Best Pokémon Games

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

15 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
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218 Consumers Consulted
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Pokémon games

Last Updated September 2020

Whether you've been playing since Generation I or you're new to the ways of Pokémon training, there's plenty to learn about Pokémon games. Perhaps you haven't played a Pokémon game in a while and want to know where to pick up, or maybe you want to learn more about Pokémon games in general to work out whether you'd enjoy playing them.

The Pokémon franchise is huge, but luckily, Pokémon games tend to be just as enjoyable for new players as they are for those who've played for years, collected all the trading cards, and watched all the shows. Read on to delve deeper into the world of Pokémon games.

Pokémon games are usually released in pairs (such as Sword and Shield or Sun and Moon). Both games in the pair are nearly identical except for small differences such as exclusive Pokémon or different gym leaders.

Key considerations

Console

Since Pokémon games are published by Nintendo, they are available primarily on Nintendo consoles. While there are some mobile apps available, you will most likely need a Nintendo console, like the Switch, to play. If you have a specific game in mind, check its compatibility with your console before you buy.

Generation

All Pokémon games belong to a certain generation, grouped with other Pokémon games released at the same or a similar time. Each generation has its own exclusive Pokémon (though many Pokémon are found over multiple generations) and is set in a different region. The first Generation I games were released in 1996.

  • Generation I includes Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow and is set in the region of Kanto.
  • Generation II includes Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal and is set in the region of Johto.
  • Generation III includes Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, and LeafGreen and is set in the region of Hoenn.
  • Generation IV includes Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver and is set in the region of Sinnoh.
  • Generation V includes Pokémon Black, White, Black 2, and White 2 and is set in the region of Unova.
  • Generation VI includes Pokémon X, Y, Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire and is set in the region of Kalos.
  • Generation VII includes Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon, Let's Go: Pikachu! and Let's Go: Eevee! and is set in the region of Alola.
  • Generation VIII includes just Pokémon Sword and Shield and is set in the region of Galar.

Plot

While each game varies slightly, they all follow a similar plot. You start the game as a complete beginner Pokémon trainer who is gifted a Pokémon to work with. Your goal is to catch and raise Pokémon, making them strong enough for you to defeat all the region's gym leaders and go on to beat even tougher foes (in earlier games, you must battle the Elite Four but in Sword and Shield, you have to complete the Champion Battle). There are additional subplots to keep things interesting.

Gameplay

Pokémon games are generally turn-based RPGs, so battling isn't in real time. Instead, you pick a move to unleash on your foe who in turn unleashes a move on you. This keeps Pokémon battles at a more relaxed pace which many players enjoy.

When you're not battling, you navigate your way from town to town in the region. The area between towns is where you'll find wild Pokémon to catch and other Pokémon trainers to battle with to increase the strength of your Pokémon.

DID YOU KNOW?

The regions in Pokémon games are generally based on real places. For instance, Alola is based on Hawaii and Galar is based on the UK.

Features

Number of Pokémon

The total number of Pokémon over all games now exceeds 1,000, but you won't be able to catch 'em all in every game. Most generations feature around 100 Pokémon.

Gyms

Most towns in your game's region have a gym. You must challenge these gyms and defeat the leader in order to progress with the game.

Evolution

Many, but not all, Pokémon evolve into new forms as they get stronger or with the help of items such as moon stones.

Generation VIII Pokémon games are released for the Nintendo Switch only. Previous generations were played on the Nintendo DS and, before that, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color.

FAQ

Q. What age group are Pokémon games suitable for?
A.
Pokémon games are rated "E" for everyone, meaning there's nothing unsuitable for young children in them. That said, youngsters may find certain elements of the gameplay tricky, so they're usually best enjoyed by players of 8 to 10 and over. What's great about Pokémon games is that they appeal just as much to older players as to young ones, and many adults enjoy playing them as well.
 

Q. What's the difference between a main game and a spin-off?
A.
Pokémon main games are those that are listed under the "Generations" subheading above and follow the standard plot of catching and raising Pokémon with the goal of defeating gym leaders. Spin-off games are set in the world of Pokémon but have different plotlines. For instance, the game Detective Pikachu was about solving mysteries with a Pikachu.
 

Q. How can I use Pokémon types to my advantage?
A.
All Pokémon have at least one type, but some have two. All types have strengths and weaknesses against other types. Electric types are strong against water types, for instance, so if you hit a water type Pokémon with an electric move, it will serve double the damage.

The team that worked on this review
  • Arnold
    Arnold
    Writer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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