Pokémon is a highly renowned RPG franchise by Game Freak. The key goal is to catch and train a wide variety of Pokémon, and to collect gym badges before challenging the Elite four and champion. The franchise had its humble beginnings on the Nintendo Gameboy and since then has gone from strength to strength. In the past 6 years, the Nintendo Switch has become the natural home of the Pokémon games. It goes without saying, but some Pokémon titles on the Switch are better than others . In this article, I will be ranking them from best to worst based on their OpenCritic score.
Pokemon Games for Switch: Best to Worst
1. Pokemon Legends: Arceus – 84/100
Pokemon Legends: Arceus was highly praised upon release for mixing things up. Unlike most mainline games in the franchise, Legends: Arceus featured fully open-world gameplay. The world is divided into five biomes, each with different types of Pokémon. It is up to the player to explore the world at their own guise and freely take on side quests. Overall, the game has been compared favourably to the Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild. Its unique take on the core Pokémon gameplay mechanics helped create an unforgettable adventure for the Switch.
2. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! – 81/100
Pokémon: Let’s Go served as a fantastic remake to the original Pokémon Yellow for the Gameboy. It featured much improved visuals, music and gameplay mechanics. In addition, it added in the Mega Evolved forms of the original 151 Pokémon first introduced in X and Y. These games were particularly praised for their nostalgia and charm in addition to their accessibility. It is easy to see why they are among the best Pokémon games for the Switch.
3. Pokken Tournament DX – 80/100
Pokken Tournament DX is a spin-off game involving Tekken-style combat. Although it may not appeal to all fans, this game received plenty of praise upon release. The gameplay mechanics are satisfying, and the DX version for the Switch featured more characters than ever. If you are looking for a quick multiplayer Pokémon game to pass the time, you can do a lot worse.
4. New Pokémon Snap – 80/100
The New Pokémon Snap served as the sequel to the Nintendo 64 original. Unlike the mainline games, your goal is simply to take as many pictures of wild Pokémon as possible. There are multiple on-rails photography sessions, and it is up to the player to take the best pictures possible. It received positive reception overall with much praise focused the nostalgia, engaging gameplay and beautiful environments.
5. Pokémon Sword and Shield – 80/100
Sword and Shield were the mainline 8th generation Pokémon games. They took place in the new Galar region and represented another major step forward for the series. The visuals were better than ever before, and multiple new gameplay mechanics were added such as Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokémon. These games were a huge critical success going on to sell over 26 million copies for the Switch.
6. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl – 74/100
These games are a remake of the original 4th generation Diamond and Pearl games for the Nintendo DS. They featured vastly improved visuals, and closely follow the games they are remakes of. However, they received some criticism on release for not adding in many new features or innovations.
7. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet – 71/100
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the very latest mainline entries. The games take players to the all new region of Paldea. One major change in these games is that they feature a full open-world for the first time. This gave players the freedom to tackle the game’s challenges in whatever order they wanted. In addition to all this, these titles added 112 new Pokémon. However, Scarlet and Violet were criticised upon release for their fairly poor visuals and their lacklustre technical performance.
8. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – 69/100
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is remake of the original 2005 games. They are very faithful and feature much improved visuals. However, they received a mixed reception with critics stating that the original 2005 formula didn’t age too well. Nevertheless, they are still worth checking out for die-hard fans of the original.
9. Pokémon Unite – 68/100
Pokémon Unite is a free-to-play online battle arena game. Each match consists of a team of 5 players and they are limited to a ten minute time duration. You start off with a weaker Pokémon with the possibility of capturing new ones as the match progresses. Overall, this is a quick and fun multi-player game. However, it was met with some criticism for its micro-transitions, considered by some to be excessive.
10. Detective Pikachu Returns – 67/100
Detective Pikachu returns is a spin-off adventure title. You play as detective Tim Goodman who teams up with Pikachu to solve various mysteries around the fictional ‘Ryme City’. Critical consensus on this title was mixed. The investigation mechanics were considered by many to be very simple and basic. Nevertheless, it still holds a lot of charm and is worth checking out for fans of the previous game and/or movie.
11. Pokémon Quest – 66/100
This is a free-to-play Pokémon game with Minecraft style visuals. Your goal is to clear the various levels by defeating all the wild Pokémon on the island. This title can definitely provide some fun and entertainment in short bursts. However, its lack of depth and the fairly bland automated battles is the main reason why it is near the bottom of this list.
12. Pokémon Café Mix – 66/100
This is yet another spin-off title. More specifically, Pokémon Café Mix is a puzzle game. You run a café and you must solve puzzles in order to make the items that are being ordered. Praise was directed towards this title for its cute visual aesthetics. Despite this, it also received some criticism for its sluggish, and tiring pace.
You should now have a good idea of what the best (and worst) Pokémon games available for the Switch are.
In case you also have a PlayStation console, and want to play games similar to the Pokémon ones listed above on it, be sure to consult this article here.