From Sword & Shield to Ruby & Sapphire, check out a list of the best games in the Pokémon franchise according to expert critics

The best Pokemon games [According to review]
Gengar in his Mega-Evolution form (Image: Handout)

With more than 20 years in its history, the franchise of Pikachu and co. has already launched dozens of games, drawings, movies and the most different products. There’s a fan base passionate about their traits and characters, always arguing over everyone’s favorites. Of course, each game has its qualities, so check out which are the best Pokémon games according to critics .

1. Pokemon Y & X

The best Pokemon games [According to review]
Xerneas and Yveltal (Image: Disclosure)

Much anticipated at the time of its release, this Pokémon game brought a new style with 3D graphics to showcase the power of the Nintendo 3DS handheld. However, the revolution of X & versions ; Y wasn’t just about the look. A new type of pocket monster was introduced to the adventure: the fairy Pokémon.

The journey to collect badges and face the best trainers takes place in Kalos, a region based in the country of France. Finally, another great novelty was the so-called Mega-Evolutions, special moments in which the little monsters become even more powerful.

  • Release date: October 12, 2013
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, 2DS
  • Metacritic: 88

2. Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver

The best Pokemon games [According to review]
The phoenix Pokémon Ho-Oh (Image: Handout)

The remake of the Gold & Silver versions released for the Game Boy Color brought improvements in all aspects. The new 3D models that merge with pixel art managed to please fans of all kinds. The menu directly via the Nintendo DS touch screen was a valid point of quality of life.

The whole adventure in the Johto region guarantees hours of fun, offering quirky little monsters and the legendary duo Lugia and Ho-Oh. Another new feature was the addition of a peripheral called Pokéwalker . It allows the player to go out on royal streets while gathering steps for items and affections for their Pokémon.

  • Release date: March 26, 2010
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Metacritic: 87

3. Pokemon Black & White

The best Pokemon games [According to review]
Reshiram on the cover of the Black version (Image: Disclosure)

Considered by fans as one of the best Pokémon games in terms of storytelling, the Black & White versions are set in the Unova region. There are around 150 brand new little monsters for the most excited collectors. The legendary of the time are called Reshiram and Zekrom.

Another new feature came with the seasons that affect which Pokémon can spawn in certain locations. Also, because of Nintendo’s internet network connectivity, these two titles were very popular in online play during their lifetime.

  • Release date: March 4, 2011
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Metacritic: 87

4. Pokemon Sun & Moon

The best Pokemon games [According to review]

Giving an air of news and changes, the Sun & Moon versions arrived demanding the maximum from Nintendo’s portable. In addition to putting players in a very different region than what they were used to, these Pokémon games offered a lot more than what they initially appeared to be.

Surprisingly, there are no stadiums or badge quests in these titles. The trainer needs to face rituals to gather experiences and feel accepted by the villagers and little monsters. Another unique feature is the Z Moves , special moves in which Trainer and Pokémon pose to attack.

  • Release date: November 18, 2016
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, 2DS
  • Metacritic: 87

5. Pokemon Diamond & Pearl

Dialga and Palkia (Image: Disclosure)

With its entire history taking place in the popular Sinnoh region, players can meet the terrifying Team Galactic and face them in epic battles. Pokémon Diamond & Pearl were games that revolutionized the Nintendo DS, even more so compared to previous console versions.

The journey remains one of collecting badges and becoming a monster master, but new features came along with the Global Trainer System that allowed people to trade Pokémon with anyone around the world. In 2021, remakes of these games were released for the Nintendo Switch .

  • Release date: September 28, 2006
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Metacritic: 85

6. Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

A sequel or an update to the Pokemon games released in 2016? Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon bring a story that takes place in an alternative way to the main titles, in addition to bringing new little monsters to the game.

The main novelty introduced was the possibility for the player to walk between different worlds through an Ultra Wormhole . There it is possible to come across new characters and challenges, but many of the same characteristics of Sun & Moon were kept in the end.

  • Release date: November 17, 2017
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, 2DS
  • Metacritic: 84

7. Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

The remakes of the Ruby & Sapphire versions arrived for the Nintendo 3DS promising many changes. Novelties such as Mega-Evolutions and the Primal Reversion transformation of Kyogre and Groudon are highlighted, but it’s the graphical overhaul that has fans running to secure their copies.

Pretty much everything that was brought in with versions X & Y is present in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire . The ability to care for and pet your little monsters through Pokémon-Amie , online battle types, etc. For those who enjoy fashion, the Pokémon Contest Spectaculars are also present.

  • Release date: November 28, 2014
  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, 2DS
  • Metacritic: 83

8. Pokemon Puzzle League

Original game cover (Image: Reproduction / Bulbapedia)

Functioning as a version of classics like Panel de Pon and Tetris Attack , Pokémon Puzzle League features intense puzzle matches that use colored blocks. There is a campaign mode in which the player needs to beat other trainers to collect badges and challenge the Elite 4.

There is a multiplayer mode for two players to face each other in matches. The artwork was taken directly from the anime and promotional materials for the Pokémon games. The songs are also versions of the classic series.

  • Release date: September 25, 2000
  • Platforms: Nintendo 64
  • Metacritic: 81

9. Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire

Original game cover (Image: Reproduction / Bulbapedia)

Another spin-off from the main series. This endeavor features pinball tables with Poké Balls that we use to collect points, capture Pokémon and win battles. In addition to the two table options based on the Ruby & Sapphire games , the player can find themed bonus stages with little monsters like Kecleon and Dusclops.

Bright colors stand out during fun gameplay, making the player excited to keep playing and capturing. Interestingly, this was the first game in the Pokémon series to be released for the Wii U in Virtual Console format.

  • Release date: August 1, 2003
  • Platforms: Game Boy Advance, Wii U Virtual Console
  • Metacritic: 81

10. Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen

Original cover of the FireRed version (Image: Reproduction / Bulbapedia)

The first time the original games received a remake was with these versions for the Game Boy Advance. Both Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen follow the same journey as their classic Game Boy counterparts, but with an overhaul of graphics and sounds that make them even more unforgettable.

The player can choose between Squirtle (the best option), Bulbasaur and Charmander to start their Pokémon trainer life. He must face the gyms, defeat Team Rocket and beat the Elite 4 to be the champion of his region. It is worth remembering that in the game package came the accessory called Wireless Adapter for wireless multiplayer gameplay.

  • Release date: January 29, 2004
  • Platforms: GBA
  • Metacritic: 81

11. Pokemon Sword & Shield

The only Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch on the list was released with complaints from players, but it still achieved an astronomical number of sales. Set in the Galar region, this endeavor brought new little monsters, special moves, and forms of training.

In addition, new features such as the Wild Area that allows free exploration to find wild Pokémon and the Max Raid Battles that unite trainers against a Dynamax monster excited the fan base. An expansion has been released bringing more locations, characters and friends to capture.

  • Release date: November 15, 2019
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic: 80

It is worth mentioning that I preferred to join both versions of the titles even if one of them has a slightly lower grade than the other. What do you think is the best Pokemon game ever released?

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