Pokemon X and Y review: Pokemon X and Y

We didn't finish Black or White, so the number of new Pokémon actually increased for us from 493 in Generation IV -- 255 new ones. We found it helpful to have a browser open to check types when entering battles -- the game is not kind to users who miss a generation.

The lower screen

Player Search System

The Player Search System (PSS) is the game's new multiplayer arena. When you're connected to Wi-Fi internet, you can use it to search for other players around the world to battle and trade. We quite like the Wonder Trade System (WTS), which allows you to do a mystery trade with another user from anywhere in the world. There are people on there trading junk Pokémon, but we've gotten some pretty sweet trades, including a Charmander.

You can also use the PSS to trade O-Powers. Remember the pedometer from HeartGold and SoulSilver? That disappeared after one try, but encouraging you to walk around is clearly close to Nintendo's heart. Aside from the Mii Plaza coins you can earn walking around with your 3DS, walking around helps with something called O-Powers. These are special bonuses that you receive from a strange fellow by the name of Mr Bonding, who shows up in hotels around the Kalos region. When you activate an O-Power, you receive a bonus for a limited time, such as higher attack power, restoring PP during battles, increasing the amount of money you get from trainer battles and so forth.

Here's where walking comes in: each O-Power drains your O-Power power; but, if you walk around with your 3DS, that power regenerates more quickly. The more you use an O-Power, the faster it levels up, so you will want to use them as much as possible -- or give them to friends. Giving them to friends requires less power, so if you have a friend or acquaintance in your list, swapping might be the way to go.

Pokémon-Amie

In previous iterations of the game, you could do various things to make your Pokémon love you, such as getting them haircuts and feeding them treats. That has been replaced with Pokémon-Amie, a special place where you can pet, play with and feed your Pokémon to boost their affection.

Each Pokémon in your party can be selected in Pokémon-Amie for fun times. You can pet them by rubbing the screen, feed them Poké Puffs, mimic their movements using the 3DS' camera and play with them with three mini-games.

These games are Berry Picker, where you have to find the berry your Pokémon want and feed them; Head It, which involves bouncing balls of yarn off your Pokémon's heads; and Tile Puzzle, where you solve a tile-based puzzle. The higher the difficulty level of the game, and the better you perform, the better the Poké Puffs you will receive in reward -- better Poké Puffs increase your Pokémon's affection more quickly.

Super Training

Each Pokémon has something called "effort values" (EVs), which are its six base stats. These mean that, even though you can catch two identical-seeming Pokémon in the wild, they can vary quite a bit; one might have a higher attack EV, for example, which means it hits harder in battle.

Super Training offers you an opportunity to max out your Pokémon's EVs. Once again, it's a mini-game. Your Pokémon goes into an arena against a "Balloon Bot" -- a giant balloon Pokémon with goal baskets. The aim is to shoot soccer balls into the goals while avoiding the balls the balloon throws at you. This gives you punching bags, which you then tap on to increase your Pokémon's stats.

This gives you really strong Pokémon. This might not give you much of an advantage in game, but if you regularly go up against friends using the PSS, it comes in real handy.

It's also great for breeding Pokémon. When you leave two Pokémon at the day care, one male and one female, they can breed, passing down their EVs. If one of the two breeding Pokémon is holding an item called the Destiny Knot, the parents are guaranteed to pass down five of the six EVs. Do this with two Pokémon with perfect stats and boom -- you have a super-powerful Pokémon that doesn't require much training.

Conclusion

If you're looking for an in-depth experience, Pokémon X and Y is it. It might be a little on the intimidating side to newcomers -- OK, a lot on the intimidating side -- but once you're in, you'll always be finding new things to see and do. We love how the team at Game Freak keeps trying new things and applying that knowledge to later iterations of the game; while we're certain, at this point, that we'll never catch 'em all, we're still certainly keen to keep on trying.

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