Detective Pikachu 2 review: An interesting yet shallow mystery

Creatures / Nintendo
Creatures / Nintendo /

Game: Detective Pikachu 2
Developer: Creatures
Publisher: The Pokemon Company / Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: October 6, 2023

Before we get into this I’m going to stress, yes, I know this is Nintendo, and yes, I know that they have an insistence that Pokemon always be for the younger kids no matter how much begging happens. I get it. We good? Because I feel like you might bring this up as you read my review.

So, the first Detective Pikachu game was a bit of a wild ride. No one knew what they were getting into. What we ended up with was a fairly saccharin game where you play a kid, Tim Goodman, who teams up with a mysterious talking Pikachu to find out what happened to his dad.

It was alright but it was very much a game for younger kids.

Then the movie hit three years later and while the game didn’t reveal what happened to Tim’s dad, the movie absolutely did.

Now, several years later we get the sequel to the game where Tim is still looking for his dad. Though, as I mentioned in a separate article, the game goes out of its way to let you know that they have a different thing in mind than the movie.

Having played through Detective Pikachu 2, I will say that the game does differ greatly from the path the movie took, but I will also say that it got there at a snail’s pace.

The game takes place around several “mysteries” that all seem to be disconnected from each other at first and these can take forever. Normally, I don’t mind this but the clues and puzzles are about as difficult as something from Blue’s Clues.

For example, I had a puzzle where I had to move two statues, one of a Pokemon and one of a Human across tiles in a certain direction. I wrote down the directions and found the area where the statues needed to be moved. But the human statue was missing. Where oh where could a six-foot-tall statue be that’s supposed to be directly across the board from the Pokemon statue?

Detective-Pikachu-2-Clues /

What’s that? Under the seven foot tall thing of ice exactly where the statue should be? Yeah. And when you break the ice revealing the statue the game then skips the part where you move the statues completely with a cutscene that takes place after your character moves the statue. You don’t even get to do the puzzle part yourself!

Likewise, in the game you’ll do things like need a safe code. You might encounter a piece of paper with the code and write it down thinking you’ll need to remember it, but the on-screen quest reminder will literally say something like, “Enter code 2168 into the safe.” There is no challenge to anything because it goes out of its way to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.

The journey Tim and Pikachu go on is interesting but the whole game moves more like a book. An interactive novel where you can’t really lose and most solutions are handed to you. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that the pacing is BRUTAL.

Cut scenes are these weird moments where a character will say a short sentence and then gesticulate for about 20 seconds like they’re still talking. Moments where you’re studying clues require you to talk to so many people that will give you pretty much the same information. My eight-year-old was able to figure out the answers to most of the mystery in the first few minutes before being forced to play out the rest of it for hours, painfully sitting there as the incredibly thick members of Ryme City slowly came to the conclusion my kid did prior.

Beyond the slow pace, the game is filled with some interesting stuff to help keep you awake during the slog. It’s neat seeing a world of Pokemon without battling, it’s the sort of thing I like seeing the lore explore. There’s also a ton of references to the other Pokemon games and the movie. You’ll even meet Lucy’s Psyduck from the film. They also mention references to the cartoon, for example, a corny “who’s that Pokemon?” when a Pokemon steps out from the shadows. A lot of references that are outside the realm of kids too which I thought was an interesting take.

Detective-Pikachu-2-Coffee /

One of the most brutal things about playing through this game, as an adult, that I discovered is that the game’s droning music and slow pacing kept putting me to sleep. At the same time the game romanticized coffee at every turn. I’m fairly certain I went up about three pots of coffee this week just playing the game for a review.

All in all, this is a great entry level detective game for younger kids with a truly unique story and some fairly interesting events for fans of Pokemon. But older gamers might have their intelligence insulted often or just find themselves getting bored quick.

Detective Pikachu 2 (Nintendo Switch) Score: 6.5/10

Detective Pikachu 2 makes a lot of fun choices to make sure gamers know the story will differ from the movie. But different doesn’t equal interesting. While there are many interesting plot points, they are separated by miles of incredibly simple and boring game play that challenges players at the same level most children’s programming does, by waving the answer directly in your face. Younger gamers will get a kick out of this low stakes detective story but older gamers are in for an absolute slog.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.