Quest that provides bursts of fun

You have little control over your Pokemon team, which wanders around on its own in Pokemon Quest.
You have little control over your Pokemon team, which wanders around on its own in Pokemon Quest.

Part base-building, part Pokemon-hunting and part role-playing - Pokemon Quest might, on initial impression, come across as a confused mashup of the Pokemon franchise with the blocky Minecraft aesthetic.

The goal is to build a team of Pokemon to explore Tumblecube Island, although the term "explore" might be a tad generous. The island is broken up into a series of predetermined levels that you send a team of three Pokemon into with the press of a button.

Currently, the game is limited to the first 151 Pokemon - which include nostalgic favourites like Charmander, Pikachu and Eevee - done up in the style of cubes and blocks.

Your Pokemon team wanders about on its own, bumbling through foliage and fauna and bumping into wild Pokemon, at which point real-time battle begins. The only control you have is to occasionally choose abilities for your Pokemon to use and to have them scatter away during powerful attacks to avoid damage.

The other strategic choice to consider is team composition - how do you balance long-ranged Pokemon, like Pidgey, with short-ranged ones that can absorb more damage.

The game lacks complex strategic depth, but is easy to jump into for quick, short bursts of fun, making it perfect as a mobile game.

  • 6/10

  • PRICE: Free (includes in-app purchases)

    PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS

Level progression is relatively straightforward, coming in the form of levelling and evolving your Pokemon and by also giving them Power Stones that boost their attack or health points, making them stronger.

You gain these stones whenever you complete a stage and by defeating the stronger boss Pokemon at the end of each stage. Due to the way the levels are designed, you will find yourself repeating earlier stages just to get Power Stones to strengthen your Pokemon so you can tackle harder levels.

This makes the game feel longer and slightly more tedious than it should be.

You're always close enough to beat the next level, but might fall just a little short. So you figure repeating the previous level - which takes all of maybe five minutes - might be enough to give you that final boost.

The way to gather more Pokemon is through the tried-and-tested way of cooking up a huge pot of something tasty to attract new ones to your base.

Finding new ingredients to whip up new recipes will also keep you going back to the game. And as with most free-to-play titles, there is an option to pay real money to get items and the game's constant reminders that you can always do so is a bit of a turn-off.

• Verdict: Pokemon Quest is fun and addictive in short bursts, making it a wonderful mobile title, but gamers looking for depth might find it lacking.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2018, with the headline 'Quest that provides bursts of fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe