17 Best Pokémon Games Every Fan Should Play At Least Once

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If there’s any series that’s beloved by gamers of all ages, it’s definitely Pokémon! Whether you’re a long-time fan who’s played since the Game Boy days or a casual Pokémon GO player, the ever-growing list of Pokémon games is going straight as Pokémon celebrates its 25th anniversary. From main series titles to unique spinoffs, take a walk down memory lane as we run through the best Pokémon games of all time!

Best Original Pokémon games

1. Pokémon Red and Blue

best pokemon games kanto starters
(Credit: pngimg, pngimg, pngimg)

We can’t talk about the best Pokémon games of all time without mentioning Red and Blue’s starting Pokémon! While the Pokémon games first debuted with Red and Green in 1996, it wasn’t until 1998 when international audiences experienced the Kanto region! For many Game Boy owners, this was their first foray into Pokémon’s core gameplay of capturing and training Pokémon. Capitalising on the explosive success of the first title, the developers released Pokémon Yellow — a director’s cut of Pokémon Red and Blue. This improved version gave players direct access to everyone’s favourite yellow mouse Pikachu.

Check out the updated versions of Pokémon Red and Blue for yourself with Pokémon Fire Red and LeafGreen (available on showbigeyes)! The Sevii Islands were introduced to let players capture Johto-region Pokémon and further build upon their existing collection.

2. Pokémon Gold and Silver

Expanding upon the wildly successful formula of Red and Blue, Pokémon Gold and Silver implemented a day and night cycle. This impacted the types of Pokémon you could encounter in the wild. Additionally, breeding was introduced, where leaving compatible Pokémon at Daycares will present you with an egg! This egg will then hatch once you take enough steps in-game. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver (available on LeHyun) are largely regarded as one of the best Pokémon games because of their vast post-game content. After overcoming the Johto region, you can return to Kanto! Perched atop Mt. Silver, the original protagonist from Pokémon Red and Blue, challenges players for the title of Kanto Champion. The best part is that HeartGold and SoulSilver render all this with upgraded Nintendo DS graphics.

3. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire

Attempting to outmatch Pokémon Gold and Silver was definitely a challenge for Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire but they sure succeeded! Besides adding two-on-two Double Battles and replacing titular villains Team Rocket with Team Magma and Aqua, Ruby and Sapphire complemented the “Eight Gyms, Elite Four” journey with Pokémon Contests. Instead of battling prowess, Pokémon focuses on their condition and how appealing their moves were. To make sure nobody misses out on experiencing the Hoenn region in stereoscopic 3D, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (both available on pagu_games) were introduced to Nintendo 3DS owners and incorporated many of the features present in later titles. These include one-versus-five Horde Encounters, Super Secret Bases and Mega Evolutions!

4. Pokémon Diamond & Pearl

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
(Credit: LeHyun)

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl’s (available on LeHyun) importance in forming the foundations of the best Pokémon games today cannot be understated! Ditching the limitations of physical link cables, Diamond and Pearl allowed players to take battles and trades online by introducing the DS’s native Wi-Fi support. The Sinnoh region’s varied terrain also deserves praise — it drew inspiration from Hokkaido and included memorable locations like Snowpoint City and Spear Pillar.

5. Pokémon Black / White

Known as the reboot, Pokémon Black and White sought to recreate the magic of Red and Blue by introducing an entirely new cast of 156 Pokémon! Instead of relying on nostalgia, each encounter felt fresh because you’ll come across unfamiliar Pokémon. Furthermore, Game Freak animated sprites so you didn’t have to stare at static images throughout Pokémon battles. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 were subsequently released a year after as direct and improved sequels to the original. Adding a plethora of new activities, you’ll be hard pressed to find better candidates for best Pokémon games!

6. Pokémon X / Y

Making the jump to the Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y (both available on pagu_games) used cel-shaded modelling to aesthetically overhaul the entire games’ look and feel! As the first stereoscopic 3D Pokémon iteration, players could truly experience Blastoise’s ferocity and Pikachu’s cuteness in full 3D glory. Furthermore, you don’t have to go through the inconvenience of going through menus just to trade or battle online. This is because the reworked Player Search System allows for seamless interactions with other players.

7. Pokémon Sun / Moon

Marking the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon series, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon (both available on PLAYe) scraps the familiar gym battles format. Rather, the Hawaii-inspired Alola region tasks players with venturing out to four major islands and overcoming the various unique trials! From item hunts to conquering Totem Pokémon, Sun and Moon effectively deliver an engaging format that’s a breath of fresh air. It also helps that Alola is brimming with character! You can’t help but fall in love with the region and claim Sun and Moon when comparing game atmosphere and region design.

