The idea of a demo for a Pokemon game seems pretty strange at this point. The formula hasn’t radically changed since the original Pokemon Red and Blue (and/or Green), at least not fundamentally. You take on the role of some poorly-parented youth who is tasked with a continent/world-spanning adventure to become the very best Pokemon master. There are other goals too: catching them all, training a competitive esport-like roster of Pokemon, or even things like decorating a base/performing in a beauty contest/cutting a promo of why you’re such a bad ass/fighting battles between courses of gourmet not-French French food.
The core remains the same: good ole turn-based, Japanese roleplaying game fighting!
I was excited for the demo. For starters, its not as easy to get a hold of as say 99% of the demos big publishers release. Instead, Nintendo has opted to use it as an exclusive tool to bolster Pokemon Trainer email subscribers and will probably have a myriad of other ways to get your hand on a code. The limited nature of the whole affair probably flies in the face of the point of a demo, but given Pokemon’s track record, I imagined it would be a cool way to get some exclusive extras, and that’s kind of true.
Only it also isn’t: SPOILERS you get a Glalie with a Mega Stone so it can become an even uglier Pokemon that I don’t want to ever use and that’s about it.
It’s rare, but of the two “demos that aren’t directly taken from the actual game” I have played in recent memory, this Pokemon one appears to be far lazier than last year’s Bravely Default demo. For one, the fights aren’t very memorable, and it has this odd mechanic where finishing off a section treats you like you’ve beaten the entire experience. I think I would’ve been just as happy watching an in-game trailer of all the new starter Mega Evolutions ten times rather than suffer through some really bland trainer battles with a team of Pokemon I care nothing about.
As far as I can tell (which is about four resets in because I got bored), it doesn’t even show off the new Soaring mode where you take control of a flying Pokemon and fly around the world looking for flying Pokemon to fight. It seems rather useless as a demo and I am doubtful it’s adding much hype to an already hyped release.
I am not sure what I should have expected, but I am confident that this was not it. Unless you desperately want a Glalie and a few other items which are useful (but won’t wow you), I probably wouldn’t bother. It’s a demo to show off more of the same gameplay that has been heralded as a classic for a decade+.