The Best Pokémon Games, Ranked

It’s arduous to pinpoint the explanation why the Pokémon franchise has remained a worldwide sensation for greater than 20 years. Possibly it actually is the need to catch ’em all. Possibly it’s that the fundamental formulation, of changing into the perfect coach, has remained largely the identical since its debut on Recreation Boy.

A way of consolation and familiarity, whereas implementing sufficient new options to evolve, retains bringing avid gamers again in droves. No mainline Pokémon recreation has been something lower than nice, and all of them have been business successes. Pokémon is likely one of the uncommon franchises that each youngsters and adults obsess over.

Pokémon Sword and Defend, the primary core Pokémon experiences for a house console, arrived on Change November 15. With that in thoughts, we determined to rank the mainline Pokémon generations from finest to worst — worst being relative as even the final entry on this checklist is nice. The mainline video games are literally solely a fraction of video video games within the Pokémon universe, so we additionally included our picks for one of the best Pokémon spinoff video games after the principle occasion.

1. Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal (Gen 2)

Starters: Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile

Pokémon Gold and Silver added 100 Pokémon to the unique 151, together with arguably one of the best trio of starters Pokémon has seen. Past including to the Pokédex, technology two made nice strides in a number of areas over the unique. For starters, you now had to consider the time of day when attempting to catch new pals, because the day/night time cycle well added a layer of depth to your time spent within the lengthy grass.

Including to the methods seen in Pokémon Yellow, technology two leaned into dual-types, permitting you to make a extra different and strategically various workforce to convey into battle. The Johto area occurs to be our favourite to discover as properly and has one of the best legendary birds (Lugia and Ho-Oh).

We’d be remiss to not point out HeartGold and SoulSilver, the improved DS remakes of Gold and Silver. HeartGold and SoulSilver added the Kanto area to the map, connecting Johto with the landmass that began the phenomenon. With 16 gymnasium leaders to finest, HeartGold and SoulSilver stay the deepest, lengthiest Pokémon video games ever created. If we might solely play one Pokémon recreation for the remainder of our lives, it’d be HeartGold or SoulSilver.

2. Pokémon Crimson/Blue/Yellow (Gen 1)

Starters (Blue/Crimson): Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur

Starter (Yellow): Pikachu

Partly resulting from nostalgia, partly resulting from how these video games nonetheless really feel nice at present, technology one’s trio of fantastic Pokémon video games take our second spot. To at the present time, technology one has one of the best assortment of Pokémon. The unique 151 won’t ever be forgotten and neither will Ash’s first journey. From the opening moments in Pallet City to selecting your first starter to racking up gymnasium badges and defeating the Elite 4, Pokémon Crimson and Blue simply feels proper.

Positive, a number of the deeper mechanics the collection is understood for now aren’t current within the authentic video games, however there’s one thing about their streamlined id that also brings a smile to our faces. Pokémon Yellow introduced the collection to full colour and having Pikachu by our facet made us actually really feel like we have been Ash, on a journey to catch ’em all. Technology one will all the time maintain a particular place in our hearts. It’s magical.

three. Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (Gen three)

Starters: Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip

Technology three is when Pokémon video games actually began to lean into natures, EV, and IV methods, inserting an emphasis on not solely the species however the particular member of that species in your celebration. The facility of the Recreation Boy Advance made every mannequin of the now 386 Pokémon extra vibrant.

Whereas we expect the 135 new Pokémon, as a gaggle, didn’t examine to the 100 added in gen two, Ruby and Sapphire had one of many neater areas. The Hoenn island area felt bigger than earlier areas and was typically a extra attention-grabbing space to discover. A pair of stellar gen three remakes, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, can be found on Nintendo 3DS.

four. Pokémon Sword and Defend (Gen eight)

Starters: Grookey, Scorbunny, Sobble

The most recent Pokémon video games are the primary mainline titles launched on Nintendo Change, and Recreation Freak has lastly realized our longtime dream of getting a totally 3D Pokémon journey on a house console. Within the British-themed Galar area, you possibly can enterprise into the brand new Wild space and seize monsters, or comply with the set pathways from city to city which have been within the collection because the very starting. Both manner, Pokémon at the moment are simply out and about as a substitute of being hidden in randomized encounters, so frustration is tremendously decreased.

