Reader Review: Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Jenn does, as she gives her heart and soul in training.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Jenn Christodoulou. If you’ve played Pokémon Heart Gold or Soul Silver, or just want to ask Jenn more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver (DS)

With the release of Nintendo’s Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver back in March, my world is a-buzz with Pokémon fever. Every person I see, I play ‘Who’s that Pokémon’ with inside my head; every hospital is a Pokécentre to be explored; every body of water begs me to surf on it. Sure, you might call me addicted, but I prefer to think of myself as victim to the pure awesome that is this well-made remake.


Graphics: The world is bright, colourful, and each town looks different than the last. Unlike some game remakes, Nintendo hasn’t gone and ripped our familiar world apart to make it “better”. Instead they’ve kept it just as we left it in Gold and Silver. Sure, there have been some minute alterations, but change is good, right?

Voltorb Flip: Game Corner games have always been a fun and addictive way to earn coins and obtain new Pokémon, but Voltorb Flip redefines addiction. Unlike the previous games, this one requires more than chance to win your coins; you’ve actually gotta think. You play the game by flipping over cards. A x2 card will double your coin total, and a x3 card will triple it. Flip over a Voltorb card however, and you lose everything. Be wary: Pokémon may begin to feel neglected after you spend seven consecutive hours flipping Voltorbs instead of beating gym leaders

Pokéathlon: Think Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, but with Pokémon. The mini-games are fun, highly addictive and there’s nothing better than that satisfied feeling you get when you beat the pants off your opponents.

Never Boring: With the wide variety of daily and weekly events, there is always something to do when you load up Pokémon Heart Gold or Soul Silver. Whether you feel like filling up your Pokédex, training your Pokémon or having a bit of a gamble, Pokémon will offer you something to satiate that boredom.


HMs: There’s nothing worse than spending 20 minutes wandering through a cave only to discover you need to use ‘Strength’ to get to the exit, and not having a single Pokémon that’s able to learn it. They’re just aggravating, especially when they take up a slot that could be occupied by one of the much cooler and newer TMs.

Pokégear Phone: Receiving phone calls is fun. Receiving five phone calls every three minutes begins to verge on annoying. Receiving five phone calls every three minutes from your mother telling you she’s spent your money on yet another useless batch of berries you will never ever use is just bad parenting.

Whether you’ve watched Pokémon evolve from the very beginning in 1996, or if you’ve just picked your first starter Pokémon today, the remakes of Gold and Silver are going to offer you hours upon hours of enjoyment. Nintendo has achieved the perfect balance of new and old, nostalgia and intrigue, ensuring you’ll fork out the money for their games and never look back.

Reviewed by: Jenn Christodoulou

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    Well, it seems Silver & Gold is the only generation (thus far) to actually change the game somehow.

    The originals introduced a lot of welcomed features that are still present and loved today. Yet every new generation AND remake, is just, well Pokemon.

    HeartGold & SoulSilver however follow in the footsteps of their parents. Oh Nintendo...

      Oh, how ignorant.

      Ruby/Sapphire introduced Natures and Abilities while completely reconfiguring the structure of the stats and EV training and all that junk.

      Diamond/Pearl made the elements of a move and their physical/special attribute mutually exclusive.

      All of these are just important to playing the game as the introduction of two new types, special split and addition of hold items in GSC. Arguably: more important.

        From the perspective of someone who has only ever played about two Pokemon games and isn't a big fan of the series, those things just aren't important changes. What they do is add another layer of complexity to the game, but they don't significantly change it except if you're prepared to explore every depth of the game.

        If you want a bad metaphor, what each game does is add a new cherry, sprinkles or whatever to the cake. It's the same cake, and many people don't even notice the sprinkles in their haste to eat it.

        A significant change to me would be a new (not rehashed) storyline, a reconfigured battle system, new goals other than beating the Elite Four, significant graphical upgrades, the expression of Pokemon as true characters. In short, something like the shift that occurs between Final Fantasy games. Even though each is different, they still feel like FF.

