Dozens of Pokémon games have been released since the franchise’s debut over 25 years ago. The main series takes the lead, while numerous spin-offs provide a fresh take on people’s favorite Pocket Monsters. But which Pokémon games are the best, like no game ever before?
The RokuLink team, comprised of avid Pokémon enthusiasts, engaged in a heated debate to compile the definitive list of the top 10 Pokémon games ever.
The 10 Best Pokemon Video Games
10. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the latest addition to the series and early feedback indicates that its innovative approach to collecting creatures is appealing to fans. Like Pokémon Go, Pokémon Legends: Arceus focuses more on collection rather than battling, harkening back to the original series’ “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” philosophy.
The game boldly revolutionizes how we play Pokémon, seamlessly combining exploration, catching, and battling into a highly addictive and enjoyable experience. This qualifies it as one of the top Pokémon games.
9. New Pokémon Snap
The original Pokémon Snap was a unique and delightful experience ahead of its time. Now, New Pokémon Snap provides a splendid reimagining of the joy of Pokémon photography. The sequel surpasses the original game with a greater variety of Pokémon, areas, puzzles, and photo opportunities.
The creatures in New Pokémon Snap are cute and vibrant, engaging with each other, the environment, and the player in delightful ways. It consistently entices players to embark on additional expeditions to uncover the secrets of capturing every rare and stunning photo. The new DLC adds even more value to the game, making it worth revisiting. New Pokémon Snap was an exceptional expansion to one of the most imaginative spin-offs, which is no small feat.
8. Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield brought numerous quality-of-life improvements for casual gym-badge acquirers and competitive battlers. This is impressive considering the lack of a complete National Pokédex. Random encounters are replaced by Pokémon that frolic in the over-world, such as the innovative new Wild Area, facilitating smooth exploration and backtracking. Pokémon’s moves can be changed freely at any Pokémon Center, eliminating the agony of making a decision with consequences. Additionally, the introduction of new items like Nature mints and breeding mechanics makes battle-ready Pokémon more easily attainable.
Sword and Shield removed barriers, enabling unprecedented flow of experimentation, creativity, and fun.
7. Pokémon Puzzle League
Pokémon Puzzle League is one of the most visually appealing games on the Nintendo 64. It heavily draws inspiration from the anime style of the 90s, incorporating video clips, voice-acting, and other embellishments typically associated with disc-based gaming systems of that time. It transforms a seemingly ordinary puzzle game into a Pokémon immersive experience, faithfully recreating gym battles from the original games and including duels with Team Rocket.
Pokémon Puzzle League is essentially a reskin of Panel de Pon, a superb puzzle game for the Super NES. The objective is to clear blocks by arranging colors in horizontal or vertical lines. With its recognizable anime aesthetics, the game offers a highly enjoyable competitive puzzle experience that can easily consume entire afternoons. Adored by both Pokémon fans and puzzle enthusiasts, it rightfully deserves recognition as an outstanding Pokémon game in its own regard.
6. Pokémon Go
In 2016, The Pokémon Company partnered with Niantic, an augmented reality game developer, to create Pokémon Go, the mobile game that gained global popularity. We all recall that memorable Summer when it appeared that nearly everyone was outside embarking on their own Pokémon adventure. What started as a basic concept of finding Pokémon in real-life locations has evolved into a vast mobile game with an array of features beyond just Pocket Monsters.
Pokémon Go is an impressively robust game, with features like PVP battling and Team Rocket. Thanks to regular updates, it continues to grow with new Pokémon, special spawn events, and even Pokémon Go Fest, where Trainers from around the world meet up to play together. This makes Pokémon Go a unique and endlessly entertaining experience.
5. Pokémon Emerald
Pokémon Emerald was a remarkable successor to Pokémon Gold and Silver, introducing double battles, abilities, and natures. It took everything that made those games great and truly refined it into something legendary. As the most comprehensive “third” version in the franchise’s history, it brought forth many significant improvements. The Battle Frontier, in particular, stood out as the most fulfilling and comprehensive post-game content in the series.
