means to transfer Pokémon from Let’s Go to HOME, to Sword and Shield. There is connectivity for Pokémon GO in the works, but it’s not available just yet and there are two versions of Pokémon HOME to download, with one being an application for the Nintendo Switch, and the other available on mobile devices.
For connectivity between the two, however, players can sync the service to their My Nintendo, thus allowing them to access the same Pokémon boxes on both versions. There are version differences between the two apps, with the mobile releases allowing players to trade Pokémon via Wonder Box, GTS, Room trade and Friend Trade, and also completing challenges and earning stickers for doing so, whereas the Switch version permits players to transform Pokémon between games and even services.
Yes, that’s right. One of HOME’s biggest appealing factors, other than a crisp clean UI for both app versions, stunning HD Pokémon renders, including shiny Pokémon, is the fact Pokémon HOME has connectivity to Pokémon Bank, providing players have downloaded the latest update.
Because of this, every Pokémon you have in Pokémon Bank, can be transferred to Pokémon HOME and while the process itself isn’t as completely straightforward as it could have been, everything is spelt out for the players to ensure for a smoother transition.
The only true downside to having every Pokémon of yours moved from Bank to Home however, is with the likes of the Let’s Go games abiding by a Pokédex focused on the first 151 Pokémon, plus Meltan and Melmetal and Sword and Shield doing away with the National Dex, there will be a lot of your transferred Pokémon, forced to make a home for themselves in Pokémon HOME, hoping for an eventual HD debut of their own.
Another downside to transferring from Bank to Home, is once they depart the Bank, there is no going back, however, the act of transferring, does require the premium plan, but it also allows players to offer up more Pokémon for trading at own time, hosting room trades, getting the judge function and being able to store a total of 6,000 Pokémon.
With regards to pricing, players can opt to pay $2.99 for a month, $4.99 for three months, or $15.99 for a year and honestly, it’s worth it. Like I said, with the plan, you can store a total of 6,000 Pokémon, thus allowing you plenty of storage space for shinies and Pokémon that have different forms. You can also go from trading 3 Pokémon at a time via Wonder Box to 10.
What’s more, in addition to introducing players to a different Professor Oak, never previously seen before, players can also receive mystery gifts in the mobile version of HOME, with some gifts being specifically for HOME, such as Pokémon that are unlocked for meeting certain requirements, and other gifts being for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
For a little more on the Judge Pokémon feature, it allows players to check out just how strong each one of their Pokémon is and other valuable information.
Furthermore, by using Pokémon HOME, and depositing more Pokémon, players & subscribers can earn more Pokémon HOME points, which in turn can be exchanged for Battle Points and used in the likes of Sword and Shield.
There is also a new feature to be added to the mobile version that records Battle Data and keeps players up to date on Ranked Battles and various online completions, as well as checking out rankings. It’s also reported that players will be able to see battle records for each trainer, but this is a function that is not currently implemented and said to arrive sometime after the launch of HOME.
Still, the challenges aren’t just restricted to the mobile version, as the Switch version does have Kanto and Galar region research tasks, which do require players to accomplish certain goals in the main game and then transfer the tasking meeting Pokémon, into HOME.
Completing them all can be a bit tedious, but it gives players the challenge of something else to do and helps keeps the world of Pokémon connected, especially as far as Let’s Go and the Gen 8 games are concerned.
As something you can download for free, Pokémon HOME is a must-have, especially if you’re a purist in need of a National Dex because right now, it’s the only thing on the Nintendo Switch that offers it.
However, given just how colourful HOME is, how welcoming it is to use and all the details it maintains, including Mega evolutions, male, female, and even Gigantamax Pokémon, it is ultimate Pokédex one could ever possess with a smooth, easy to use service across both versions of the app. What’s more, the premium plan is absolutely worth the asking price and more.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
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This post was written by Solid Jack