The best Pokémon game for Switch

Gaming & Accessories

The video game designer Satoshi Tajiri collected bugs as a child, a hobby that would later inspire him to create the Pokémon franchise.

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Which Pokémon games for Nintendo Switch are best?

Pokémon games have come a long way since the release of Pokemon Red and Blue in 1996. While the first generation of games only featured 151 Pokémon that you could catch and trade, now there are nearly 1,000 Pokémon across 35 main series games. 

Whether you’re brand new to the franchise or a seasoned Pokémon veteran, the Nintendo Switch has several great Pokémon games from which to choose. For a Pokémon game that incorporates cutting-edge graphics while maintaining the feel of the main series, Pokémon Sword and Shield are the top picks. 

What to know before you buy a Pokémon game for Switch

Storyline

Each game takes place in a region of the Pokémon world. You start as a young trainer tasked with catching Pokémon, fantastical creatures with elemental powers like fire, water and ice. As you travel throughout the massive world collecting new Pokémon, you face off against other trainers and bosses, called gym leaders, growing and evolving your Pokémon along the way. There are also many side quests and activities to occupy your time as you explore the in-game world. For more detailed information about the Pokémon universe, check out the complete Pokémon game buying guide from BestReviews

Generations

Each installment of the main series is associated with a different generation. Most generations introduce new species of Pokémon, gameplay features and distinct regions to explore. A single generation will typically include two separate games with minor differences, mainly to encourage trading and collaboration among players. For example, the first generation had “Pokémon Red” and “Blue,” but “Red” players could only collect every Pokémon if they traded with a “Blue” player. Many generations also include remakes of games from previous generations. 

A real-life location in a different part of the in-game world inspires each generation. Generations one to four are set in regions modeled after parts of Japan, while newer installments introduce players to areas inspired by locations like New York City and mainland Europe. 

Pokémon games for Switch

Currently, the only main series games available for the Nintendo Switch are the seventh-generation games Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! and the eighth-generation games Sword and Shield. Aside from the main series, spin-off games like Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team are also available. 

  • Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are remakes of the first-generation game Pokémon Yellow. These games borrow elements from the animated Pokémon TV series and are perfect choices for young gamers. 
  • Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield belong to the eighth generation and take place in Galar, a vast region Great Britain heavily inspired. 

What to look for in a quality Pokémon game for Switch

Gameplay

Most Pokémon games use a traditional turn-based combat system. This consists of choosing a move to unleash on your opponent, then waiting as they select an action to use against you. Although they move slower than real-time combat games, turn-based games like Pokémon emphasize strategy over brute force. 

Many games in the series, including Let’s Go, Eevee! and Let’s Go, Pikachu! use an overhead perspective when exploring the in-game world. At the same time, newer installments like Sword and Shield utilize a fixed-camera, third-person perspective. 

Accessories

You can purchase many Pokémon accessories alongside the games, including limited edition Nintendo Switch consoles and a Poké Ball-shaped controller. Two expansion packs for Sword and Shield have also been introduced, including The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Pokémon game for Switch

Most people can expect to spend around $40-$60 on a Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch. Limited edition versions and game bundles can cost considerably more depending on what they include.  

Pokémon game for Switch FAQ

What age group are Pokémon games intended for?

A. Pokémon games are rated E, which means the games are appropriate for any age group. That said, turn-based gameplay is typically more enjoyable for gamers over the age of 8. 

Is Pokémon multiplayer?

A. Since the first generation, Pokémon games have encouraged collaboration among players. In the most recent Pokémon games, aspiring Pokémon trainers can go online to trade and battle with other players worldwide. 

What’s the best Pokémon game for Switch?

Top Pokémon game for Switch

Pokémon Sword

Pokémon Sword

What you need to know: Pokémon Sword, as well as Pokémon Shield, are two entries of the main series set in Galar, a region inspired by Great Britain. 

What you’ll love: The vast land of Galar includes a variety of fun environments to explore, including snowy mountain peaks, bustling cities and dense forests. New moves and features like Dynamax combat make these games exciting additions to the franchise. 

What you should consider: These games take away many of the classic Pokémon species that we know and love. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Best bang for your buck Pokémon game for Switch

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

What you need to know: These games are a modern remake of the classic first-generation game Pokémon Yellow.

What you’ll love: A perfect introduction to the franchise, this duo takes all of the original 151 Pokémon species and the classic experience provided by the first generation games and repackages them with cutting-edge graphics and Pokémon Go connectivity.

What you should consider: These games may feel a little too simplistic and juvenile for Pokémon purists. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Honorable mention

New Pokémon Snap for Switch

New Pokémon Snap for Switch

What you need to know: A departure from the main series, this spin-off game is dedicated to researching Pokémon in their natural habitat. 

What you’ll love: Instead of capturing and training Pokémon, you get to observe the creatures and take photographs of them in a richly detailed and lush environment. Once you photograph the Pokémon, you also get to edit and share your images. 

What you should consider: This game is better suited for diehard fans of the series.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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