Pokémon: Every Switch Game Ranked

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The Nintendo Switch is approaching five years old, and it has already seen more Pokémon games than some of its predecessors had in their entire lifetimes. With the console’s immense popularity and the recent release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on Nov. 18, 2022, the Switch just might outpace progenitors like the 3DS. That said, despite the vast collection of Pokémon games on the Switch only very few are objectively good.


The Switch is home to some Pokémon games that provoke praise from critics, while others prompt confusion. Using an average of each title’s Metacritic and Internet Games Database score, the numbers suggest there have been significant fluctuations in quality between releases.

RELATED: How To Build A Competitive Pokémon Team


11. Pokémon Quest is a Forgettable Voxel Experience (62/100)

Pokémon Quest is a free-to-play action-adventure game that also released on iOS and Android devices. The title features a Minecraft-styled voxel take on the Pokémon world, with blocky iterations of the original Kanto-region Pokémon. The game is set on Turnblecube Island and players build up their base, in addition to teams of Pokémon. Pokémon are used to tackle the island’s challenges, eliminating the wild Pokémon from the area.

Pokémon Quest is the worst received Pokémon game on the Switch and released in 2018 to its fair share of criticism. Namely, Pokémon Quest‘s energy system and forgettable gameplay drew a negative response from reviewers. However, critics did praise the game for its ease of access for casual players looking to pick it up.

10. Pokémon Café Mix Shows Puzzle Games May Not Be the Way Forward (64/100)

Pokemon Games Ranked Switch Cafe

Pokémon Café Mix is a free-to-play puzzle game that saw a simultaneous release on mobile platforms. The game puts players in the shoes of a café owner that caters to Pokémon customers, with gameplay revolving around using the touchscreen to connect Pokémon-themed icons together. As players accomplish objectives and complete orders, they can add Pokémon to their staff and upgrade their cafe.

Pokémon Café Mix sits just above its mobile gaming colleague, Pokémon Quest. The title was released in 2020, with reviews painting a picture of a mediocre free-to-play puzzle game. The puzzles aren’t all too challenging, and many weren’t happy the game’s touchscreen controls require handheld mode. Only Pokémon Café Mix‘s charming art and unintrusive microtransactions have kept the game from fading into obscurity.

RELATED: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Brings Back Old Gimmicks – And That’s Great

9. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Feels Like an Unnecessary Remake (67/100)

Pokemon Games Ranked Switch Mystery Dungeon

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake of 2005’s Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue and Red Rescue Team. It stands as the first Pokémon game remade outside of the main entries and features a new art style, as well as additional features like Mega Evolution and auto-mode. The title reintroduces fans to a spruced-up version of the first entry in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series, which saw players take on the role of a human who is turned into a Pokémon, undertaking mission-based jobs rescue Pokémon and deliver items.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has style but doesn’t rise above the sum of its parts. Originally received as an average game, the remake scores similarly to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue and Red Rescue Team. The new take on art and an improved story help the title, not enough to propel it to new heights. Critics were quick to point out dated and repetitive gameplay under a fresh new coat of paint, in addition to frustrations with an overall unremarkable experience.

8. Pokémon Unite Has a Solid Foundation, but Too Many Microtransactions (72/100)

Pokemon Unite Key Art

Pokémon Unite is the franchise’s first foray into the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. Though some wondered why Pokémon was getting into the genre after its height had already come and gone, Pokémon Unite strode ahead without fear. Like other MOBAs Unite pits two teams of players against each other as they compete to defeat and capture wild Pokémon on the battlefield. Players control individual Pokémon in a variety of roles, and while they start matches relatively weak, they’ll grow in strength as they defeat other players or earn points.

Pokémon Unite has been generally received well for its gameplay, though it has been criticized for its microtransactions. Most critics agree that Pokémon fits seamlessly into the MOBA genre, and that there’s longevity thanks to the massive number of Pokémon that can be added over time. That said, the game is clearly trying to compel players to spend money on it, something that’s not a good look for a kid-friendly Pokémon game.

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7. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Introduce New Region Paldea (75/100)

Pokemon-Scarlet-Talionflame

The most recent Pokémon game to release on Nintendo Switch only managed to garner relatively mediocre reviews from critics. Scarlet and Violet are the first games to attempt to transition the franchise into an open-world setting, and it has had mixed success in doing so. The core adventure is undoubtedly compelling, but the stripped-back in-game systems, performance issues and glitches throughout hold the game back from becoming a truly notable entry.

The capability of the hardware moving forward has undeniably been brought under significant scrutiny and, though future patches could address some of the more egregious technical difficulties, it’s looking like more of an uphill struggle with each release. Dissatisfaction with the games has been further accentuated by the public review bombing the games received after release, scoring a 2.9 (Scarlett) and 3.4 (Violet) compared to a more respectable 76 from critics.

RELATED: How Long to Beat & Complete Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

6. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Are Faithful Recreations of the Original (77.5/100)

Art for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl featuring the major characters.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are remakes of the 2006 Nintendo DS titles Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The titles seek to faithfully recreate the Generation IV experience for first-time players while offering an update to the classic adventure for returning fans. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl feature an overhauled presentation compared to their predecessors and continue the franchise’s trend of introducing quality-of-life improvements in remakes.

