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
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)! Besides improved graphics, 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 and Pearl
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
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
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, and enjoy up-close-and-personal battle scenes! In addition, look forward to fun gadgets like the all-purpose Pokétch, which is reminiscent of a smart watch 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
Set to be released in January 2022, 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, where 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 Ga-Olé
The new arcade game Pokémon Ga-Olé has arrived at our shores this 2021 — 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
12. 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 accepting quests and stocking up on supplies at a main hub before heading into an unknown dungeon to explore and 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).
13. 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)!
14. Pokémon Trading Card Game
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! Find out how to play below!
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.
Alternatively, you can get the eighth main expansion of the Pokémon Sword & Shield which was recently released in September 2021. Coming directly from Japan, it is named the Fusion Arts Expansion Pack (available on Japan-Store) and it features over 100 different cards including 29 Secret Rares. Each Pokémon Fusion Arts booster box also comes with 30 booster packs containing five Japanese Pokémon cards too. What a steal!
Additionally, in light of Pokémon Trading Card Game’s 25th anniversary, the Pokémon Celebrations Elite Trainer Box (available on Games Haven) was released, featuring an exclusive parade of cards that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re serious about your Pokémon TCG collection, this is a set worthy for investment!
15. Pokémon GO
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.
16. New Pokémon Snap
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 additional night levels and a Re-Snap tool to give your pictures that added polish, diehard fans shouldn’t miss out on picking this spinoff up!
Gotta catch them all with these 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 (or a localised Squid Game spinoff battle royale) as well as the best adult card games you can play with your squad.
This article was updated on 30 November 2021. Additional research done by Liang Shi Nan.