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Best Pokemon game for Nintendo Switch

Which Pokemon games for Nintendo Switch are best?

Pokemon games have come a long way since the release of Pokemon Red and Blue in 1996. While the first generation of games only featured 151 Pokemon that you could catch and trade, now there are nearly 1,000 Pokemon across 35 main series games. 

Whether you're brand new to the franchise or a seasoned Pokemon veteran, the Nintendo Switch has several great Pokemon games. For a Pokemon Switch game that incorporates cutting-edge graphics while maintaining the feel of the main series, Pokemon Sword and Shield are the top picks. 

What to know before you buy a Pokemon game for Nintendo Switch


Each game takes place in a region of the Pokemon world. You start as a young trainer tasked with catching Pokemon, fantastical creatures with elemental powers like fire, water and ice. As you travel throughout the massive world collecting new Pokemon, you face off against other trainers and bosses, called gym leaders, growing and evolving your Pokemon along the way.

You'll also usually have in-game foes with nefarious plans and a plotline relating to defeating them. For instance, in Pokemon Sword and Shield, you'll be expected to face-off against Team Yell to stop them from wreaking havoc with an ill-advised plan to stop the energy crisis.

There are also many side quests and activities in Pokemon games to occupy your time as you explore the in-game world. 


Each installment of the main series is associated with a different generation. Most generations introduce new species of Pokemon, gameplay features and distinct regions to explore. A single generation typically includes two games with minor differences, mainly to encourage trading and collaboration among players. For example, the first generation had Pokemon Red and Blue, but Red players could only collect every Pokemon if they traded with a Blue player. 

Many generations also include remakes of games from previous generations. A real-life location in a different part of the in-game world inspires each generation. Generations one to four are set in regions modeled after parts of Japan, while newer installments introduce players to areas inspired by locations like New York City and mainland Europe. 

Pokemon games for Nintendo Switch

There are plenty of Pokemon games available for Nintendo Switch. The seventh-generation Pokemon Switch games Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are great choices for young players. The eighth-generation games Sword and Shield and the ninth-generation games Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are classic main-series games. You can also buy Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which are 2021 remakes of 2006 fourth-generation Pokemon games. 

Aside from the main series, spinoff Pokemon Switch games such as Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team are also available. Plus, there's Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which was released as a prequel to Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, veering away from the usual turn-based RPG format by mixing in aspects of action and adventure games. 

Although there are some remakes of older games for Nintendo Switch, it isn't possible to play every Pokemon game on the Switch. Those made for older consoles don't have Switch versions unless they've been intentionally updated, such as in the case of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. 

  • Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: Part of the ninth generation, these are the newest Pokemon Switch games, released in 2022. They take on an open-world format, giving players more freedom to explore the region than ever before. You'll be able to check out the Paldea region in the order of your choice, while older titles funnel you around the gameplay area in a set route. 
  • Pokemon Legends: Arceus: In a new kind of Pokemon adventure, you'll experience the ability to interact with wild Pokemon in real-time rather than just in a turn-based manner. You revisit the region of Sinnoh long before the events of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. This game was released in early 2022. 
  • Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: Explore the Sinnoh region in these remakes of the 2006 fourth-generation games Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. The storyline is faithful to the original, and you'll encounter the same Pokemon, all repackaged with improved graphics for the Nintendo Switch. 
  • Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield: These 2019 games belong to the eighth generation and take place in Galar, a vast region heavily inspired by Great Britain. These Pokemon Switch games introduced the Dynamax game mechanic and had trainers battle in stadiums rather than gyms.
  • Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!: These are remakes of the first-generation game Pokemon Yellow. These Pokemon Switch games borrow elements from the animated Pokemon TV series and are perfect for young gamers. 

Pokemon Switch game features


Most Pokemon Switch games use a traditional turn-based combat system. This consists of choosing a move to unleash on your opponent, then waiting as they select an action to use against you. Although they move slower than real-time combat games, turn-based games like Pokemon emphasize strategy over brute force. All Pokemon have a type with its own strengths and weaknesses, so part of the strategy is putting together the right team. 

Many games in the series, including Let's Go, Eevee! and Let's Go, Pikachu! use an overhead perspective when exploring the in-game world. At the same time, newer installments like Sword and Shield utilize a fixed-camera, third-person perspective. 

Number of Pokemon

The number of new Pokemon introduced in each generation varies. In the past few generations, less than 100 new Pokemon have been introduced, while in earlier generations, you got roughly 100-150 new ones each time. 

However, it's not just new Pokemon that you can catch in each region; you'll also be able to get your hands on several returning Pokemon. While you'll never be able to catch every Pokemon in every game, newer Pokemon Switch games have around 400 Pokemon to catch, when you combine new and returning critters.