          Yeah you do have to beat the elite 4 in each game but there is always a new Legendary to catch (More). And there will be some story behind it.

          It's the same formula, but adds to the "journey". I don't expect Pokemon to have the depth of other games because it is made for 10 year olds.

            What an incredibly dumb thing to say - the battle system has been rebuilt at least twice; the only reason you don't notice is because there are no shallow changes and you choose not to look deep enough.

              WHAT A JOIK!

              Last edited 29/08/14 8:03 pm

          If you're not a fan and aren't willing to explore the depths of the game, what right do you even have to talk about it? That's like writing reviews for cars in a specialist magazine when "you've only driven one or two cars, and aren't a fan of cars". And then you'll say "all cars are the same, all they do is drive around." Ridiculous.

          As for making it like FF, what, changing the system arbitrarily every game so it never gains any depth? Every FF game is more shallow than Pokemon, at least unless you're "not interested and aren't willing to explore it in depth".

        I'll also add that the metaphor is wrong. The cake is changing every game, becoming more layered, but all you're tasting is the sprinkles. What you want them to do is to add more sprinkles, because you're not willing to "explore the cake in depth", you only notice the shallow stuff on top. And I'm not even sure GSC was the one that added the most sprinkles in the first place! RSE added stuff like contests and 2vs2 battles.

    I was talking to a friend, and we decided dear ole' Mum has a Berry Addiction. In the absence of any (known) hard drugs in the Pokemon universe, berries were the only thing we could think of. Also supported by the fact that she never sleeps (she doesn't even have a bed).

    What drove her to this? The pressures of being a single parent? The fact that the town she resides in is only a few houses big, with a grand total of 10 other people to talk to? Ten other people who say the same thing everytime you initiate a conversation? Enclosed in a town surrounded by feral animals?
    Talk to me mum. I have hundred of thousands of dollars, and people practically throw resort houses at me in Sinnoh. If you need a change of scenery, just say the word. Just lay off the berries. Please.

    An in-game phone hasn't been this bad since GTA IV.

    What really sold the game for me is the pokewalker. It's fun interacting with random people I find in the city who have theirs clipped on their belts in plain view. It's a great conversation starter. (I'm an adult, and no I don't randomly approach children and ask to play with their pokemon, lol.)

    I think HMs take too long to perform in-game-out-of-combat. Rather than giving us dialogue, then fancy animations, and then actually doing the move it should just do the move.

    I can't wait for Black and White to come out :)

    I think you forgot one "Hated" point:

    Whitney and her bloody Miltank.

    Voltorb flip sucks :/

    I can't believe they got rid of the slot machines..

      I think I've actually played Voltorb Flip more than the actual game. I never liked the slot machines! They always seemed like chance to me. Voltorb Flip gives you more control over winning coins, rather than more luck than skill.

      Even so, it might just be because I've completed about 6 of the games in the past, I really don't feel like doing it AGAIN. (but still bought the game like a sucker)

    Very good review, very sharp and quick to the point, though i wouldnt have put the phone on the list, you can freely delete the people who add you very easily and i find that when they do call you its sometimes to give you this super rare item or pokemon that just come out of hiding.

      What??? You can actually delete people from your phonebook??! Please! Dear god! Tell me how!
      No more tales about damn Ratatta!!!

    You got to laugh at the WIFI trading, all and sundry want a legendary or uber-pokemon and what do they offer in return?


    Joey: Hey *trainer name*, my RATATA isn't like other RATATAS. It's like, in the top percentage of all RATATAS

    Michael: Actually Whitney's miltank was on the list, but I ran out of words.

    Nathan: Voltorb flip took over my life for a very long period of time. I found it incredibly addictive, but it would have been nice if they'd left the slot machines too.

    Hayview: Thankyou :D I knew I could delete people but like you said, you never know when they'll call with interesting information. And even if Joey does call me to tell me that his ratatta is in the top percentage of all ratatta, I still laugh at that everytime.

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