Top 11 Best Pokémon Games to Play in 2018

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon
The new forms of the legendary mascot Pokémon in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, the newest games in the main series.

1. Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon

Pokemon Ultra Moon BEATING THE GAME IN 10 HOURS!

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are obviously the sequels to predecessors Pokémon Sun and Moon. As the pre-release advertising let on, there are news forms of the legendary mascot Pokémon, and as most fans of the series probably predicted, there are several new forms of many other Pokémon as well, in addition to more Z-Moves and a few new Ultra Beasts.

Less predictable though, was the addition of the ability to surf the Pokémon Mantine in the seas between the islands of Alola as a minigame. It’s also possible to use two Z-Moves per battle now with the help of the Rotom Dex, which you can also more properly befriend now due to your interactions with it!

2. Pokémon Sun/Moon

Pokemon Sun and Moon Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 - FULL GAME 2+ HOURS!! (3DS Pokemon Sun Gameplay)

The most recent main series games that aren’t remakes or continuations of certain regions’ stories, Pokémon Sun and Moon quickly became ubiquitous in the Pokémon subculture just as its predecessors did. The very Hawaiian islands of the Alola region are perhaps the most drastic change in scenery for the series, as most games in the past took place in continental landmasses of various environments.

Notably, the mainstay gym battles have been replaced by quest-like island trials and kahuna challenges. Some Pokémon also have new forms in the Alolan region, which changes their type and more. There are also the mysterious island guardians and Ultra Beasts to add to the lore of the games.

The most famous addition to the Pokémon series from Sun and Moon has to be Z-Moves though. Trainers give their Pokémon a Z-Crystal to hold that matches the type of move they want to power up. It’s an interesting companion to Mega Evolution seeing as only one Mega Pokémon can exist on a team, but several Z-Crystals can be used.

3. Pokémon X/Y

Pokemon X and Y Gameplay Walkthrough - Part 1 - GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL!! (Pokemon Gameplay 3DS HD)

There are “three” games on this list that need no introduction, and these two are the first of them. While they might not be brand new, they’re the second most recent main series Pokémon games that aren’t remakes, and they contributed the most new features to series by far, therefore establishing and broadening the world and gameplay of Pokémon.

Any fan of Pokémon knows that these are the games that introduced Mega Evolution, perhaps the most significant change to the metagame at the time of their release besides the new Fairy-type. Facilitating entry into the metagame is a new feature called “Super Training,” which allows players to properly train their Pokémon for competitive play.

The games updated the series in other ways too though. The graphics were a major overhaul from the largely 2D battles of Pokémon Black and White to the 3D graphics (and use of the 3DS’s actual 3D features) of the world and battles of X and Y. In addition, players can now move beyond the four directions that previously limited them, and their characters can be customized as well.

The world of the games, Kalos, is inspired by France, and players will enjoy exploring it as they have in the past with other regions. Fans of the story may also appreciate the larger cast of characters befriending the player, yet the ever-present independent spirit of the lone travelling Trainer remains for those who prefer that.

4. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire Part 1 - A New Adventure! ORAS Gameplay Walkthrough

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire got 3D remakes on the 3DS, and the while the story and gameplay haven’t changed much (other than postgame events and the carrying over of Mega Evolution from Pokémon X and Y), other improvements have been made. Of course, the graphics are updated along with the aesthetics of the game’s world.

Also from Pokémon X and Y, Super Training makes a return as a help to the metagame. And new forms of the legendary Pokémon Groudon and Kyogre have been introduced.

5. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon Gameplay - Part 1 - Chased (Let's Play)

This game is the latest in Pokémon’s Mystery Dungeon spin-off series. As with the rest of the series, you become a Pokémon in their own little world, joining their community and questing into dungeons on various rescue and recovery missions.

For those unfamiliar with the Mystery Dungeon series, players can add Pokémon to their dungeon-exploring teams after meeting and/or defeating them, and use items and Pokémon moves just like in the main series games.