Featuring seven unique “Frontier Brain” trainers to challenge in seven distinct facilities, Pokémon Emerald provided a formidable test for Trainers that remains unmatched. Even after two decades, its enduring excellence solidifies Pokémon Emerald’s status as one of the finest Pokémon games ever created.
4. Pokémon Conquest
Pokémon Conquest is a remarkable game that shouldn’t be missed. This unexpected combination of Pokémon and the strategy game Nobunaga’s Ambition is surprisingly successful, making it one of the best Pokémon spin-off titles available. Set in a unique and captivating world with its own set of rules, warriors form partnerships with Pokémon instead of capturing them, and they develop and progress alongside their Pokémon partners.
Collecting sets of vibrant characters, occasionally drawn from history, and cool Pokemon adds a new twist to the goal of catching them all. In battles, environmental obstacles and strategic positioning bring an additional layer of strategy to Pokemon’s familiar battle system focused on elements. As a strategy RPG, Pokemon Conquest possesses its own distinctive style derived from both sources, making the combination twice as enjoyable.
3. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen
Indeed, Pokémon Red and Blue (or Green) are the games that initiated it all, and merit recognition for establishing the global phenomenon of capturing monsters to begin with. However, Game Freak demonstrated with FireRed and LeafGreen that sentimentality is not the sole factor, and even the most idealized originals can be enhanced.
FireRed and LeafGreen are exceptional remakes, introducing new features such as a recap of previous activities, an initial foray into wireless trading and battling, a fresh area in the Sevii Islands, and significant improvements to typing, battling, and Pokémon moves from subsequent generations. While Red and Blue hold sentimental value, the finest way to relive the wonderful Kanto region is undeniably through FireRed and LeafGreen.
2. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2
Gen 5 marked a revolutionary era for the Pokémon franchise, with the groundbreaking release of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. These sequels embody everything that made this era so exceptional. The original Black and White games laid a strong foundation by introducing the Unova region, which was teeming with fresh Pokémon. The captivating story featured an unforgettable rival (N), and the music was truly remarkable. However, the sequels took all of these elements to new heights. The extensive Pokédex showcased innovative creature designs and unique typings. Notably, it also incorporated legacy Pokémon, which added excitement to early-game team building. The storyline further developed the events of the first games, providing an epic and well-deserved resolution to the overall narrative. On a visual level, Black 2 and White 2 fully utilized the capabilities of the Nintendo DS hardware, resulting in breathtaking 3D landscapes, bustling cities, cinematic bridge crossings, and intricate details throughout. Additionally, the post-game content in Black 2 and White 2 is exceptional. Players have the opportunity to capture numerous legendary Pokémon, test their battling skills in the Black Tower or White Treehollow, and partake in the Battle Subway or the Pokémon World Tournament. These games offer the ultimate Pokémon experience.
1. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver
Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are exceptional games. They serve as remarkable successors to Pokémon Gold and Silver, expanding upon the original by enriching the Pokédex of the first generation. These games introduced two new types that effectively balanced the weakness/resistance chart. Notably, they also included the entire Kanto region as a bonus for players who defeated Johto’s Elite Four. Furthermore, Crystal further improved upon these games by offering the option to play as a male or female trainer, introducing animated Pokémon sprites, and enhancing the story with a focus on Suicune.
Somehow Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver improved the original games in every possible way, updating the graphics and incorporating key changes from the Gen 4 games. This created an unparalleled Pokémon experience that is undeniably the best the franchise has ever been. Nothing in Pokémon has been as exciting, challenging, or satisfying as battling Red with all your might to become the ultimate champion.
That concludes our list of the Top 10 Pokemon games. Thank you for reading! Now, please share your thoughts and favorite games from the Pokemon franchise in the comments.