With so, so, many games in the Pokémon series, it can be overwhelming for both new and old fans to decide which games to pick up next. Here is the compiled list of the ten best Pokémon games of all time – including spin-offs, separate series, and remakes. Since the first generation of games, Pokémon has frequently released new, super-charged entries within the same generation, as well as fighting games, smooth-sailing story games, and apps! These are the 10 best Pokémon games.
10 – Pokémon Stadium
Pokémon Stadium was a new and different entry into the Pokémon series. Stadium added a new challenge – less story, just battles! Based on strategic moves, the point was to beat other Pokémon in head-to-head competitive metagames.
Stadium was the first iteration of actual 3D Pokémon – which at the time was revolutionary! The game also introduced the first connection between console and handheld games, with the N64 TransferPak. These innovations tapped into a new part of the Pokémon fanbase, that were looking for a different type of play other than the classic RPG. Stadium would also make a fantastic candidate for the next remake on the Nintendo Switch.
9 – Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were the last entries on the DS system family. The games were absolutely packed with features on top of the main story – from a camera-themed minigame to being able to scan QR codes to find rare Pokémon outside of the National Dex, Ultra Sun and Moon had hours upon hours of content. While Sun and Moon were solid entries, they were a little thin; the Ultra games massively improved upon that. Graphics were updated, characters’ storylines and even trials were tweaked. The Alolan additions to the Pokédex are regarded as the most creative in a long time, which truly helped to bring life back to the franchise.
8 – Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO is by far the most popular game of the series – if not any series on mobile platforms! Its release in 2016 saw a reaction like never before – huge crowds gathered near every Pokéstop and gym, and stampeded towards newly spawned ‘Mon on the map. Pokémon GO is the most downloaded game on mobile platforms, ever. Despite the simplistic starting gameplay, to this day fans regularly check in and hunt down Pokémon. Since its release, there have been multiple substantial updates bringing features like later generations of Pokémon, battle leagues, and new play modes to keep fans playing.
7 – Pokémon Red and Blue
Pokémon Red and Blue, the monumentally popular first installment to the Pokémon franchise, remain one of the best iterations of the game. If the sheer nostalgia wasn’t enough, there are other reasons. Red and Blue were actually challenging games; over time the games have become easier with tricks like EXP Share or being able to train Pokémon separately to your adventure – but Red and Blue were very simple. All Pokémon had to be trained up separately, and there were no hints as to which types are better than others. Trial and error were inevitable. Red and Blue introduced not only the iconic first 151 Pokémon but recognizable trainers like Brock and Misty – and some of the best legendaries to this day!
6 – Pokémon Black and White 2
Unlike other entries into generations before them, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 were actually full sequels – not just remakes! Black and White 2 are seen as the ‘cult’ favorites of the Pokémon world. These were the first (and only) games in the franchise to offer difficulty settings – though only after the game has been beaten. Still, this adds a new type of content for players. These new Unova-centered games combined fully animated Pokémon and delightful 3D backdrops, as well as adding triple battles!
5 – New Pokémon Snap
The first iteration of Pokémon Snap came out in 1999, in the era of experimental Pokémon spin-offs. A puzzle game on a fixed-rail system, Snap required players to take pictures of wild Pokémon to complete goals and earn stars. A lot of people were negative about this game’s release – however, it turned out to be a smash hit! The relaxing gameplay didn’t involve type-matching, or quick combat, or taxing puzzles to overcome in gyms. 2021’s remake of Snap brought in many more Pokémon and brand new, shiny graphics. Both new and old fans swarmed towards the Switch copy of the game and solidified its place as one of the best Pokémon games of all time.
4 – Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team
The beloved Mystery Dungeon series has many entries – but the best one by far is Blue Rescue Team. These saw compatible games for both the Nintendo DS and the GameBoy Advance. Later entries had many upgrades since this first title, but it created a remaining framework for future sequels that have gone on to garner much popularity.
3 – Pokémon Platinum
A continuation of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Platinum not only brings new ideas to the games but also resolves issues of its’ predecessors. The biggest of these being that it brought in more fire-type Pokémon – in Diamond and Pearl, if you didn’t choose Chimchar as your starter, you’d be stuck without a strong fire-type for the rest of the game. Thankfully, in Platinum, this is addressed as more ‘Mons were added to the Pokédex. Such additions included new forms; Rotom received five new themed forms along with other Pokémon getting some changes.
The online features were brought up to speed in Platinum too; a new WiFi Plaza was added where up to 20 players could join in mini-games together, along with improvements to previous online features. These upgrades meshed well with the new and different environments, making Pokémon Platinum a solid favorite for fans.
2 – Pokémon Fire Red/Leaf Green
2004 saw the release of Fire Red and Leaf Green – strong remakes for the GameBoy Advance of the original GameBoy games. For many, this was the first introduction to the Pokémon franchise. Fire Red and Leaf Green really brought the world to life; bringing new sprites, a fully colored art style, and new music into the mix. There was also a massive amount of post-game content – the Elite Four, as well as the Sevii Islands, were brought in for players to battle and beat. On the Sevii Islands, all Johto Pokémon were available to catch! The remakes also added Steel and Dark types, bringing a new layer to battles and type matching. Even older fans who knew the original games inside and out had a new and exciting experience with these games!
1 – Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver
There really is no competition here: Heart Gold and Soul Silver are regarded as the best Pokémon game across the board. The games are remakes of the 1999 Pokémon Gold and Silver, but on top of that, they bring in features from Crystal and a whole host of new features to improve the game’s experience. Quality of life improvements were added, along with fixes to issues that fans commonly had with Gold and Silver. Interestingly, the games were also able to connect to the generation 4 releases – Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. This added a HUGE amount of Pokémon available in the post-game, and a lot more content than in the originals. Heart Gold and Soul Silver are seen as the most complete Pokémon games due to the level curve, having your buddy monster follow you on the map, and small additions like the PokéWalker (allowing leveling up of Pokémon as you walk in real life!). It is not hard to imagine why this game is top of the list – any seasoned fan will tell you this is their favorite and is for many good reasons!
New Pokémon Snap is available now on Nintendo Switch.