This game finally took my favorite aspect of the Pokemon series, collecting, and put it front and center. The gameplay loop of exploring, collecting Pokemon in large quantities, getting rewards, rinse and repeat is incredibly addicting. I enjoy the fact that you aren't forced to stop your movement, engage in a battle, weaken a Pokemon, then throw a ball until you catch it like every other Pokemon game.
Comparing this to other Pokemon games, the battle system and other things around that feel more like a necessary addition because people expected it, rather than it being a focal point. That being said, if you're like me, this may not bother you. I never played Pokemon for it's battle system. It was always a collection game first and foremost to me.
I think this game is a big step in the right direction to cater more towards that collection appeal, and I honestly wouldn't mind the battle aspect of this spin-off series being dropped completely in favor for some more pet raising/farm sim mechanics. This series has evolved beyond the point of needing everything to revolve around battling Pokemon.
Since this game is such a departure from the usual mechanics, there are a lot of hiccups and things that could be improved upon heavily. The art assets, environments, and performance are all lacking in a pretty big way. The game's pacing and side content could be improved upon as well.
All-in-all, this is a wonderful first step in the right direction for what could be a recurring companion series to the main Pokemon game entries.