The Pokémon franchise has been alive and well since 1996. The series has seen many new games, worlds, and Pokémon for us to explore and catch. Each game gives us something new and, for the most part, players of the series love it. Most Pokémon fans will delight in explaining which games they played first, which Pokémon are their favorites, and the relative qualities of each game.
The Nintendo Switch offers a wide range of Pokémon games for players to relive and explore. Although some of these games may not be strictly set up as how we know Pokémon now, they do add a bit to the overall universe. They give new ways of looking at the world of Pokémon, and experiences within it that may not have occurred to players. They’re the perfect way to explore, catch, and learn about these adorable pocket monsters. If you’re looking for a new Pokémon game to try out and explore, you’ve come to the right place!
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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
Serving as remakes of the 2006 Nintendo DS games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are the newest Pokémon games to launch for Nintendo Switch. Although they don’t do much to fundamentally change the formula, these faithful remakes preserve the originals while including modern touches that make them easier to play. Most notably, the art has been vastly improved, featuring a chibi art style that looks more in line with recent Pokémon games. It also comes with the quality-of-life enhancements we’ve grown to expect, but ultimately, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl play it a little too safe.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the latest installments to the Pokémon series. You’re welcomed to the Galar region, where new Pokémon are hidden. You’ll be able to pick a new starter, face off against Team Yell, and unravel the mystery of legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta. There is a wide Wild Area to explore as well, where Pokémon roam free. You’re even able to team up with other players either locally or online to engage in new multiplayer co-op Max Raid Battles. In these battles, players will face off against giant and crazy strong Pokémon who have the Dynamax power.
You’ll have a chance to power up some Pokémon with the Gigantamax power. This comes with a new look and a whole new set of moves. The game offers a wide variety of things that previous games offered and some things that are brand new to the series. You can pick your clothing and hairstyle, which players have been able to do in recent renditions of the game. But you can also interact with your Pokémon in certain areas, such as the Pokémon Camp. Players new to the series and series veterans will have a good time exploring the new region.
Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu
Pokémon: Let’s Go isn’t a new game, but it feels new. The game takes the story and imaginings from the original Pokémon Blue, Red, and Yellow, but gives them a change. Instead of battling wild Pokémon, the game pulls inspiration from Pokémon Go. You’ll need to have a careful hand to pick up wild Pokémon in this one. But there are a few pretty major changes. The graphics, for example, are no longer the 2D designs from the original Red, Blue, and Yellow. The updated look to the classic and original Pokémon games is perfect for the latest audience.
Additionally, you’re able to interact between Let’s Go and Pokémon Go. If you have a beloved Pokémon in Pokémon Go, you’re able to bring that Pokémon to life by transferring it into your Let’s Go game. This will give you a new way to interact with the Pokémon and train it to be a master. However, this is a one-way street so be certain you want to bring your favorite from Pokémon Go to Let’s Go.
Pokémon Mystery Team: Rescue Team DX
This game is starkly different from the other games in the series because, instead of being a Pokémon Trainer, you’re a Pokémon. Whaaaat. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX lets you wake up as a Pokémon and explore the world through their eyes. You’ll be able to meet and recruit more than 400 Pokémon in a dungeon-crawling adventure. You can build a rescue team to tackle mysteries, change dungeons, and plan your moves as you venture through the world to make it safer for the Pokémon who live there. You may uncover your purpose for being a Pokémon on your way!
This game is more of a Pokémon building game rather than a collect-and-fight-them game. As you recruit adorable Pokémon team members, they’ll need places to stay and food to eat. You’ll need to build camps to house, manage, and strengthen your friends. You’ll also need to plan out your rescue teams as well. Each mystery will require you and your team to battle other Pokémon in a turn-based fight. A Pokémon’s strengths, weaknesses, and potentially rare qualities will be essential when planning your next mystery.
Tired of catching Pokémon? Maybe it’s time to take a tour of Tumblecube Island! Pokémon Quest gives players the chance to explore the world as a Pokémon, but things are a little different than in Rescue Team DX. The art for this game is drastically different from previous games, or even other Pokémon games on the Switch. The art can be jarring at first, but if you can get past it, Pokémon Quest is a delightful, free-to-play game that Pokémon fans of all ages can enjoy.
You’ll set out with your Pokémon buddies in search of loot and adventure across Tumblecube Island. The gameplay is simple, which makes expeditions and exploring with your Pokémon pals easier than before. You can also head to your basecamp after exploring to use the loot you’ve picked up. You’ll be able to attract different Kanto Region Pokémon to your basecamp by cooking delicious meals with the ingredients you’ve collected on your adventures. You can even decorate your camp to pick up some helpful bonuses that will pay off in your expeditions.
