Pokemon: 15 best Pokemon games in the past decade

Pokemon also has a very successful video game line, with more than 50 new installations in the last 10 years.

Pokemon game. (Image: Twitter)

Pokemon is officially the highest-grossing franchise of all time, raking in an estimated $95 billion since its debut in 1996 across a variety of media platforms including television, print publications, and movies. It has also had a very successful video game line, with many titles released over the years. Over 50 new installations have been added to the franchise in the last ten years.

Black 2 & White 2

Returning to Unova in 2012, Black 2 and White 2 were the DS sequels to B&W. The games, set two years after the events of their predecessors, added new locations and three Gym Leaders, as well as a brand new Champion. The post-game, like the first titles, added previously inaccessible areas, such as the Skyarrow Bridge and the Battle Institute. They received a Metacritic user score of 7.7 and a critic score of 80, indicating that people had mixed feelings about the return to the Unova region.

Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

In November 2017, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon saw the return of the Hawaii-inspired Alola region – this time with a different storyline than its predecessors. Five new Pokemon and a slew of Z-Moves were added, as well as improvements to the Rotomdex, such as it becoming affectionate towards the player and being able to obtain items via the Roto Loto – a feature that granted the creature special abilities. It received an 84 rating from critics on Metacritic, three points lower than the first S&M games, but received a 7.7 rating from fans.

X & Y

X & Y, like Sun & Moon, was released on the 3DS – this time in the West in October 2013. With Generation VI, it brought trainers to the Kalos region for the first time and introduced 72 new species. It paved the way for future games in the series by being the first to use an eight-directional grid when walking instead of four, and it also allowed players to move diagonally for the first time. Pokemon-Amie was also included, allowing players to interact with their monsters via the console’s touch screen for a more personalised and intimate gaming experience.

Sun & Moon

Sun and Moon transported Kanto Trainers to an island off the coast of Hawaii, where they faced trials in the Alola region instead of the series’ standard Gym battles. The Rotomdex – an actual Pokemon in the form of the infamous guidebook – replaced the Pokedex as well. Generation VII, like Sword & Shield, saw its own forms unique to the region, such as Alola Vulpix, Raichu, Muk, and Meowth.

Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

The remakes of 2002’s hit Game Boy Advance titles Ruby and Sapphire were released in 2014. They brought the 2D pixel game to the modern era on the Nintendo 3DS, and were appropriately named Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. One of the main selling points for Pokefans was the addition of Cosplay Pikachu – a special female version that could change outfits, which also changed one of its moves. It also carried over the Mega Evolutions and Mega Stones from X and Y, as well as adding new ones that were not previously available.

Pokemon Colosseum

This Nintendo GameCube classic was arguably one of the best on the system, transporting players to the Orre region to reclaim Shadow Pokemon from the clutches of the evil Team Cipher, who were closing off Pokemon’s hearts in order to turn off their emotions. Not only was the storey incredible, but the battles felt immersive and fleshed out for the time. It wasn’t like the Game Boy Advance games, where Pokemon only moved slightly when hit; instead, they fully performed moves and reacted when hit.

Let’s Go, Eevee! & Pikachu!

Let’s Go, Eevee! & Pikachu! were the first Pokemon games to be released on the Nintendo Switch in November 2018, and are direct remakes of Yellow for the Game Boy Color from 1999. They used GO’s ring format for catching monsters – which were fully visible in the overworld for the first time – and the only way to battle was through Trainers rather than in the wild, unlike any other entry in the series. The Pokeball Plus accessory was a fun way to catch creatures because it allowed players to “throw” the ball, just like in the games.

New Pokemon Snap

The sequel to the Nintendo 64 classic, New Pokemon Snap, was released 22 years after the original. Set in the Lental region, aspiring photographers assist Professor Mirror in his investigation of the strange Illumina phenomenon by taking photographs. Not only does the game expand the original’s 63 Pokemon roster to a whopping 214, but 10 of those are Legendary, implying that shutterbugs will have their work cut out for them if they want to complete their Photodex.

Black & White

Black and White for the Nintendo DS was released in the West in March of 2011, and it has been consistently praised for having one of the best storylines in the series. Players are pitted against Team Plasma, a fiendish group hellbent on wreaking havoc in the Unova region. The game’s Gen V Pokedex included 150 new Pokemon, making it the largest addition to the roster since 2002’s Ruby and Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance. While many of the franchise’s newer games are marketed as being easier, B&W’s difficulty pacing was actually quite difficult, and seasoned players appreciated the return of the challenge.

Sword & Shield

At the time of writing, Sword & Shield is the most recent Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch. The games, which were released on November 15, 2019, added a new region – Galar, which is based on the United Kingdom – as well as a new Dynamax and Gigantamax battle feature. Players saw hundreds of new monsters added to the mix with the addition of the Galarian Pokedex, as well as new special regional forms for familiar favourites like Ponyta, Corsola, and Weezing. The Gen VIII titles broke records quickly, selling a staggering six million units in just the first weekend, propelling the Switch to its most successful launch to date.

Pokemon GO

It’s difficult to argue that Niantic’s Pokemon GO hasn’t changed the mobile gaming landscape since its July 2016 release for iOS and Android. In fact, the Nintendo collaboration reached a billion global downloads and a whopping $3 billion in revenue in early 2019. The ability to play the beloved franchise on your phone while on the go is a big seller for many, and it’s understandable that the prospect of seeing your favourite monsters “in real life” would pique the interest of even the most jaded trainers. The game is also constantly updated, with many new events, Community Days for catching rare monsters, and special tasks added throughout the year.

Pokemon Platinum

Pokemon Platinum, the definitive game of Generation IV, combines Diamond and Pearl into a near-perfect experience. It follows the player as they try to save the world from the clutches of Team Galactic boss, Cyrus, in the Sinnoh region. The plot is full of twists and turns that will keep you entertained the entire time. Fans of Generation 4 will be able to return to Sinnoh in late 2021, thanks to the recently announced Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl remakes. Check out our hub for everything we know about the gleaming new Nintendo Switch games.

Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness

Set five years after the events of Pokemon Colosseum, XD: Gale of Darkness focuses on a new Trainer named Michael who vows to stop Team Cipher’s plans to take over the world. Not only are there new Pokemon to purify, but Shadow Lugia also plays an important role in the plot, and the game’s final showdown is one of the best in the series.

Pokemon Emerald

Emerald is the better version of Gen III, just as Platinum is the better version of Gen IV. It not only contains the Battle Frontier, but it also contains Rayquaza. There isn’t just one villainous team, either: both Team Aqua and Magma fight to assert dominance and awaken Groudon and Kyogre, meaning players have twice the work and twice the fun if they want to save the Hoenn region. Though we included Omega Ruby and Sapphire later in the list, it’s difficult to argue that the nostalgic charm of Emerald’s 2D graphics and midi-style soundtrack doesn’t deserve a high ranking – almost top, but not quite there.

HeartGold & SoulSilver

HeartGold and SoulSilver are the 2010 Nintendo DS remakes of the 1999 Game Boy Color Gold and Silver games, which were the first to introduce Gen II. It retells the story of the Johto region and even opens up to Red, Blue, and Yellow’s Kanto region in the post-game, making it a behemoth compared to recent games in the series like Sword & Shield, which only has a handful of minor events after the main story.

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