Review: Pokédex 3D Pro is exactly what it should be
If you’re unfamiliar with Pokémon, they’re basically a bunch of monsters that run around all over the place, and kids are meant to catch one of each kind, travel around the world, and use them to have Pokémon battles with other kids. Just kidding. I mean yes, everything I said was true, but pretty much everyone already knows what Pokémon is. It’s super-popular, and it has been for years. That’s why I’m sure you can relate to my frustration over the years at Nintendo now having released four separate handhelds with support for downloadable apps and never quite getting around to creating a definitive Pokédex for us Poké-nuts. The things are practically freaking built for it, and it’s insane that they didn’t capitalize on it earlier, but there’s no need for anymore ranting because guess what? Pokédex 3D Pro is precisely what one might imagine that app to be, and it’s finally here.
If you’re familiar with the free Pokédex 3D app that launched with the 3DS almost two years ago, this is largely the same thing. The top screen houses a well-rendered 3D model of each monster, and the bottom screen has some flavor text about each one, as well as lists of all the moves they can learn, their strengths and weaknesses, and a bunch of other really useful stuff for the budding Pokémon trainer. You can also use the various AR symbols they provide for you to take photos of your favorites out in the real world with the 3DS camera. However, while that version only covered the most recent generation of creatures, this one covers all 694 Pokémon, all of them are unlocked in the first place, and it has a few more extra features that make it feel more like the complete package we all wanted in the first place.
Interface-wise, everything seems a tad cleaner and easier to navigate. Most notably, there’s a main menu screen now, and the Attackdex, which organizes everything by attacks instead of Pokémon, is a selectable option rather than just being buried in the interface. I did have a few problems with the touchscreen wigging out on me sometimes when I tried to scroll up and down using the stylus, but it didn’t really impede my experience, and in general, everything is readily accessible, and the app is actually useful as a reference. The only obvious thing I could say might be missing is the ability to access it while playing Pokémon Black and White 2, but it’s not like it was promised to me or anything, so I can’t really call it a gripe.
Graphically, the Pokémon look fantastic, and it’s a nice touch that for each one, you can click a button to make them do a unique action animation. There’s also more skins for the interface, and backgrounds for the Pokémon to appear in front of. It’s not super-exciting, but the idea of everyone’s Pokédex being slightly personalized is appealing. Background music has been added as well, and when you first navigate to each creature’s page, the actual voice actor who plays the Pokédex in the anime pronounces each of their names. These are all small touches, yes, but they go a long way towards making this thing earn the “Pro” in its name.
Finally, and perhaps most notably, is the addition of the Pokémon Challenge, a set of 36 increasingly difficult Pokémon quizzes for the more knowledgable player to sharpen their skills. There’s medals you can earn on each one for getting perfect scores in the shortest possible amount of time, and as you progress, you slowly unlock quizzes of increasing difficulty until all of a sudden, you’re trying to correctly remember whether ten consecutive Pokémon can or can’t learn what moves in under twelve seconds. It’s a great little extra, for what it’s worth, especially for those achievement-hunter types inexplicably looking for their fix in what is essentially a fictional zoological text book.
Pokédex 3D Pro is a good time; it was a long time coming, and now that it’s finally here, it’s exactly what you always imagined. You can own it right now...for $15. This, actually, is the only obstacle to your complete enjoyment of this title. After all, you can get pretty much everything this thing has to offer for free on the internet. True, there’s something to be said for presentation, but $15 for a bunch of 3D pictures and some quizzes is a bit too much like a money grab for me to feel fully good about it. If you’re a hardcore Pokémon fan, by all means grab it, you’ll love it, but otherwise, just wait and see if it ever drops in price.