From the start of its gaming franchise in 1996 to now, Pokémon has become Nintendo’s second biggest-selling series, moving out around half a billion units. It comes behind Mario, which has sold around 150 million more units than it, albeit with a head start of around a decade and a half.
Pokémon games started out on the Game Boy in the first generation and have continued all the way through the iterations of the Game Boy and the iterations of the Nintendo DS to now, where games release on the Switch, which is a top 5 selling console for Nintendo and is quickly rising on that list.
There has been a total of 7 games released on the Nintendo Switch at the time of writing and if you’re wondering how the seventh and eighth generation games are stacking up against each other, below we have compiled a list of them in order from worst to best. But first, we look forward to the game that have been announced for the Switch and what we can expect from them.
In 1999, Pokémon Snap was released for the Nintendo 64 in North America, and to this day, the community is split on how good it was. Some consider it one of the better Pokémon spinoff games ever, while some think it was a little boring. The concept of the game is that you’re a photographer called Todd Snap, and you travel around the world, taking pictures of different Pokémon species. Once you’ve taken 60 pictures, you take them back to Professor Oak, who rates each one.
It’s a simple concept that could be perfect for you depending on what kind of games you like. Next month, Bandai Namco Studios are putting out the sequel.
While the original was criticised for only including 63 Pokémon, New Pokémon Snap will feature over 200 difference Pokémon. Now, you’ll traverse through jungles, beaches and deserts on your hovercraft to take your photos and will take them to Professor Mirror who helps judge them with the help of Rita and Phil. Photos can now be retouched and shared online where the most liked pictures will be shared in-game.
A new addition is the Illumina phenomenon, which was teased at the end of the trailer. You’re tasked with helping to investigate it.
One of the other games announced in celebration of Pokémon’s 25th anniversary was Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. It will be an enhanced remake of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl which is a fourth-generation game that was released on the Nintendo DS in 2006 in Japan (and 2007 in North America).
The return to Sinnoh is highly anticipated amongst fans. The Diamond & Pearl games were a key turning point in the Pokémon series because they were a step up from previous games and showed fans what the future of the franchise would be. Fourth-generation is where online battling and trading was first introduced so it’s only fitting that it comes back around here. Aside from the obvious graphical changes, the remakes are believed to be faithful.
Interestingly, the games are being developed by ICLA and overseen by Game Freak, when usually the latter is the main developer. This makes this the first time a main series Pokémon game where Game Freak is not the lead developer.
Last but not least of the games announced earlier this year is Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It serves as a prequel to Pokémon Diamond & Pearl and in turn the Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl games. It is expected to be out around a year from now.
While it will honor the core gameplay of the games that have become for it, Pokémon Legends: Arceus makes history because it is the first action-RPG in the main series and Game Freak’s first attempt at that sub-genre of games.
The reveal trailer saw many fans comparing the environment, gameplay, and general cinematic style to that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game is set to feature an open-world setting that is an extension of the Wild Area that was introduced in Pokémon Sword & Shield (which appears in our ranking just below because it was a game for the Switch). Though it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s speculated that the objective of the game will be to create Sinnoh’s first Pokédex.
Now that we know what’s to come, here’s the ranking of the games that are already out on the Switch.
Perhaps this is a little unfair considering Pokémon HOME isn’t a game per se, but it’s still an official Pokémon application available on the Switch, so we decided to include it anyway. It’s completely free (more on this later) and acts as a cloud-based storage for Pokémon.
There is a mobile version of the game and of course, a Switch version. The Switch version boasts some exclusive features, including access to the Basic Box where 30 Pokémon can be stored. Pokémon from Let’s Go Pikachu!, Let’s Go Eevee! and Pokémon Sword & Shield can all be stored here.
A key criticism of HOME is that if you really want to use the full breadth of it and if you’re a hardcore Pokémon player, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to pay for the Premium plan which allows you to store up to 6,000 Pokémon. A 30-day subscription will cost you $2.69 while a full year will put you $14.39 out of pocket.
Developed by Genius Sonority and published by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, Pokémon Café Mix, just like Pokémon HOME, is completely free. It’s not your average Pokémon game where you have to catch Pokémon. Instead, it’s a puzzle game.
You and Eevee own a Café and serve customers, who are Pokémon. Every time an order is placed, a puzzle is triggered. You must clear matching icons on a screen by linking them in a ring, with a particular focus on items that the customer has just ordered. Every time you complete an order successfully, you’re given the means to upgrade the café, which will, in turn, attract more kinds of Pokémon.
The art style is great, but players have criticized the longevity of the game to some extent. If these kinds of puzzle games that generally appear on mobile aren’t your thing, this game isn’t going to change your mind. But with a price tag of free, it’s worth a try anyway.
The growing success of Minecraft meant that a bunch of franchises tried their hand at their own voxel-style games and Pokémon Quest is Game Freak’s attempt.
Set on the appropriately named Tumblecube Island, the new cube-shaped Pokémon we see here are called Pokéxel. There are four parts to the gameplay: base camp management, expeditions, catching Pokémon, and training Pokémon.
Much like Pokémon Café Mix, Pokémon Quest is considered to be a good enough game that it provides an ample distraction from everyday life, but it lacks the depth needed to compete with some of the games that appear later on this list.
Released last year, this game is a remake of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team & Red Rescue Team. It was the first remake of a Pokémon game that wasn’t a main series game.
You start off as a human who turned into a Pokémon and which one you turn into is decided by a personality test you take at the beginning. From there, you pick a Pokémon to be your partner and take on the jobs that you’re given. These can be anything from rescuing Pokémon to delivering items.
Similar to criticisms of other games that have already appeared on this list, many felt that the game could feel like too much of a grind which took the fun out of it, though considering it a worthy spinoff title that it’s hard for a Pokémon fan to ignore.
Pokkén Tournament DX is an enhanced version of Pokkén Tournament that was first teased way back in 2013. It was released for Arcade in 2015, Wii U in 2016, and the Switch in 2017.
In Germany and Austria, the game is known as Pokémon Tekken, which should give you an idea about what kind of game it is. It’s a fighting game with a focus on action. Of all of the versions released, the Switch is the only one that has all 23 Pokémon in it.
The game is considered underrated and one of the better fighting titles you can get on the Nintendo Switch, with extra praise going to the Switch version.
Yet another remake, coming in at second place, is Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!, a remake of Pokémon Yellow. These games are unique because they’re made to be a good entry point for new fans as well as older fans who played the original back in 1998.
The return to Kanto did its job in providing nostalgia for the original fans. Fans and critics alike applauded the capture system and Pikachu and Eevee as protagonists.
Finally, the best Pokémon game on the Switch, Pokémon Sword & Shield. Here, we go back to the classic storyline of a young Pokémon trainer who wants to become champion, this time of the Galar region by dethroning Leon.
The leadup to the game was shaky. The announcement that not all pre-existing Pokémon would appear had some fans disappointing and calling for a boycott, but all was well post-release. The game’s emphasis on freedom and general design was praised and most consider it one of the better games to be released in the entire series, let alone on the Switch.