I don’t think I’ve played a Pokemon game since the Nintendo 64 and GameBoy Color era. That finally changed when I tried the demo for Pokken Tournament DX, a Tekken-inspired Pokemon fighting game originally released on the Wii U and later re-released on the Switch.
The demo gave me a limited number of battles, but the few I attempted were sufficient. You have three available characters from which to choose, the classic Pikachu and Charizard that I’m more familiar with, along with a newer penguin-like Pokemon called Empoleon. A larger selection of playable Pokemon are featured in the game, as well, but they were all locked, along with the majority of these pairs of support Pokemon that can occasionally aid you in battle.
Generally speaking, this game is pretty much what you’d expect in a fighting game. Two Pokemon battle with a variety of abilities, but unlike the old Pokemon games I grew up playing, you can move about the battlefield rather than just, you know, standing in spot and picking attacks from a menu. The one unique feature that’s worth mentioning is the Phase Shift, where the battle switches back and forth between the more open Field Phase and the more 2D Duel Phase. To be honest, I didn’t really see how Phase Shifting really added to the gameplay besides forcing you to learn two sets of controls. On the other hand, I suppose it adds some extra variety to the battles.
I’m sure this could be a pretty fun game, especially once more Pokemon are unlocked. The biggest negative I’ve really seen mentioned online is that many people don’t think the game is worth $60. Although you might be able to get it for cheaper on Amazon if you buy the UK version (which shouldn’t be an issue regardless of where you live because the Switch is region-free). While this game isn’t something I really want to play more of, if you’re a fan of fighting games and Pokemon, then you can’t really go wrong.
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on February 21, 2023.