Gotta Catch ‘Em All is a slogan that has been burned into the public consciousness since the late 90’s. With so many games, shows, movies, and toys, it’s no wonder Pokémon endured for as long as it has. And with each year comes a brand new game in the franchise, this year being particularly special. On November 15th the next generation of Pokémon will be released for the Nintendo Switch, taking the form of Pokémon Sword and Shield. So what better way to celebrate than to take a look back at one of the most unique entries in the series.
If you’re a hardcore fan of Pokémon, you may have heard of Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure. Released for the Nintendo DS in Japan, Europe, and Australia, it was part of the fifth generation of Pokemon titles. Instead of the usual turn-based RPG, the game takes inspiration from an unlikely place: educational typing. Like similar games in this genre, players are tasked with using a keyboard to spell words and phrases, catching Pokémon in the process.
Each copy included the game along with a Nintendo DS stand and Bluetooth keyboard. Due to the Nintendo DS not supporting Bluetooth, the cartridge itself features Bluetooth technology, allowing the keyboard to connect directly to the game. This also means the keyboard can be used with any device that supports it, such as another game system or a phone. Once the keyboard has been synced with the game, everything is controlled simply by typing. But if the physical keyboard isn’t available to use, a digital keyboard on the touchscreen is accessible, although not as interesting.
Once you’ve chosen your character, you’re greeted by Paige Down, a member of the Elite Typists Club and assistant to Quentin Werty (yes, the game is full of these puns). Quentin asks you to assist them in researching Pokémon by typing their names as you see them. Each course generally requires a certain amount of Pokémon captures or points to progress to the next area. The map you explore takes the form of a keyboard with each location being a button. Some courses include Alt Rocky Range, H Peak, K Wood, and O Snowy Path.
By completing each area you earn bronze, silver, or gold medals based on your performance. The medals you earn also unlock special skins and sound effects for the game’s digital keyboard. Although the game might seem simple at first, it quickly begins to show it was not designed strictly for kids. Depending on your typing speed and knowledge of Pokémon names, earning the highest rank on each level can be a challenging task, even for adults.
While Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure has good intentions, it’s not exactly the best way to learn how to type. It might benefit younger players to some extent, but the overall experience doesn’t evolve much past typing Pokémon names and random keys. Even during the time this originally released its usefulness was in question as most kids already grew up being familiar with keyboards. With that said, Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure isn’t a bad experience.
Although a better oddity than a teaching tool, this game can be a fun distraction in short bursts. Yes, the core setup is cheesy and the naming conventions aren’t brimming with originality, but if you want to try an interesting piece of Pokémon history, I recommend checking it out. For those who are interested, you can easily find copies available on sites like eBay. Just keep in mind that you'll need to find the European version if you want to play in English.
So do you have any experience with Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure? We’d also love to know if you’re excited for Pokémon Sword and Shield. If so, which version will you be getting? Comment below!