Parke Metzer

The coolest details of the shared world are also incredibly temperamental. Watching your buddy battle a wild Pokémon is awesome when it works, seeing the attacks flying between the two monsters, and even the Poké Ball being thrown and sparkling. More often than not, sadly, it doesn’t work, and instead you see two static Pokémon staring at each other, until one of them pops out of existence. Yet, optimists that we are, we cheer whenever it chooses to function, and more importantly, stand on top of the Pokémon being battled to make it look like we’re fighting each other’s Legendaries. (Incidentally, that’s how this viral video was done, rather than being a bug.)


It’s more annoying that the general brokenness of the game interrupts our play, given one person’s game crashing means having to reload, both of us head back to a Center, etc, etc.

My son, floating above an invisible Moraidon.
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

But bugs and crashes aside (which they rarely are), there’s genuinely something so calmly special about how co-op PSV works. It’s so low-key, so entirely without nags or suggestions or limitations, that we end up just happily getting on with our games, but with the comforting knowledge that the other is there, available.

Then there’s just goofy stuff, like making up our own race courses, or even playing tag and hide-and-seek (from which I was disqualified for using the map to mark his location as a destination). We challenge each other to glitch over an impossible jump, and then try to land on hard-to-reach columns or islands when playing tag. Then I get distracted by a Pokémon I haven’t caught yet, and Toby jumps off the nearest available cliff.


Now, of course, this isn’t the first time a Pokémon game has let you do this. Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee allowed players to share a game, but never having played them, we can pretend it never happened.

If you’re in the situation where you know someone else who’s playing, whether in the same place as you (done using Offline mode) or anywhere else in the world (using Online), I really do recommend it. It’s that it’s not game-changing that makes it feel so special in the Pokémon world, just letting you do your own thing, but in the company of up to three others. And, as I said, without having to drag the game back or forward to the point the host has reached, instead capable of allowing it to exist in different states, sometimes via instancing, but mostly by simply making features invisible if they contradict a players’ reality.


For a game that isn’t yet able to just let you walk through a house without somehow getting you stuck in a wall, or showing you the world from an under-floor perspective, that’s quite the thing.