June is usually a big month for game announcements, courtesy of the E3 Expo. However, its cancellation this year has resulted in developers and publishers instead choosing to share their game announcements via video conferences and live streams. Last week saw Sony fully unveiling the Playstation 5, whilst Microsoft have made plans to show more of the Xbox Series X in July – however Nintendo, as they like to do best, are keeping fans waiting for news about what the year ahead holds for Switch owners. While there is still no sign of an imminent Nintendo Direct, the Pokémon company have this afternoon shared some announcements of their own. Although this Pokémon direct was lacking in new console announcements (sorry to those of you anticipating the Pokémon Mini 2) it did have a few intriguing announcements of its own, with three new titles revealed to the public along with further details about games which have already been released. Read on to find out more.
The first of these titles to be announced was the intriguingly titled Pokémon Smile, which really could have been anything! As it turns out, Pokémon Smile is an AR game for mobile devices which is designed to encourage children to brush their teeth. This free app is intended to reinforce good habits for children and allows them to use the AR functionality to catch Pokémon as they clean their teeth, it even lets children wear a Pokémon themed, AR generated hat as they do it. Whilst it’s certainly not designed for hardcore gamers, I’m sure it will prove hugely popular with children, I might even give it a go myself! No further details were forthcoming in this Direct, but the app is out now and free to download so give it a go and see if it puts a smile on your face.
The next announcement was Pokémon Café Mix, a puzzle game for both Nintendo Switch and mobile devices, designed around running a café. This title sees Pokémon visiting the café and placing orders for food and drink, which leads to puzzles that can be solved by linking icons which swirl around the screen. As you complete orders, some of the creatures that you serve will join your staff and bring their own skills to the table. You will also be able to expand and customise your café as you play, this includes adding new areas which can attract new types of Pokémon. No release date was announced but it was revealed that this game will be free-to-start, meaning microtransactions are a cert. The game itself looks interesting enough and I’m sure we will hear more soon.
Before I mention the final new title, there were also two announcements concerning existing titles. The first of these was for the ever-popular Pokémon GO. Niantic are continuing to develop new ways for people to play this from home, this will continue with Pokémon GO Fests which will be exclusively digital this year. It was also announced that a new-take on Mega Evolutions, based around Pokémon GO’s mechanics, will be launching later this year. In further Pokémon GO news it was announced that more new Pokémon would be coming to the game this year, with Galarian Farfetch’d soon to be available. Reference was also made to the newly released DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield, Isle of Armour, this DLC is available today and to celebrate there will be a special raid battle featuring the mythical Pokémon Zeraora. These raid battles will be available from today until June 28th and if 1 million trainers complete this then they will all receive a Shiny Zeraora, quite the deal!
Finally, the last new announcement was one which came as a big shock, something which many fans have been hoping to hear about for such a long time, a new Pokémon Snap! As someone with huge nostalgia for the N64 original, this stood out as the most exciting announcement of the bunch. Not much detail was revealed but judging from the footage shown it appears to follow the setup of the N64 game, with players moving along on a rail and taking pictures of Pokémon interacting. Although the footage is early it does look beautiful, with a range of rich, detailed environments on show. It was also interesting to see Pokémon from several different generations which is a big change from the original title which only featured 63 of the original 151 creatures. It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to hear more about this one.
If you were hoping to her about the sequel to Pokémon Sword and Shield, or a remake of the Sinnoh games then you’re out of luck for today. However, the presentation concluded with the surprise announcement that they have another big project lined up, with more news coming next week, on June 24th, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out the presentation in full for yourself below.
I have been gaming for 30 years, starting mostly with PC Gaming, where I developed a penchant for classic point and click games. Over time I discovered Nintendo, starting with the Game Boy and the Super Mario Land games. Here, my love for Nintendo grew as I discovered many of their other franchises, from Zelda to Pokémon. These days I play a bit of everything but Nintendo and their unique creativity always keeps me coming back for more.