If you’re looking to experience the Alola region at its finest, look no further than Pokémon Ultra Sun And Pokémon Ultra Moon (available on pagu_games)! Introducing the highly addictive Mantine Surf minigame and additional side quests, this is the definitive version of the Sun and Moon series and a fitting swan song for the 3DS system.

8. Pokémon Sword / Shield

pokemon sword and shield box
(Credit: My Gaming Lab)

As the first main series title to appear on the Switch, Pokémon Sword and Shield (available on My Gaming Lab) has plenty of hype to live up to! Explore the vast Galar region that takes inspiration from scenic countrysides and modern cityscapes. Thanks to the Switch’s increased firepower, there’s now a huge Wild Area that’s ripe for exploration. There’s also a whole new focus on multiplayer with the Max Raid battles, where you’ll get to team up with three players to take on wild giant Pokémon. With so many changes and an upgraded graphics engine from the Switch, it’s no wonder many expect Sword and Shield to be the best Pokémon games to date.

9. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
(Credit: Nintendo Official Store)

If Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were part of your childhood, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can relive the game on your Nintendo Switch with the latest release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (available on Nintendo Official Store)! In this reimagined adventure, you can choose between Piplup, Turtwig, or Chimchar as your starter Pokémon. Thereafter, enjoy up-close-and-personal battle scenes! Look forward also to fun gadgets like the all-purpose Pokétch, which is reminiscent of a smartwatch in real life. It boasts a host of features like Berry Searcher, Dowsing Machine, Pokémon List and more! Brace yourself for new challenges in the Sinnoh region, as you’ll get to battle Gardenia, the Eterna City Gym Leader. Those who have game save records from Pokémon Sword or Shield games can even get Jirachi, a mythical Pokémon as a companion — how exciting!

10. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

The Pokémon Legends: Arceus (available on Pokémon Store Shopee Singapore) has garnered much hype amongst OG fanatics. It is a Nintendo Switch exclusive game that’ll bring you back to the beginning of Pokémon history. That’s because you can explore the nostalgic Sinnoh region, previously known as Hisui. Get ready for a whole new gaming experience where RPG is blended into new action elements. Check out the trailer above for a sneak peek into the vast landscapes that you can enjoy in this game!

11. Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Set to be released in November 2022, the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet (available on Qisahn.sg) is touted to be one of the best Pokémon games in Singapore! This is because they are the first installments in the ninth generation of the Pokémon video game series. What we love most about the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Nintendo Switch game is that its gameplay is set in a brand-new region seemingly inspired by Mediterranean Spain. It makes use of open worlds which include urban areas and open wilderness with no borders. You’ll surely enjoy the freedom of space to let your characters explore! Other than vast new landscapes, you also get to try out three new starter Pokémon: Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly; and two new legendary Pokémon: Koraidon (Scarlet) and Miraidon (Violet)! 

12. Pokémon Ga-Olé

The new arcade game Pokémon Ga-Olé has arrived at our shores — it’s time to catch ‘em all! You can enjoy two-vs-two battles with your on-hand Pokémon, where you will be cheering them on by pressing buttons according to on-screen prompts. Each battle you win will strengthen your on-hand Pokémon, and you’ll hear a literal “roar” of victory! The more you win, the louder the roar, which increases your chances of encountering rare or legendary Pokémon. Head down to Pokémon Center Singapore at Jewel Changi Airport  with your Ga-Olé discs to play the game! The disc will indicate the Pokémon, the number of stars which represents the grade, the ball type used to get the Pokémon, as well as the collection ID and disc number. You can get more discs as you capture more Pokémon in the game.

Best spinoff Pokémon games

13. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series

Ever wanted to play as Pokémon instead? The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series lets you explore randomly generated dungeons while fighting hostile Pokémon in chess-like combat. Instead of gym battles, gameplay revolves around quests and stocking up on supplies at a main hub before heading into an unknown dungeon to battle Pokémon. Fans love the adventure and mystery involved each time they step foot into a new area as no two expeditions are the same! Check it out for yourself with Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (available on pagu_games).

14. Pokken Tournament series

If you want your battles to be more than waiting for moves to land, this game is for you! Initially created as an arcade game, the Pokken Tournament series puts an interesting twist to the tactical arena combat that we’ve grown accustomed to. As a 3D fighting game that draws heavily from the Tekken series, Pokken Tournament tests your reflexes and duelling know-how in intense one-on-one settings. Snag exclusive characters when you buy the updated Switch version, Pokken Tournament DX (available on GameBusted)!

