Pokemon Purple and Pokemon Scarlet, two slightly different variants of the same game, have the ambition to use the usual codes of this franchise, but in an open world where your avatar finds himself on a school bench. Nothing revolutionary on the menu: the usual good-natured fun that pokemons provoke, adventures in which you are the pilot and hundreds of battles with weapons more wacky than each other.
Arrived on tablet last November 18, Pokemon Purple and Pokemon Scarlet are basically the same game with little nuances. The Raisin Academy of the first becomes the Orange Academy of the second, Professor Turum becomes Professor Olim, the legendary pokémons are either Koraidon or Miraidon, the catalog of pokémons is slightly variable. We did not push the test to double the hours of play and we mainly focused on Pokemon Scarlet.
Before going any further, let’s mention the controversy raging in the gaming community: many bugs are said to plague these games. Nintendo, according to specialized sites, has agreed for a few days to reimburse many players. And while critics have generally been pretty lenient, the gaming community has been ruthless, giving the games abysmal ratings, including an unfair 2.8 out of 10 average on Metacritic. End of the digression, which did not concern us, since no bug came to spoil the adventure.
A bit like Harry Potter at Hogwarts, our avatar – whose gender, style and name you have to choose from the outset – begins his studies at the Orange Academy, which specializes in the study of Pokemon. He will have as a mentor a trainer Master, Menzi, can count on the benevolence of the principal Clavel and can register for many courses, in particular to learn more about the biology of these imaginary beings that are pokemons, mathematics to become more effective in combat, the history of the region of Paldéa that you will have to travel through and even cooking classes to take care of your protections properly.
You quickly come across your first Pokémon to fight and, if you don’t already have them in your team, to imprison in a Poké Ball so that you can then send them into the arena. This is how you build up a stable whose foals gain experience, learn new moves and become more and more powerful. The goal, as in all Pokémon games since 1996, is essentially to fill its catalog called Pokédex with these critters with funny names like Gourmelet, Passerouge or Granivol which fight with Mimi-Queue, lightning, paralyzing rays and in a sleepy voice. To make your way and become a Master yourself, you must face other trainers, associate the right pokemon with its rival according to its type (water, grass, fire) and learn to use a new metamorphosis, teracrystallization, which makes it even stronger. This skill, Nintendo warns us, is “the key to victory” in this adventure.
Gauge the opponent
But for one of the first times, the path is not clear to become a Master. It’s up to you to navigate this open world in three major quests, such as choosing the Path of the Master where you will have to face other trainers in arenas and defeat dominant pokemon guardians of rare ingredients. Your mount is identified from the start as a super Pokémon called Koraidon that can carry you across land, sea, and air.
Obviously, we are here in the world of pokémons and the fights are never bloody: we fall KO in defeat, the bad guys seem out of a children’s book and the vast majority of confrontations are rather easy. Do not be fooled by the apparent indolence of pokemons, however, some will give you a hard time if you do not oppose them the right opponent or the right weapon.
The result is rather refreshing and dusts off the venerable franchise in its own way. But the developers of Game Freak haven’t gone so far as to really change this world in which millions of young and old players have loved to immerse themselves for more than two decades. Yes, we are entitled to a few surprises, but we are still on familiar ground. Nothing to displease fans, obviously.
Pokemon Purple, Pokemon Scarlet
- Developer: Game Freak
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Genre: Adventure, role-playing
- Classification: children and adults
- Number of players: one to four, local or online
- Rating: 7 out of 10