Pokémon is a franchise that needs no introduction. Ever since its humble beginnings as an ambitious Game Boy RPG back in 1996, the franchise has transcended generations and still remains one of the most popular video game series’ of all time, with each installment adding more Pokémon to the roster, currently totaling 802 pocket monsters to capture and battle with. Surely the most defining feature that Pokémon boasts is its focus on evolutions, that can turn the smallest and meekest creature into a menacing powerhouse as it gains more experience.
For the most part, these evolutions act as an improvement on the Pokémon, transforming their image, making their abilities more powerful and, sometimes, even adding new typing and moves. However, not all of these evolutions are seen as a good thing, whether aesthetically or statistically, so here is a list of 30 Pokémon that become worse upon evolution. A small disclaimer: a lot of the Pokémon on this list are here based on their aesthetics and not so much on their base stats and they're in no particular order.
Gloom is a rather ugly grass/poison type plant Pokémon that is more unique than most when it comes to its evolution. With the choice between evolving into Vileplume or Bellossom
Any wise trainer is sure to steer away from downgrading their Gloom into a Bellossom.
While it’s cute, Bellossom is smaller in size, it loses the poison typing which leaves it with more weaknesses and less resistance. While Bellossom is slightly tankier than Vileplume, it just doesn’t improve on an already mediocre evolutionary line.
Poliwhirl is a pretty well-known water type that, like Gloom, has a branching evolution: the hybrid water/fighting type Poliwrath, or the adorable frog Politoed. In this case, Poliwrath proves to be the better of the two, leaving poor Politoed with the short end of the stick. With lower base stats and less resistances than Poliwrath, Politoed is often overlooked. Politoed does have only two weaknesses but with everything considered, including the fact that Politoed can only be obtained via trading with a King’s Rock, the hassle isn’t worth the end result.
28 Metapod, Kakuna, Cascoon & Silcoon
This entry is a bit of a cheat but it applies to practically every early game bug type that is featured in the first three generations, with Caterpie, Weedle, and Wurmple all evolving into completely useless cocoons as their middle evolutions.
Metapod, Kakuna, Cascoon, and Silcoon are contenders for some of the worst Pokémon in the game.
While they only stay this way from levels 7-10, the grind in the early game is a bit too taxing, especially when the end results aren’t even that great as fully evolved Pokémon.
27 Wormadam (Plant Cloak)
Generation IV’s unique bug type Burmy is another reason why bug types are seen as one of the weaker typings in the franchise. The player can actually find three different types of Burmy, and while their differences are purely aesthetics in their first evolution, upon evolving into Wormadam, each Burmy gains a secondary typing between grass, ground and steel. Wormadam, in general, is nothing special, with very mediocre stats and a rather ugly design, but, by far, the worst evolution is Wormadam (Plant Cloak) which has the bug/grass typing. Upon evolving, this version of Wormadam gains three new weaknesses due to its new grass typing, making it the most vulnerable of the three.
Glameow is Generation IV’s answer to Meowth as the generation’s token feline Pokémon. However, Glameow’s transformation is anything but desirable with the aesthetically displeasing Purugly.
While this drop in appearance is an intentional design choice, it doesn’t really make the player eager to obtain it.
On top of that, Glameow doesn’t evolve until level 38, which means there’s a pretty long grind, and what is the player rewarded with? An ugly cat that has no redeeming stats outside of its speed.
Lickitung is one of Generation I’s most forgotten Pokémon. Even with a rather prominent feature in the anime, this pink abomination teeters on the side of indifference with just some pretty bad stats and no real defining features outside of its enormous tongue.
However, Generation IV brought Lickitung an evolution; the universally hated Lickilicky.
While Lickilicky’s stats aren’t the worst, its design is just awful. Its tongue gets shorter, it gets fatter and sprouts a weird quiff on its head. In short, you won’t find anyone rushing to catch this Pokémon.
24 Frost Rotom
This entry is another cheat but I felt like it needed to be here. Rotom is yet another Pokémon with a unique feature: it can turn itself into… household appliances? Namely, an oven, a washing machine, a freezer, a fan, and a lawnmower.
While none of these appliances count as official evolutions, they do grant Rotom a new appearance and typing, so therefore it belongs here.
The worst alternative form is Frost Rotom, which grants Rotom an electric/ice typing. This is its downfall as it drops from having three immunities to just one, it gains two weaknesses and loses two resistances. Also, its weaknesses are against fire, fighting, and rock, all relatively common types.
There really isn’t much to say about this one that isn’t painfully obvious. Voltorb is a Pokéball with eyes. Turn it upside down, make it slightly bigger, give it angry eyebrows and a smile and ta-dah! It’s now an Electrode. While it’s possibly one of the laziest designs in the franchise, Electrode redeems itself with its incredible speed.
Generation I had a bit of an issue with having multiple Pokémon close together and calling it an evolution. A prime example of this is Diglett; a small lump in the ground that can somehow learn scratch without having any arms. It’s hard to believe that the designers were serious when they concocted the idea of Diglett’s evolution being none other than just three Diglett’s sharing the same space and calling it Dugtrio. And to add insult to injury, the Alolan form of Dugtrio boasts one of the most bizarre and uninspired designs in the franchise.
21 Alolan Persian
Generation VII brought in new designs of old Pokémon that were exclusive to those games named Alolan forms, aptly named after Alola, the location where the games are set. Some of these designs were brilliant, giving old Pokémon a fresh coat of paint and even adding some new typings along the way.
However, some of these new designs kinda missed the mark.
Take Alolan Persian for example which seriously looks like a child’s drawing of a cat. It features a comically round head with goofy facial features that ensure that no trainer will want to catch one of these things.
Possibly one of the most bizarre evolutions in the franchise is Generation II’s Remoraid and its transformation into Octillery. Remoraid is a small fish. Octillery is an octopus. There is no connection in their designs whatsoever; their color schemes are different, they’re completely different species of fish and there are no features in them that would hint that they’re related in any way. The only theme they share is that they’re both supposedly modeled after a gun and a tank, and even that is pretty unclear.
Generation IV decided to add some new evolutions to older Pokémon, and while some were much needed, others seemed kinda random. For example, the adorable Aipom from Generation II was given the evolution treatment (even though it wasn’t really asked for). Enter Ambipom; a Pokémon that sucks all of the cuteness out of Aipom and replaces it with a rather unsettling face and two weirdly proportioned tails.
18 Mega Mewtwo X & Y
This entry might cause some controversy. Mewtwo is one of the most famous Pokémon in the entire series, being the one that everyone sought out and felt like a god when they finally captured it.
When Generation VI introduced Mega Evolutions, Mewtwo was one of the first to be given not just one, but two new evolutions depending on what version of the game the player had.
However, both designs seem to be steps down in the looks department, with Mega Mewtwo X not looking very different apart from gaining some wrinkles and a jacket, and Mega Mewtwo Y having its tail moved to the top of its head.
Now for some more Pokémon that are often overlooked when it comes to being memorable, Mankey’s evolution into Primeape. The ‘pig monkey Pokémon’ received the Voltorb/Electrode treatment, where the differences between the evolutions are pretty minute. The only noticeable difference between the two is that Primeape gains some boxing gloves and a little dent on its forehead. There’s not much else to say about it really.
Yet another installment into Generation I’s problem with having the same Pokémon with slight differences is Grimer and Muk.
Grimer is a purple sludge. Muk is a bigger purple sludge. That's about it.
This one is probably the laziest of the Pokémon in this category as there aren’t even any other features added or edited apart from its size and the eyes change slightly. Although, the Alolan forms of both Grimer and Muk are way better than the originals and there are actual discernible differences between the two!
When Generation II added the first heaping of new Pokémon on top of the original 151, there was also the introduction of baby Pokémon that were supposed to be cute versions of existing Generation I Pokémon.
It was a terrible mistake to make Smoochum as it gives a reason to include Jynx on this list.
I don't think it really needs justifying as to why Jynx is here. Jynx is an abomination and it should have never existed. It just makes you wonder what the developers were smoking when they decided to include it in the Pokémon universe.
It might seem surprising that everyone’s beloved Generation I seems to be making frequent appearances on this list, but now it’s time for another in this entry.
Goldeen and Seaking are two of the most forgettable Pokémon in the first generation, and for a good reason too.
Goldeen is pretty ugly so the designers thought they’d remedy that by making Seaking even uglier? On top of that, neither Pokémon’s stats are great, leaving both of them in the sea of mediocrity.
In my opinion, Generation III boasts the strongest starters in terms of design with all three evolutionary lines being near perfect. However, there is one that irks me slightly and that’s Combusken. Torchic is adorable and Blaziken is one of the coolest looking Pokémon ever.
Combusken, however, is just kinda goofy looking.
It looks more like an awkward teenager phase rather than an improvement on Torchic. All I can say is that it’s a good thing that Combusken doesn’t stay that way forever.
Nincada is unique with its evolution as it can evolve into two Pokémon at once. At level 20, Nincada evolves into Ninjask, but if there’s a free slot in the player’s party, the player will also receive a Shedinja. This Pokémon is very strange as it only has 1HP but only super effective moves will actually affect it.
While it has a cool concept, it’s nothing more than a gimmick and has no real practical use in battle.
Its stats are garbage and any damage taken means an instant KO, and its ability only covers it against damaging moves, making it vulnerable against being poisoned, burned or confused. On the plus side, its design is awesome!
