I found this game both objectively bad and unchallenging (discounting the metagame, which I don't dabble in) and also weirdly enchanting. The Wild Area is great! That should be the entire game!
I'm playing this four months later, having downloaded the expansion pack DLC with my partner, and... kind of the same as above? It's frustrating to me how many good parts of this game there are (collecting Pokemon is just inherently fun, the game is cute and charming albeit slow) — why isn't this an entire MMO or experience?