It's easy to blame nostalgia for the special place in our hearts that the original Pokémon games occupy, but Red and Blue genuinely have a lot of great elements that the modern games in the franchise don't really offer anymore. Enter Collectems, a new game that blends what made Pokémon Red and Blue so great, with some of the better features you can find in newer Pokémon games.
The core idea is still more or less the same: the world is populated with strange creatures which you can collect (get it??) and use in battle. Creatures you capture all have their own typing, strengths and weaknesses. The visual style, as you can see in the screenshot above, takes inspiration from the gorgeous sprites in the older Pokémon games. And the music in the game sounds like something that could have easily been in the older games, too:
Here's where things get interesting:
- Unlike the newer games, Collectems aims to retain a sense of adventure. Each playthrough is different: the layout of the environments is randomized, as are the enemies and loot.
- The story revolves around paying off a debt left by your MIA parents.
- Collectems isn't afraid of giving you a challenge. The game features permanent death, and if one of your critters happens to die, you can pass on their DNA to other Collectems that are still alive. The system sounds sort of unsettling, but is also fascinating.
- It's customizeable. Unlike the actual Pokémon games, you can choose your own difficulty level in Collectems, as well as set conditions to give any given playthrough more spice. For example, according to the developers you can "place restrictions on learning/teaching moves, penalize yourself for healing, institute economic inflation, remove all logic from the randomization of the world." Just to name a few things.
- Money you win from battles can be used to invest in things like breeding centers, eugenics research, manufacturing items, and training facilities. Collectems also seems to feature double battles.
- Battles use an AP system, not a turn-based system—this means you don't have to choose between, say, healing and doing an attack.
- You can play the game without having a Nintendo system—it's currently being developed for PC, Mac, PS4, and PS Vita.
From the game's official site:
Collectems is a new RPG project from The Layabouts made in the spirit of the original Pokémon Red & Blue Versions. In terms of monster designs and atmosphere, those games struck a really weird and often lonely chord. We want to recapture that raw strangeness and sense of mystery that was sort of smoothed over when it became an international sensation. Other influences include the character interaction of The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask and the Mother franchise, the strategic management of X-COM, and the randomization of games like The Binding of Isaac or Rogue Legacy.
We intend on Collectems being a highly replayable experience where players collect, research, and battle Collectems to support a business. Paying off debt milestones will result in new opportunities for expansion and, in turn, provide new outlets for team customization. We want to empower the player with choice, but also present the burden of those choices, asking them to make long lasting decisions that will have a major impact on the potential of their team. Exploring the world of Tamota to support this system should be as engaging as possible and we hope to deliver on a world that's well worth seeing in its entirety.
It may not feature critters with the star power of Pokémon like Pikachu, but still, sounds neat, right?
Collectems doesn't have a release date, but you can follow its development here.
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