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Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver review

Pokemon returns with a new gadget, but the same game

In a series like Pokemon, where changes are small and subtle, an addition like the Pokewalker -a Tamagotchi-style pedometer you can transfer your Pokemon into for quick leveling on the go -is huge. and provides 2 minigames, Dowsing and a Poke Radar for catching Pokemon. The IR connectivity also makes using it a breeze, as you simply hold the Pokewalker’s sensor up to the game card, which has its own built in IR sensor.

Above: No Starfleet Engineer needed, transporting Pokemon onto the Pokewalker is a breeze

Once the Pokemon is on the Pokewalker, he is considered “On a Stroll” and is removed from the regular game. From there, the Pokewalker keeps track of your steps, and awards experience and happiness to the chosen Pokemon, while also awarding Watts, a currency specific to the Pokewalker. Aside from unlocking new options and areas for the Pokewalker, Watts can be used to play two minigames: dowsing for items, or searching for other Pokemon to capture with the Poke Radar. Dowsing is a simple guessing game in which you select a patch of grass and look for an item, while the Poke Radar has you track a Pokemon through some grass and battle against it with a simplified menu. Pokemon captured in the Pokewalker can then be transferred back to the game the next time you connect.

Above: Also functions as a Max Repel against random girl encounters

After transferring a Pokemon onto the Pokewalker, it took about 63 steps to level up my Mareep from six to seven. Low-level Pokemon tend to level extremely quickly on the Pokewalker, which makes using it immediately fun, if somewhat impractical. Knowing that your ‘mons are leveling as you're commuting to work or school is an awesome feeling, and there's a certain nerdy giddiness in knowing your Pokemon pals are in your pocket with you wherever you go. The only downside comes from the fact that the Pokemon may only level up once per transfer to the Pokewalker. Given how fast low-level Pokemon level, you'll find yourself constantly swapping Pokemon on and off the system as you walk around in real life, so that you’re not wasting steps on a Pokemon that's already leveled up. While it’s likely to dissuade cheaters from just placing the Pokewalker in a hardware store paint can shaker and getting a bunch of Lvl 100s, it hardly feels worth the effort in the early portions of the game, as traditional battles will level your young Pokemon much faster.

More Info

GenreRole Playing

After almost a decade, Pokemon trainers can finally return to the Johto region, making hard-to-obtain Gold/Silver Pokemon like the starters (Chikorita, Totodile and Cyndaquil) much more accessible. This remake promises lots of cool additions, like updated graphics and sound, DS functionality, and more.

US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Release date14 March 2010 (US), 26 March 2010 (UK)