This is the first Pokemon game i've ever played and now I see what all the hype was about. Its obviously a game aimed at children, and there isn't anything that deep going on... but its stupidly addictive.
To the previous reviewer who said:
"absolute newcomers will spend days learning the in's and out's."
That isn't true at all from my experience. I found that as a newcomer I was able to pick the game up and understand the mechanics easily, within minutes. The game does a good job of easing you in and to be honest... there isnt much to learn.
Unless you are competing online, and playing against real people, there isn't anything complicated, confusing or difficult to learn as part of the offline storymode.
You can basically just pick 6 pokemon which seem cool, powerful and fun to use... level them up high enough and win most of the gym battles and collect/defeat wild pokemon easily.
I've managed to get all 8 badges without using any special items (except the experience related ones) or even teaching them any unique abilities from my bag.
Most pokemon seem very easy to catch, as long as you knock their health down and use a strong pokeball. I havent even had to sleep most of them.
The storyline is pretty good, if not a bit long winded at times, and feels quite mature for a childrens game. The graphics arent going to blow you away, but this is a DS game, but their nice and cute and show whats going on nicely.
But this doesnt mean this is always an easy game.... there are times, even when fighting wild pokemon or gym leaders when you will get a tough fight or they get frustrating in some fashion.
But if your pokemon is high enough, and you have heals and revives you can defeat most anything easily.
This game is basically about having a massive world map, where you constantly fight wild pokemon, trainers, gym leaders or someone or something else. Thats it! Thats all it amounts up to, but its weirdly addictive.
The only slightly complicated side comes when knowing what all the items do in your bag that you collect, or knowing what ability to train a pokemon with. But unless you are doing online fights... you dont really have to worry about that too much.
Trading is also easy. Just find a creature you can't get in the alternative version, and offer it for trade for something you want or can't find... and someone will give it to you.
Over all... a good, time consuming game.