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The 10 best Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch, ranked in 2024

With so many Pokemon Switch games to choose from, let’s see which ones are the very best (like no one ever was)!

You know how it goes: Gotta catch ‘em all! Now that we have the mandatory inclusion of the franchise’s slogan out of the way, let’s jump into the world of ever-popular creatures to train them, pit them against one another, and… help them solve crimes. Sure, why not? The developers’ creativity knows no limits, after all.

As the series still enjoys unwavering popularity, new entries pop up almost every year, much like wild pocket monsters from tall grass. While it’s relatively easy to keep track of the main titles, everything gets a bit more complicated with the inclusion of countless spin-offs, remakes, and other projects. Luckily, the list is limited only to the best Pokemon games for Switch, and it’s actually possible to count them all without losing one’s mind. 

Top 10 Pokemon games for Switch

Ready to see what titles got their rightful places among the top Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch? While the mainline (or “core”) titles in the series follow a more or less similar formula of exploring worlds full of wild creatures to catch, the spin-offs offer a wide range of gameplay ideas, some of which are quite unorthodox (e.g., Pokemon MOBA!). As a result, we ended up with a rather diverse ranking.

10. Detective Pikachu Returns

The yellow mouse is on the case again. We’ll kick off our ranking of Pokemon Switch games with Detective Pikachu Returns, a sequel to the adventure title released exclusively on 3DS. This time, the electric investigator will try to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of his friend’s father.

Also worth reading:
16 best detective games on PC to play in 2024

Out of all Pokemon games on Switch, this one may be the most unconventional, as the gameplay involves looking for clues rather than wild creatures. The explorable city is inhabited by various species that will help you with your investigation. While Detective Pikachu should be a great pick for young gamers, adults may quickly get bored of its oversimplified gameplay, and that’s why it placed last in our top 10.

9. Pokken Tournament DX

Here’s another interesting idea: Pokken Tournament DX replaces classic turn-based Pokemon battles with real-time combat. While it may not be the most advanced fighting game on the market, it’s a very fun experience, especially for the devoted fans of the genre (to whom it may be closer to the top position on the list).

Newcomers can expect a relatively large roster of pocket monsters representing different generations, colorful visuals, and smooth performance. Characters are divided into different types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The gameplay can be described as “easy to learn, hard to master”. Therefore, casual gamers should have a blast while performing combos at random, while more advanced fighters will certainly appreciate combat’s somewhat unexpected depth.

8. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

We’ve covered detective and fighting games; now it’s time for another curious title, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX — a roguelike. Here, the player explores randomly generated levels to complete numerous quests and recruit new allies.

Gameplaywise, this title offers classic dungeon-crawling gameplay. Plenty of not-so-friendly Pokemons roam around the levels, offering frequent opportunities for engaging in turn-based combat. Perhaps a bit too frequent, to be frank, as fights can get rather tedious at times.

7. Pokemon UNITE

Yup, it’s another one of those spin-offs. Available for free on Nintendo Switch as well as Android and iOS devices, Pokemon UNITE answers the “What would a Pokemon MOBA look like?” question. And it’s actually pretty fun, though not fun enough to be considered a “top 5 material.”

The rules are fairly standard: two 5-player teams clash against each other in short matches. Trainers need to score as many points as possible within the 10-minute limit. During that time, their adorable companions will gain experience, evolve, and learn new abilities. It may not be the best representative of the genre, but UNITE is a neat title for short gaming sessions.

6. New Pokemon Snap

Oh, snap! It’s time to fill your Poke… sorry, Photodex, with pictures of all kinds of monsters. The wild ones, the rare ones — all of them. They’ll even pose for you. If you’re up to the task of becoming a photographer and traveling through deserts, jungles, and other environments, New Pokemon Snap may be right up your alley.

What’s so great about roaming around with a camera? Witnessing these creatures play around in their natural habitats and adding new species to your collection is genuinely fun and pretty addictive. There are over 200 of them to photograph, so if it turns out to be your jam, you can sink many hours into Pokemon Snap.

5. Pokemon Sword & Shield

A new generation has begun with the first mainline game in the series released on Switch. Set in the United Kingdom-inspired region of Galar, Pokemon Sword/Shield merges classic concepts with fresh ideas.

While the experience doesn’t offer as much freedom as Legends: Arceus, the game is a very solid RPG with a long list of creatures to catch. The new Dynamax and Gigantamax transformations are of epic proportions, and one of the modes introduces co-op raids. Sword/Shield may not be perfect, but it’s still among the top Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch.

4. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl

Enthusiasts of the older gen may be wondering what Pokemon games are on Switch, aside from crazy spin-offs and brand-new entries. Well, there is also Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl, a remake of the overwhelmingly popular hit released on the Nintendo DS that sits just outside of our top 3.

Don’t expect a massive gameplay overhaul, as it’s a quite faithful remake. This time, gamers can return to the Sinnoh region, pick Turtwig, Chimchar, or Piplup, and jump into the combat-punctuated exploration on the way to becoming a champion. It’s a classic, familiar experience with more contemporary visuals.

3. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee

A bronze medal! The list of the best Pokemon games for Switch wouldn’t be complete without the new version(s) of the classic Game Boy title, Pokemon Yellow. If you ever find yourself missing the Kanto region, Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu/Let’s Go, Eevee should keep you engaged for long hours.

At its core, the game is a nostalgic trip during which you’ll meet the first-gen Pokemon — your Charmanders, Bulbasaurs, Squirtle, and so on. In terms of the gameplay, it takes some of the mechanics (like catching) from GO, making it a rather accessible entry suitable for newcomers and Kanto veterans alike.

2. Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Released in 2022, Pokemon Legends: Arceus may well be a champion among all Pokemon Switch games. It presents a new approach to exploration, with a central hub (Jubilife Village) and large areas around it to traverse, which gives the player a real feel of an escapade into the wilderness.

Aside from that, Legends: Arceus offers a plethora of gameplay changes, including an advanced crafting system and stealth mechanic, allowing players to sneak up on unsuspecting creatures. You can even mount several Pokemon to make traversing the map faster and more enjoyable. It’s loads of fun, really; we were tempted to give it the #1 spot in our ranking, but ultimately, another game snatched the title from its grasp.

1. Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

*Drum roll* And the winner is… Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, the newest main entry in the series that marks the beginning of yet another generation. This time, players will travel to the Paldea region, which is brimming with Spanish and Portuguese inspirations, and dive into a rather engaging story, especially when compared to other titles in the franchise.

While exploration is better than ever, the game is troubled with lags, freezes, bugs, and other performance issues. If you can overlook them, though, you’re in for a big bundle of joy, with over 100 new species and three distinct story paths to follow in one of most entertaining Nintendo Switch exclusives to date.

And thus we’ve covered what we think are the very best Pokemon games for Switch. Do you agree with the selection? As usual, we encourage you to share your opinions in the comments!

If you’d like to learn what Pokemon games are on Switch aside from our top 10 (and the upcoming Legends: Z-A), check out the comprehensive list below.

List of all Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch

Before you go, feel free to take a look at the full list of titles starring the Pocket Monsters that are available on Big N’s hybrid console. All core entries, spin-offs, remakes — everything. If you’re not sure how to play old Pokemon games on Switch, some of them are available with the Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

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