6. Pokkén Tournament

Pokkén Tournament DX Walkthrough Part 1 | Green League (Decidueye Gameplay) Nintendo Switch

Here’s a kind of game that I was waiting for all my life! Pokkén Tournament is a fighting game where players control Pokémon, giving them the opportunity to bring battling strategies from the main series to a more action-oriented take on fighting gameplay. I must say that I was surprised by the crossover of specifically Tekken gameplay elements with Pokémon; I thought a game like this would be developed from the ground up, but it apparently works.

There are 21 Pokémon to play as in the Nintendo Switch version of the game, all of which are fully evolved except for Pikachu, Darkrai, Mewtwo, and Suicune. There are also 16 pairs of assist Pokémon that can be called upon to help fighters—and if that’s not enough, Mega Evolution is possible too.

7. Pokémon Conquest

Pokemon Conquest Gameplay

Despite being a crossover between Pokémon and the much lesser known (in America) series Nobunaga’s Ambition, Pokémon Conquest turned out splendidly if the critic and gamer reviews are any indication. As a tactical RPG, the strategy here is different from the main series games, but is still turn-based.

You play as a warrior with an Eevee on a quest to unite the factions of the Ransei region as one nation. After defeating opposing warriors and warlords, you can have them join you and use their Pokémon as well.

One thing very different about this game from the main series is the combination of character and world designs from Pokémon with pseudohistorical Japanese aesthetics. The game even references actual events from Japanese history in its characters and levels.

8. Pokémon Art Academy

[Pokemon Art Academy] Mini Lesson Gameplay

Ever wanted to learn how to draw Pokémon digitally? Pokémon Art Academy lets you draw Pokémon on your 3DS using 6 different utensils throughout 40 lessons of 3 difficulty settings.

There’s also a Free Paint mode in which all the tools are available to use (with over 100 reference images if the artist chooses). Once a piece is done, you can save it to an album, post it to the Miiverse, or save it to your SD card to view it on other devices.

9. Pokémon Picross

Pokemon Picross {3DS} Gameplay Walkthrough Let's Play (HD)

This game features puzzles also known as nonograms, which are grids of columns and rows with number clues to guide players in filling out each box. When the puzzle is done, a picture is made, and since this is a Pokémon game, you can guess what the pictures are of! Also upon the completion of a puzzle, players get a Pokémon that can use abilities to aid in other puzzles.

Players are rewarded with Picrites by playing the game in specific ways, which are used to unlock more features. Real money can be spent to get more, but a spending cap lets the monetarily dedicated get more Picrites for free once they’ve spent a certain amount on them.

10. Pokémon Battle Trozei

Pokémon Trozei! - Adventure Mode Playthrough Part 1

The puzzle game Pokémon Battle Trozei shares some aspects of gameplay with its predecessor Pokémon Trozei!, such as grouping three Pokémon together on a grid full of them to score points. In this sequel, though, you pair that with a simultaneous Pokémon battle and use the type matchups from the main series games to weaken wild Pokémon enough to capture them.

Over 700 Pokémon are featured in the game and some of them even have abilities that can help in battle. Adding to the fun is that up to four players can take part in local cooperative games.

11. Pokémon TCGO

Pokemon Trading Card Game Online Gameplay Part 4

A free official online version of the Pokémon trading card game—that lets players put their physical cards into the game—might seem too good to be true, but it’s not! You use your Pokémon Club avatar for the online and singleplayer modes, the latter of which features a host of characters made specifically for the game. The former has many different game types for the different kinds of deck compositions allowed and features tournaments with prizes at every rank.

The multiplayer might seem like it’s pay-to-win (because of the players who upload their bought cards to the game), but the singleplayer includes a tutorial, challenges, three difficulty levels, and multiple tournaments to ensure that new and experienced players get something out of it too should they not want to spend any money. The in game also rewards players with in-game currency, cards, and card packs to fill out their collections for free.

You may also be interested in:

Top 10 Best Pokemon Games in The World (To Play Right Now)

10 Reasons Why the Pokémon World is Better Than the Real One

11 Things Only Real Pokémon Trainers Will Understand

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Aside from music and gaming, I write films and comics, and develop my own cartoon. Lollipop Chainsaw is underrated and misunderstood!
Currently Playing: Pokémon Moon, Age of Empires II: HD Edition, Rocksmith 2014
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