With a combined overall score of 77.5, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have generally been received favorably by critics. Many praised the title for being “a perfect starting point” for players who’ve been absent from the Pokémon series for a while and even better for those who missed the original DS games 15 years ago. That said, critics have pointed out a lack of innovation and new additions to the remake that keep it from achieving higher aspirations.

5. Pokkén Tournament DX Is the Closest Thing to a New Pokémon Stadium (78/100)

Pokemon Games Ranked Switch Pokken

Pokkén Tournament DX is a unique entry in the Pokémon franchise. A fighting game akin to Tekken in which the player controls a Pokémon, it’s probably the closest to a modern take on Pokémon Stadium or Pokémon Colosseum we’ll get for some time. Focusing on the less technical aspects of fighting games, Pokkén Tournament DX has two phases in battles. The Field Phase allows players to move freely about the arena, powering up or utilizing long-range abilities, while the Duel Phase brings the combatants in close for some action.

Pokkén Tournament DX was released in 2017 and is an enhanced port of the 2015 Japanese arcade game ported to Nintendo’s Wii U in 2016. Featuring an expanded roster and improvements to local multiplayer, the Switch version holds a score of 78 and has been generally met with positive reception, widely being considered the definitive version of the game

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4. Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! Takes Players All the Way Back to Yellow (79/100)

Pokemon Games Ranked Switch Lets Go

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! are remakes of the 1998 Game Boy Color’s Pokémon Yellow. Though the titles follow the same path, an adventure challenging eight Gym Leaders and the Elite Four members, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Eevee! introduces several twists to the classic formula. Depending on the players’ game version, they’ll have a customizable Pikachu or Eevee accompanying them throughout their journey. Additionally, Pokémon appear visibly in the overworld and do not require battling to capture. The game also integrates with Pokémon Go and supports motion gameplay with the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers.

With a score of 79, the titles resonated with fans and critics alike. Released in 2018, Game Freak developed the games and they were published by Nintendo plus The Pokémon Company. With reviews appearing primarily positive, critics loved the elements of nostalgia and how accessible the game was for new or younger players. This said, even the title’s endless charm couldn’t stop some from souring over the motion controls.

3. New Pokémon Snap Is Essentially Pocket Monster Photography Club (80/100)

Pokemon Games Ranked Switch Snap

New Pokémon Snap sets players up as a Pokémon photographer visiting the Lental region to help Professor Mirror with research. As players go on photo expeditions, they set out on a mini on-rail adventure and can photograph Pokémon in their natural habitat. Players are graded on the quality of the pictures they take based on how close the target is or if the Pokémon is facing the camera. Additionally, players can use items to coax out rarer Pokémon or otherwise improve their current situation, like waking up a sleeping Pokémon.

New Pokémon Snap has received generally favorable reviews, with critics loving the sense of immersion it creates. Improvements to the decades-old formula are also felt and appreciated, with many applauding the added features and depth.

RELATED: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: How to Complete the Path of Legends

2. Pokémon Sword and Shield Added Dynamax to Battles and a Setting Based on the UK (81/100)

Pokemon Games Ranked Switch Sword Shield

At its core, Pokémon Sword and Shield is a role-playing game about a fantastic world full of magical wildlife, continuing the trend of following a young Pokémon trainer through their journey. Featuring a locale based on the United Kingdom, Pokémon Sword and Shield took some of the best features of previous titles and incorporated them in this latest entry. Pokémon roam the overworld much like in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! and there are even raid encounters players can team up to tackle.

With a score of 81, Pokémon Sword and Shield stand as some of the best-received Pokémon games on Switch. The titles capture enough of what has made Pokémon great over the franchise’s lifetime while finding places to introduce new features and improvements. It’s all accomplished without rocking the precariously perched boat enough to scare off longtime fans or newcomers. Critics praised the title for streamlining tedious activities and reinvigorating battles with the Dynamax feature. The game has also just received a final update going into the release of Scarlet and Violet.

RELATED: Pokémon Legends: Arceus – Should You Pick the Diamond or Pearl Clan?

1. Pokémon Legends: Arceus Remains The Best Pokémon Game on the Nintendo Switch (85/100)

Key art for Pokémon Legends: Arceus depicting the protagonists and their Pokémon looking at Mt. Coronet.

Dethroning Pokémon Sword and Shield as the highest-rated and best Pokémon game on Switch, Pokémon Legends: Arceus proves that the best Pokémon games don’t need to stick to gameplay features that debuted a quarter-century ago. Pokémon Legends: Arceus tosses away the classic-yet-restrictive form of old and throws players into a near-open world completely alive with the iconic “pocket monsters.” A young character’s journey to become the best trainer or capture all Pokémon is replaced with a refreshing narrative centered around time travel, warring clans and the creation of the first Pokédex.

Critics have been quick to point out how far the game’s new style carries the title, with VGC calling Pokémon Legends: Arceus, “the breath of fresh air the series has needed for so long.” Fans and critics alike have likened the game to the Pokémon experience they’d always wanted, but found the classic titles didn’t provide. However, while praise for the game has been consistent, critics pointed out the title’s dated visuals and sometimes tedious quests.

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