With each generation usually comes an evolutionary line of overpowered dragon types that everyone wants to obtain but are only usually available in the endgame. Generation III’s installment was the Bagon evolutionary line, and while for the most part, there’s nothing wrong with this line, it suffers from 'bad middle stage evolution' syndrome, and in this case, it's Shelgon. The design is pretty uninteresting as it’s literally just a shell with legs and eyes and it’s awkward to use in battle as its stats are pretty subpar. Fortunately, the grind is worth it when it finally turns into Salamence at level 50.
This entry isn’t really bad as much as it is just a bit pointless. Sneasel is one of the more overlooked Pokémon of Generation II and while it’s somewhat understandable due to its okay-ish stats and six weaknesses due to its unique dark/ice typing, apparently the developers thought that Sneasel needed an evolution. Enter Weavile. Unfortunately, the two don’t look very different and don’t have many differences in their stats. While Weavile’s attack and speed are nothing to scoff at, it doesn’t gain much of an improvement in its other abysmal stats.
I hate the Generation V trio of “sage” monkeys. They all look ridiculous anyway but the worst one by far is Simisage. It just looks really stupid. It has a stupid haircut and it has pretty mediocre stats that don’t make up for the horrible design. Plus, it’s a grass type which don’t have the best of reputations when it comes to weaknesses and movesets.
Take one of the most hated designs of Generation III. An evolution could’ve given Nosepass a fresh coat of paint and a chance of redemption.
Generation IV introduced Probopass; a bigger, uglier rock head that boasts a bigger nose and a ghastly magnetic mustache.
It does have some redeeming features such as incredible defense stats but, for some people, that isn’t enough to look past its horrific design.
7 Mega Gyarados
Gyarados is one of the coolest Pokémon in the entire franchise. Everything from the comical juxtaposition of its predecessor to its menacing design and impressive stats. However, Generation VI’s Mega Evolutions took Gyarados a bit overboard.
Mega Gyarados looks more like a big fish and loses its original dragon inspired roots.
All in all, it just seems like an edgier version of the original Gyarados. And it still doesn’t even have the dragon typing!
Trubbish is trash. Literally, that’s not an insult. Even so, it’s kinda cute in its own way. Its evolution, Garbodor, however, is another story. It’s a bigger bag of trash and it loses its weirdly cute charm.
To be honest, there wasn’t much direction the developers could go with this one. Garbodor is just Generation V’s answer to Muk. It makes sense for it to be ugly because that’s the point but it’s just hard to imagine why anyone would want this on their team.
5 Vanillish & Vanilluxe
The Vanillite evolutionary line has been notorious since it was introduced in Generation V, and for a pretty good reason. It can be summed up into the following: small ice cream cone, slightly bigger ice cream cone, twin ice cream cone. It’s stupid and there really is no reason for it to exist. The least they could have done was add a Neapolitan design as an Alolan form or something more creative.
4 Alolan Exeggutor
Another Generation I Pokémon manages to find its way onto this list, but this time it’s a little bit different.
Back when Alolan forms were first announced, everyone was treated to the Alolan Exeggutor, possibly one of the goofiest looking Pokémon to ever exist.
Normal Exeggutor looks fine, it does have some goofiness in its design but the Alolan form takes it to another level. Alolan Exeggutor is a still a tree but it’s been stretched to almost comical proportions. Not to mention the added dragon type that took everyone aback by its absurdity.
Slowbro is hard to hate; it looks dumb but it’s pretty good. However, from a design point of view, it’s lazy. The canon story to Slowbro is that it’s a Slowpoke with a Shellder attached to its tail and it’s possible to devolve if the Shellder were somehow removed. It’s even a stretch to call it a Shellder in the first place as it looks nothing like what a Shellder usually looks like. And don't even get me started on its Mega Evolution.
2 Mega Kangaskhan
Kangaskhan is a pretty bizarre concept on its own. It’s understandable to have a kangaroo inspired design with a little joey inside the Kangaskhan’s pouch, but the baby is born along with the mother at the same time which just makes no sense.
However, like a lot of designs on this list, Mega Kangaskhan is just a bit lazy.
It’s the same Pokémon but the joey inside the pouch is now outside the pouch and it’s a little bit older. The actual Kangaskhan stays exactly the same. While it’s cool to see the little joey get some limelight, it just should have been its own Pokémon and not just an excuse to make a Mega Evolution.
Like Combusken, Generation IV’s Prinplup suffers from “awkward teenager” syndrome, where the initial Pokémon starts as some cute mascot material but then transforms into an unpleasant aged version of its former self. Prinplup looks like it’s still trying to leech of the cuteness of Pipulp but, unfortunately, it fails miserably. Fortunately, also like Combusken, Prinplup’s future is bright with a way more aesthetically pleasing final evolution awaiting it.