Pokémon hit North America like wildfire spreading to every kid's television set and handheld console. There are a plethora of Pokémon video games in the market with only a select few being part of the main series, and others as spinoffs. With so much game variety, it's not surprising that some have transcended while others have failed.
With new Pokémon being added with every new generation, the incentive to pick up the latest Pokémon game keeps growing. By taking a look at the Pokémon games that worked and didn't work, we can see what went wrong. These are the 5 best Pokémon games (and the 5 worst).
10 Worked: Pokémon Red/Blue
The Pokémon games that started it all. Pokémon Red and Blue are not only fun for nostalgia purposes but are genuinely fun handheld games. Containing the original 150 Pokémon, this generation got the formula right the first time.
In Pokémon Red and Blue, players embark on a journey to become a Pokémon master by beating all the gym leaders and the Elite Four. Catching 150 Pokémon was a side objective of the games (151 Pokémon if you count the Mew in the garbage dumpster next to the S.S. Aqua). It goes without saying that the first generation of Pokémon games worked.
9 Didn't Work: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team
According to gamespot.com, "In a nutshell, every time you take a step or perform an action, the enemies in the dungeon also take a step or perform an action." These real-time based movements added to the excitement of the game, but it can't be considered a game that worked because of its overarching flaws. Most of the dungeons look the same, the Pokémon interactions are not that interesting, the game was way too long to beat, and it just didn't work.
8 Worked: Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness
While Pokémon Stadium was a different experience than the main series Pokémon games, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness was halfway between the two. Including three-dimensional battles and incorporating three-dimensional role-playing elements is why Nintendo GameCube's Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness worked.
The battles dragged on at times, and they could have been shortened. For the most part, the reviews of Gale of Darkness were bad, but that's maybe because it was ahead of its time. Pokémon Sword and Shield can learn a lot from XD: Gale of Darkness.
7 Didn't Work: Pokémon Rumble Rush
Pokémon Rumble Rush is a new free-to-play mobile game that released in May of 2019. With Pokémon Rumble Blast as the predecessor to compete with, Pokémon Rumble Rush doesn't seem like an improvement.
In some ways, Pokémon Rumble Rush copies Pokémon GO, but it does so with horrid Pokémon designs. Staring at distorted polygonal images grows tiring soon after diving into Pokémon Rumble Rush. Play Pokémon GO and avoid this terrible Pokémon spinoff.
6 Worked: Pokémon Snap
Pokémon Snap is a single-player photo-taking adventure. There is no combat, but Nintendo 64's Pokémon Snap didn't need it to be enjoyable. Depending on the photo you took, you would be rated across several categories.
With Professor Oak giving instructions, this simplistic game turned out to be one of the most enjoyable in history. Hopefully, Nintendo decides to make a sequel to Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch. Our Pokémon Snap memories are everlasting.
5 Didn't Work: PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond
The concept seemed interesting. You can play as a variety of Pokémon, controlling their attacks and movements. Since the game is limited to playing with first-stage evolution Pokémon lots of the game's appeal went out the window.
Playing Poképark 2: Wonder's Beyond is enjoyable for a short while but collecting items and talking to other Pokémon grows tiresome after a short while. With that said, for people who want to play as Pokémon, they might enjoy PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond regardless.
4 Worked: Pokémon Stadium
Years later, I find myself going back to Pokémon Stadium to play its mini-games and gym battles. If you have a Nintendo 64 still, you'll notice that Pokémon Stadium hasn't lost much of its appeal. Sure battling gym leaders on a path to victory road is fun, but the mini-games of Pokémon Stadium were timeless.
In the above photo, you'll see one of the games known as the "Sushi-Go-Round." Using Pokémon Lickutung, players have to eat as many sushi as possible. Some sushi pieces are more valuable than others and one can accidentally swallow a vile green drink, adding to the challenge of the game.
3 Didn't Work: Pokémon Quest
Pokémon Quest is a game that released for both the Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. Being able to play the game on the go is a perk of buying the game, yet it is too time-demanding. It contains fail-hard sections that require you to grind to advance in the game. Fail-hard parts do not improve a game.
It's not even a game where players have to pay attention to what is going on. Chances are, you'll spend a lot of time leaving the game on to let your Pokémon battle when you don't feel like it.
2 Worked: Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver
Widely considered to be the best Pokémon games ever made, Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver are remakes of the original Generation II games. Being able to take any Pokémon out of its Poké Ball to follow you around is too cool.
For containing both the Johto and Kanto regions, this was one of the most extensive Pokémon games to date. Combatting trainers like Lance, Clair, and Trainer Red was a rare treat. Difficulty-wise, this game was just perfect, and the originals came at a time when Pokémon was emerging in North America. It goes without saying that Heart Gold/Soul Silver is a must play.
1 Didn't Work: Pokémon Black/White
Pokémon Black and White is considered by many to be the worst game of the main series. Some people enjoy the game regardless of its new Pokémon and for containing a wide variety of legendaries, yet it seems like something must have gone wrong if it's often labeled the worst main series Pokémon game.
Exploring a bigger world seemed dull and tedious when compared to other Pokémon games. Overall, the Unova region felt like it was unfinished.