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Detective Pikachu is the quirkiest Pokémon game yet, and here's why it should be on your radar

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Mar 18, 2018, 4:00 PM EDT

Who’s your favorite Pokémon? Quick, name the one that comes to mind when you think about the epic media franchise about pocket monsters. Pikachu’s probably the one, right? We all know Pikachu’s famous "Pika pika" cooing and angry "Pikaaaa!" exclamations that come from its powerful bursts of lightning from the red sacs on its cheeks.

But what if Pikachu spoke, much like the special Meowth that works with Jessie and James of Team Rocket? You'd probably get something a lot like the upcoming Detective Pikachu, a new 3DS title that you should absolutely have on your radar. There's even an upcoming Detective Pikachu movie with Ryan Reynolds at the helm. Why should you care? Oh, you mean aside from the fact that this Pikachu talks?

For starters, this is by far one of the weirdest Pokémon games to ever exist, and I mean that. You may have thought talking to Pikachu back on your Nintendo 64 with Hey You, Pikachu! was strange, but this totally takes the cake. Pikachu is actually a tough-talking detective type who lives on his own apart from a trainer. He's not as quick or as agile as the other Pikachu that comprise his species, but he's intelligent in other, more special ways. He claims he's an awesome detective, but no one seems to be able to understand him.

One day, a boy named Tim Goodman enlists Pikachu's help when he realizes he can hear what the electric mouse is saying (in addition to understanding it). Tim needs help finding out where his dad's gone missing, and thus the story begins.  

But finding Tim's dad isn't all Pikachu is asked to help out with. As it turns out, there's a lot of weirdness going on around the city surrounding other Pokémon and the predicaments they find themselves in. Instead of capturing the monsters and training them for battles against gym leaders to become a master, however, you're tasked with exploring the city in the style of an adventure game.

You take control of Tim Goodman and convene with Pikachu to discuss cases, find new clues, and uncover additional information as you progress. If you've ever played a game like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Detective Pikachu. It's nothing like the classic games where you face off in trainer battles, but it has the potential to offer a lot of new ground for the franchise to tread, and for that alone, you should be ready to jump into the new world. 

Nintendo is going all out with the promotion for this quirky take on Pokémon, even offering up a giant amiibo figure that'll be up for grabs the same day as the game. While Detective Pikachu has been out in Japan since February 2016, it won't see an English release until March 23. As far as the movie, it's projected for a 2019 release, with Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, and Ken Watanabe pegged to star in it alongside Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu. 

Get ready, gumshoes! Pikachu's gonna Raichu a great detective story. 

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