Pokkén Tournament DX
If your favorite part about Pokémon is battling, then you’re in luck. Pokkén Tournament is a Pokémon game that is solely focused on battling. It was the first Pokémon game to appear on the Nintendo Switch, and controls are simple enough for any player to navigate. You’ll get to play as your favorite Pokémon in a one-on-one battle against gym leaders, friends, and rivals. Additionally, you won’t have to face off against your foes alone. Although it’s a one-on-one battle, you’ll get two support Pokémon, who have abilities that can help you get the upper hand.
The game is a port from the Nintendo Wii U, but a few changes were added when the game moved to the Switch. You’ll get to pick from 21 different Pokémon to battle with. This is a big difference from the game’s original release on the Wii U, which only had 16 playable Pokémon. Additionally, Pokkén Tournament DX includes new features that make the game more enticing than before. You can choose from new battle modes, which players of the original Pokkén Tournament will definitely enjoy. What’s more, unlike the original version of the game, you won’t have to earn any support Pokémon through progress. Instead, you’ll get a chance to try out all the support Pokémon from the start.
Okay, so Pokémon Home isn’t exactly a game, but it still deserves to be on this list. Pokémon Home is a cloud service for the Switch that is compatible with mobile devices. You’re able to use Pokémon Home if you link the same Nintendo Account to both your Switch and the mobile version of Pokémon Home. This will give you access to the same Pokémon Boxes in both your Switch version of Pokémon Home and your mobile version.
Doesn’t sound super great? Well, the advantage to this is that you’ll be able to manage your collection of Pokémon across multiple games. You can also use Pokémon Home to trade Pokémon with friends or people around you. Depending on what version of the Pokémon storage system you have, you can store up to 6,000 Pokémon at a time. Although it’s not necessarily a game, it’s an effective way to manage the Pokémon you have between all your games.
Pokémon Café Mix
Want to know what it’s like in a café in the Pokémon universe? Pokémon Café Mix gives players a shot at running a Pokémon-friendly café. The free-to-start game has you meeting and growing your café staff, which is made up entirely of Pokémon who would love to help your small business expand. They even have adorable uniforms! The best way you can have these cute Pokémon help is by building your friendship with them and expanding your café and menu offerings, which is done by completing a series of puzzles. Each Pokémon staff member has a Café Skill that will give you a slight (or major) advantage on these puzzles.
As you finish puzzles and build your world-class café, you’ll face obstacles that will test your puzzle-solving abilities. As you pass obstacles and recruit Pokémon, your café will expand. You’ll get new tools or have new areas added to your café that may even draw more customers. This game emphasizes how cute Pokémon can be, and it’s centered on making the customer (adorable Pokémon) happy.
New Pokémon Snap
OK, you got us. New Pokémon Snap isn’t out just yet, but it will be soon. Those who experienced the original Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64 will love the new take on this updated game. It’s not just the graphics that are updated, either. Players will have a chance to catch moments with new Pokémon on-camera that we haven’t been able to before. You’ll be able to travel to the islands that make up the Lental region, which has vegetation and Pokémon that seem to have a special glow. Your research with Professor Mirror will help you learn about the dense jungles, vast deserts, and more of the Lental region. It will also help you learn more about why some of the Pokémon glow.
The best part is, you’ll be able to save, edit, and share some of your favorite Pokémon snapshots. After completing a course, you’ll be able to adjust the blur, zoom, brightness, and other photo aspects of each shot in Re-Snap mode. You can add stickers, frames, and personal touches to each photo then share them with your family and friends in-game. The game reimagines the 1999 classic in a way that is both enticing for veteran players and exciting for new ones. Be sure those Pokémon strike a pose before you snap your shot! This game is set to arrive in players’ hands on April 30, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!
The newest game in the series is Pokémon Unite, only it’s probably different than you might expect. This is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), wherein players compete to capture control points. In it, two teams of five battle it out to reach the highest score before the time runs out. MOBAs have picked up steam in recent memory, becoming a highly competitive genre in the world of gaming. Popular MOBAs include League of Legends and Dota 2, as a point of comparison. While this might not be a genre many players are used to, the fact that you can jump in without paying a dime is enticing enough.
Pokémon has become so ubiquitous that it makes sense to see the series branch out into various genres. The nice thing about Pokémon Unite is that it can be played with friends, adding a social aspect to the fray. Much like the mainline RPG series, you start with a low-level Pokémon but can upgrade them as you win matches. Oddly enough, it seems Unite won’t focus on Pokémon type as much, which is a shame. While this game is available on Nintendo Switch right now, a version for iOS and Android will launch later this year, with cross-platform play across all editions.