With 400 Pokémon to catch and the addition of the Dynamax system to energy up your monsters, Pokémon Sword and Defend can maintain you busy for hours, although the elimination of longtime monsters from the sport, together with Psyduck and Squirtle, does imply you possibly can’t catch ‘em all this time.

5. Pokémon Extremely Solar/Moon (Gen 7)

Starters: Rowlet, Litten, Popplio

The newest mainline video games, Solar and Moon and the improved Extremely Solar and Extremely Moon, switched up the usual Pokémon development a bit. Set throughout the islands of Alola, Solar and Moon launched gamers to Crew Cranium and the Aether Basis, a gaggle devoted to defending Pokémon. Quite than progressing by means of numerous cities’ gyms, you needed to full island trials, which usually included a small dungeon and a battle with a strong Pokémon. Afterward, you’d have the ability to battle the island’s Kahuna.

The 80 new Pokémon have been a number of the most attention-grabbing to be added because the early video games, and the Alolan variations of authentic Pokémon felt impressed. Z-Strikes, Extremely Beasts, and an expanded tackle Mega Evolutions added welcome mechanics into the fold. There was even a Pokémon Snap fashion mini-game.

6. Pokémon X/Y (Gen 6)

Starters: Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie

Pokémon X and Y marked the collection’ first actually 3D expertise. The digital camera perspective switched from top-down to a better, behind-the-body angle, giving the world of Pokémon a way of scope it hadn’t seen earlier than. The France-inspired Kalos area had aptitude and magnificence and featured one of many largest mega-cities we’d seen so far.

Although X and Y solely launched 72 new Pokémon, it did mark the start of Mega Evolutions. The storyline considerably disappoints, although. The upper constancy presentation supplied by the Nintendo 3DS hardware made Pokémon fashions actually pop throughout battle sequences, permitting for crisper preventing animations.

7. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum (Gen four)

Starters: Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup

Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum served an essential function within the evolution of Pokémon. They appeared markedly higher than technology three due to the Nintendo DS, however they primarily confirmed the place the franchise would finally go. Technology 4 introduced a vital function, although: On-line buying and selling and battling. This made filling out the Pokédex, which then neared 500 with the assistance of the brand new 107 pocket monsters, extra of a worldwide effort.

You didn’t must know individuals with copies of the sport to commerce with. As an alternative, you might simply hop on-line and make a commerce for what you wanted. On-line battling allow you to actually see who was one of the best coach for the primary time in collection historical past. Technology 4 is nice due to its technological improvements, but it surely’s one of many extra forgettable Pokémon time durations total.

eight. Pokémon White/Black and White/Black 2 (Gen 5)

Starters: Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott

Technology 5 was an oddity. It was the primary within the collection to get a direct sequel, with Black 2 and White 2 releasing a 12 months after the originals. The sequels did retread acquainted territory, however informed a brand new story and featured some new areas in addition to Pokémon. Technology 5 additionally holds the document for essentially the most Pokémon, with 156 new Pokémon to catch.

Much more so than Diamond and Pearl, although, technology 5, particularly the sequels, felt like a cease hole for the collection’ subsequent evolution. Whereas we regard technology 5 because the “worst,” we nonetheless assume it’s fairly darn good. It didn’t introduce a lot new in any respect, however the true sequel idea was intriguing nonetheless.

Finest Pokémon spinoff video games

Outdoors of the mainline video games, there are dozens upon dozens of Pokémon experiences. A few of them diverge barely from the core formulation, and others are fully totally different. Make no mistake about it, the Pokémon franchise has produced numerous duds that felt like money grabs. Pokémon Thriller Dungeon collection, anybody? However there are some Pokémon spinoffs that work fairly properly. Listed below are our favorites.

