Modojo @ Shacknews Nintendo 3DS Game of the Year 2018 - Detective Pikachu

The diminutive detective gets a big award as we grace Detective Pikachu with Modojo's award for best 3DS game of the year.


The Nintendo 3DS library was somewhat lacking this year, and while there were several releases, none of them felt quite as memorable as this fun riff on the Pokemon franchise did. Detective Pikachu took risks as a spinoff from the main series, and as a result it made some major breakthroughs for fans who have been there from the beginning and those who are just coming aboard.

Thanks to games like Pokemon Go and Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu and Eevee! that released earlier this year, the games are reaching even more fans than ever, and that's why we're able to see fun, different exercises like Detective Pikachu in the first place. It's a fun, lighthearted adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously, and it captured our hearts in 2018. For that, it deserves the Modojo @ Shacknews Nintendo 3DS Game of the Year 2018 award.

Detective Pikachu is a very different Pokemon game from anything else out there, as you'll see just after starting it up. This Pikachu is a far cry from the one you see partnered with Ash in the anime or the electric mouse you like using in the core games. He's a wise-cracking detective, and he's got his own unique personality. He's sassy, gruff, and wise beyond his years, a grizzled gumshoe who's all about solving crimes and putting the pieces together to figure things out. His knowledge and candor are infectious, too – they make you want to go along with him.

Pikachu joins human companion Tim Goodman to figure out what's happened to Tim's father, all the while unraveling a few other Pokemon-related capers along the way in a series of Phoenix Wright-esque case-hacking. There's a wide variety of mysteries to solve, each playing out like miniature visual novel scenes. You and Tim chat with potential witness to gather clues, jot everything down in your casebook, and carry out real investigations to eke out a culprit for each case. The cases aren't groundbreaking or anything, but they offer a different angle on the whole "Pokemon live among us" thing that isn't explored as often as it should be in the game's universe.

It doesn't seem like it would work that well, but it totally does. Pikachu himself is an intriguing character, and the cases that involve both Pokémon and humans make for some fun puzzles to solve. Don't let the idea of "Pokemon solving mysteries" get to you, because that's a good way to miss out on some truly fun ideas. Despite the fact that the movie looks potentionally bad, the game can and should be enjoyed on its own merits, preferably before you subject yourself to Ryan Gosling for two hours. The 3DS original is where it's at, for Pokemon fans new and old. You don't need a magnifying glass to see that.

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

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