BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Best Pokémon Games

Updated July 2023
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Nintendo Pokémon Shield / Sword
Pokémon Shield / Sword
Check Price
Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

Whether it’s playing with a skyscraper-sized Dynamax Pikachu, befriending a fuzzy Wooloo, or battling online, there’s so much for Pokémon trainers to see and do.


There are 400 Pokémon to catch, trade, train, and battle with. New and returning favorites. Explore the expansive Gallar region and its massive Wild Area. Experience gigantic Dynamax battles.


Many classic species are unobtainable in these games.

Best Bang for the Buck
Nintendo Pokémon Shining Pearl
Pokémon Shining Pearl
Check Price
Bottom Line

The reimagined Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond Pokémon games keep everything that made the classic Nintendo DS games fun while adding tons of exciting content.


Journey to become Sinnoh’s Pokémon Master. Build a Hidden Base in the Grand Underground. Dress up and perform at Super Contest Shows. Day and night cycles. Cook treats for Pokémon.


Certain Pokémon species are exclusive to Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond.

Nintendo New Pokémon Snap
New Pokémon Snap
Check Price
Most Stylish
Bottom Line

New Pokémon Snap is a must-play for its adorable interactions and laidback gameplay, making it easy for all ages to enjoy.


Take photos of wild Pokémon in the Lentil region. Toss fruit and items to get rare reactions and behaviors. Variety of charming environments. Easy to share pictures. Compare pictures with other players.


More of a creative game than a challenging game.

Nintendo Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! / Pikachu!
Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! / Pikachu!
Check Price
Best for Kids
Bottom Line

Between their faithful recreation of the original Kanto region, streamlined gameplay, and lower difficulty, these games are a fantastic introduction to the world of Pokémon.


Extra-easy to understand and play. Start with Eevee or Pikachu partner. Take favorite creatures with you via Pokémon Plus accessory. Import Pokémon from Pokémon Go! mobile game.


Geared towards younger and brand-new players, this pair of games isn’t too challenging.

Nintendo Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Check Price
Engaging Story
Bottom Line

With hundreds of Pokémon to make friends with and a variety of difficult Mystery Dungeons to conquer, this game is sure kids glued.


Engaging story. Play as 1 of 16 Pokémon. Make friends and explore randomized Mystery Dungeons. Meet nearly 400 Pokémon. Requires a strategic mindset. Auto mode for inexperienced players.


The Pokémon you play as is selected by a personality test.

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 all opinions about the products are our own. About 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 all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
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.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

Category cover

Buying guide for Best Pokémon games

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.

Content Image
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


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.


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.


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.


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.

Content Image
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.


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.


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.


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

Content Image
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.


Q. What age groups 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 game?

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.