1. Pokémon Snap

An on-rails shooter about taking candid photographs of Pokémon of their pure habits for Professor Oak? Signal us up. Pokémon Snap for Nintendo 64 centered extra on the fantastic thing about these magical creatures reasonably than their deft fight expertise. We beloved each second of it, particularly once we captured a fully good picture of a fireplace respiratory Charizard.

2. Pokémon Stadium

Pokémon Stadium introduced our pals to 3D lengthy earlier than the mainline collection when it launched on Nintendo 64. The sport used the usual turn-based battling system, rendering all your favorites from the unique 151 within the glory they deserved.

Working our manner by means of the stadium cups and taking part in multiplayer towards pals was a blast. One of the best half about Stadium, although, was the Switch Pak. The N64 controller attachment allow you to insert your copy of Pokémon Crimson, Blue, or Yellow to make use of your private assortment within the recreation’s thrilling 3v3 battles.

three. Pokémon Conquest

Pokémon Conquest for Nintendo DS spun the Pokémon formulation into a beautiful ways expertise. Set within the new Ransei area, it informed an entirely authentic story stuffed with warlords and waging factions. Whereas the turn-based ways gameplay wasn’t as deep or difficult as video games like Fireplace Emblem and Ultimate Fantasy Ways, it was an ideal introduction to the style and contained all of Pokémon’s patented attraction.

four. Pokémon Buying and selling Card Recreation

You already know the Pokémon Buying and selling Card Recreation. The bodily playing cards that took the world by storm within the late ’90s and early 2000s. Possibly you simply collected and traded them amongst pals, or perhaps you created your personal decks and battled.

Pokémon Buying and selling Card Recreation for Recreation Boy Coloration took the buying and selling card recreation and put it in online game type, full with a fascinating storyline and all the nuances from the actual factor. It was actually, actually good. If you happen to’re feeling nostalgic or by no means performed it the primary time round, it’s obtainable on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

5. Pokémon Go


Pokémon Go is essentially the most profitable Pokémon recreation of all time when it comes to participant rely. The cell sensation enables you to, sure you, be a real-life Pokémon coach anyplace on the earth. Utilizing AR know-how, Pokémon pop up whether or not you’re strolling down the sidewalk or hanging out in your personal yard.

6. Pokémon: Let’s Go

Pokémon: Let’s Go for Nintendo Change is extremely near being thought-about a mainline Pokémon recreation. In any case, it’s a largely trustworthy remake of Pokémon Yellow rendered in lovely 3D visuals, full with battling, the gymnasium badge development, and the Elite 4. The place Let’s Go differs is the act of catching Pokémon.

Utilizing Pokémon Go as an affect, a simplistic catch mini-game commences when working right into a wild Pokémon. Let’s Go additionally depicts wild Pokémon roaming the overworld, so that you all the time know what you’re entering into beforehand. Pokémon: Let’s Go is a superb melding of two varieties of Pokémon video games.

7. Pokémon Puzzle League

pokemon puzzle league screen

Pokémon Puzzle League is basically simply Tetris Assault with a special coat of paint, but it surely’s nonetheless one of the crucial entertaining Pokémon video games exterior of the principle collection. The sport is easy: the participant’s board is on one facet of the display screen with the opponent’s on the opposite.

Each boards will refill with tiles and gamers should rearrange the tiles to create strains of three or extra in a row. Doing so will clear the tiles out of your board and ship blocks to your opponent’s, which they’ll must filter. The sport is simple however difficult, and is especially enjoyable to play towards one other particular person. The presence of assorted characters from Pokémon additionally provides it a heat feeling of nostalgia.

eight. Pokémon Pinball

pokemon pinball screen

Pokémon Pinball for the Recreation Boy Coloration is a surprisingly addictive for a recreation with solely two tables. Hitting sure objects on the desk would trigger a Pokémon to seem, and gamers might then catch them by hitting them with the ball a number of occasions earlier than the time restrict ran out.

Regardless of the dearth of options, The sport was surprisingly enjoyable and odd; its misshapen recreation cartridge, which contained a battery-powered “rumble” function that added some haptic suggestions, was a very odd novelty for a Recreation Boy recreation.

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