15. Pokémon Trading Card Game

pokemon trading card game
(Credit: mgwgames)

Ask any early noughties student how they spent their allowance and odds are they spent it collecting Pokémon cards! Entering the strategic card game market in 1996, Pokémon trading card games are still incredibly popular to this day — with close to 100 unique card sets released. Essentially, Pokémon card battles let players assume the role of trainers as they battle others using pre-made Pokémon card decks! 

  • Pokemon Champion Path Elite Trainer Box

Start your collection with the Pokémon Champion’s Path Elite Trainer Box (available on mgwgames) and Holiday Set 4.5 Elite Trainer Box (available on TCGTrading)! With 10 booster packs and 65 themed card sleeves, you can easily get a deck going with the Elite Trainer Box’s contents. That’s not all! You’ll also become the proud owner of Charizard V and Shiny Star V promo cards. For hardcore Pokémon TCG collectors, check out the Milotic-themed Pokémon Kanazawa cards that celebrate the launch of the brand new Pokémon Centre in Kanazawa, Japan.

  • Pokemon S9 Star Birth Booster Box

The Pokémon Trading Card Game also comes with expansion packets such as the S9 Star Birth Booster Box (available on Xin Shiro) and the Brilliant Stars S9 Booster Box (available on ACE Gaming). Both booster packs come with around 150 cards so you’ll be getting the best bang for your buck!

  • Pokemon Astral Radiance Expansion Pack

Alternatively, you can get the tenth main expansion of the Pokémon Sword & Shield which was recently released in May 2022. Coming directly from Japan, it is named the Astral Radiance Expansion Pack (available on Pokémon Store Shopee Singapore) and it focuses on the origin forms of legendary Pokémon like Dialga and Palkia. If you’ve been hooked on the Pokémon: Legends Arceus Nintendo Switch game, this Astral Radiance Expansion Pack is one you must bag.

There are also previously unknown Pokémon from the Hisui region, including a number of regional forms. Think final evolutions of the Hisui starter Pokémon like Typhlosion, Samurott and Decidueye that look completely different from how they’re depicted in the latest Pokemon series. The deck also features Radiant Pokémon that are basically the Shiny versions of all Basic Pokémon.  Don’t forget to complete your deck with the Kleavor VSTAR Premium Collection (available on Pokémon Store Shopee Singapore), so you can collect more of the Noble Pokémon found in the Nintendo Switch game!

  • Pokemon TCG SS11 Lost Origin Booster Box

The Lost Origin Booster Box (available on Lunarto) is the eleventh main Sword & Shield Series expansion of the Pokémon Trading Card Game and will soon be released on Friday, September 9 2022. One of the main characters of this expansion is the Renegade Pokémon Giratina in particular, the Giratina V and Giratina VSTAR have powers that can interact with the Lost Zone, a mechanic that was last seen in the Cosmic Eclipse extension of the Sun & Moon Series. What’s more exciting is that you can also expect to find more Hisuian Pokémon, like the Hisuian Goodra VSTAR and Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR, as well as more Radiant Pokémon, including Radiant Gardevoir, in this Pokémon Lost Origin series!

16. Pokémon GO

best pokemon games pokemon go
(Credit: Bryant Tay)

First released in 2016, Pokémon GO shattered virtual boundaries. It was en-route to being one of the best Pokémon games by utilising augmented reality! Unlike other titles, you don’t battle wild Pokémon to capture them in Pokémon GO. Rather, the game tasks you with tossing Poké Balls, with Poké Ball type and throwing technique determining your success. The game also encourages player interaction since you have to walk about in real life to interact with out-of-reach Pokémon. Nothing quite matched the frenzy during Pokémon GO’s first few weeks of launching! Players flooded PokéStops and excitedly sought to expand their virtual collection.

17. New Pokémon Snap

New Pokémon Snap
(Credit: Pokémon Store Shopee Singapore)

No Pokémon games list would be complete without featuring the remake of a classic. For newer fans, New Pokémon Snap (available on Pokémon Store Shopee Singapore) is one of the best Pokémon games that showcase these adorable companions in their natural habitat. The rules are simple: prepare your camera, frame your shots and snap cute photos of exotic Pokémon. With a Re-Snap tool to give your pictures that added polish, fans shouldn’t miss out on this spinoff !

Gotta catch all ’em best Pokémon games

Looking to get one of the best Pokémon games? Secure your copy today from our range of Nintendo Switch games and Nintendo 3DS and 2DS games. Alternatively, if you’re looking for more game recommendations, make sure to read our list covering the best Nintendo Switch party games! If not, be sure to check out our list of the best traditional games in Singapore to relive your childhood. Otherwise, these best adult card games are fun to play with your squad too. 

This article was updated on 19 July 2022. Additional research done by Gabriel Choo.