Evolutions are a key feature of Pokemon games. As you train your Pokemon, they gain levels. Most Pokemon automatically evolve once they reach a certain level. However, in some cases, other conditions must be met for evolution to occur. For example, sometimes the Pokemon must be holding a particular item. Some Pokemon can't be caught in-game. These can be gained only through evolution. 

If you love your Pokemon just as they are, you can cancel the evolution process as it's happening. However, Pokemon get tougher and more effective at battling when they evolve, so it's usually worth letting them take on their new form.  


You can purchase many Pokemon accessories alongside the games, including limited edition Nintendo Switch consoles and a Poke Ball-shaped controller. Two expansion packs for Sword and Shield have also been introduced, including The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Pokemon game for Nintendo Switch

Most people can expect to spend around $40-$60 on Pokemon Switch games. Limited edition versions and game bundles can cost considerably more depending on what they include.  

Pokemon game for Nintendo Switch FAQ

What is the newest Pokemon game for Nintendo Switch?

A. Released in November 2022, the newest Pokemon Switch games are Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. These are the first ninth-generation games, bringing new features, game mechanics and Pokemon in a new never-before-seen region. 

As you might expect from a new game, the graphics are an improvement on those from the eighth generation. You'll also get to explore the map in the order of your choice, which differs from older games where you've only been able to move around the region in a set route from the beginning.

What age group are Pokemon games intended for?

A. Pokemon Switch games are rated E, which means the games are appropriate for any age group. That said, turn-based gameplay is typically more enjoyable for gamers over the age of 8. There's no upper age limit for these games, and they have many adult fans. 

Is Pokemon multiplayer?

A. Since the first generation, Pokemon games have encouraged collaboration among players. Aspiring Pokemon trainers can go online to trade and battle with other players worldwide in the most recent Pokemon games. However, there isn't a multiplayer console mode, so two people can't play together on the same console simultaneously. In newer Pokemon Switch games, there are options to team up with up to three other players remotely, though you'll each need your own console and game. 

Best Pokemon games for Switch

Pokemon Scarlet

Set in the Paldea region, based on the Iberian peninsula, players can explore this world more freely than ever before, catching Pokemon and training them to win battles. As with all main-series  games, there are foes to defeat as part of an overarching storyline, all while trying to become the region's best trainer.

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Pokemon Violet

Pokemon Violet is the sister game to Pokemon Scarlet — the storyline and region is the same, there are just a handful of differences in the available Pokemon. The idea is that players pick one game and trade with friends if they want the Pokemon not included in their choice.

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Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Rather than being purely turn-based, like main-story games, in this title, you can sneak up on and catch Pokemon in real-time, adding an air of realism to the game. As a prequel to the main-series games, you can help build the world's first Pokedex.

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Pokemon Shield

Pokemon Shield offers a massive world for you to explore, full of different biomes and exciting opportunities, although the ultimate goal is to become the new Champion. In this Pokemon Switch game, you get the chance to catch the Legendary Pokemon Zamazenta.

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Pokemon Sword

The vast land of Galar includes a variety of fun environments to explore, including snowy mountain peaks, bustling cities and dense forests. New moves and features like Dynamax combat make it an exciting addition to the franchise.

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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond

A remake of the fourth-generation Pokemon Diamond, which was released for the Nintendo DS, this version is great as a nostalgia trip for those who played the original or a stand-alone game. The storyline and scale of the towns has been reproduced, with updated graphics for the Switch.

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Pokemon Shining Pearl

Like Brilliant Diamond, Pokemon Shining Pearl is a recreation of an old fourth-generation Pokemon game. Players explore the Sinnoh region in these Pokemon Switch games, catching, training and battling to become one of the best Pokemon trainers around.

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Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!

These Pokemon Switch games are modern remakes of the classic first-generation game Pokemon Yellow, particularly aimed at younger players. This duo takes the original 151 Pokemon species and the classic experience provided by the first gen games and repackages them with cutting-edge graphics and Pokemon Go connectivity.

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Pokemon Snap

A departure from the main series, this spinoff Pokemon Switch game is dedicated to researching Pokemon in their natural habitat. Instead of capturing and training Pokemon, you get to observe the creatures and photograph them in a richly detailed and lush environment.

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

This isn't one of the core Pokemon Switch games, but it's a fun adventure nonetheless. In Mystery Dungeon, you play as your choice of Pokemon. You're tasked with battling through dungeons to help Pokemon in trouble. Along the way, you may just discover your true purpose.

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Pokken Tournament DX 

Part Pokemon, part Tekken, this is a fighting game in which you play as a Pokemon. If you're looking for a standard Pokemon experience, this isn't the Pokemon Switch game for you, but it's great fun if you're happy to try anything in the Pokemon world.

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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