Pokken Tournament DX Review – A Worthy Adversary

When Pokken Tournament released on the Wii U back in 2016, it was a great melding of the Pokémon world and the fighting game genre, giving it a fairly high score way back when. Now, the studio behind the game has decided to bring it back to life with Pokken Tournament DX, an essential port of the original for the Nintendo Switch.

Due to the game being pretty much the same, this review won’t go way too in-depth on the mechanics of it like our original did, and if you’re looking for a breakdown of the mechanics, then I would definitely recommend you check that review out (linked above). Instead, we’ll focus on some of the changes, how they work, and if they’re worth another go around.

By far the biggest change to the game is the fact that it can now be played on the go. From my experience, the game runs and looks great on the new Nintendo hardware, and I didn’t notice any problems while playing in either the docked or handheld mode. It seems to be another title that managed to get itself working on the Switch with no issue, which is something that Nintendo probably loves to hear.

Perhaps the biggest update to the game (in a gaming sense) is the inclusion of five new Pokémon for fighters to learn: Croagunk, Darkrai, Empoleon, Scizor, and Decidueye. All five – including Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo – are available to play right from the start, making it super easy for players to get right into the game and start learning who they might be best with. Each of the new characters offers their own unique styles, like Scizor being a more projectile-based fighter whereas Darkrai and Croagunk are brawler types, so to speak. All five of the new characters feel well thought out in their inclusions and will make for some fun change of paces for the fans.

Also included in the updated game is the Daily Challenge mode, which allows players to earn extra skill points for some of their Pokémon. These challenges assign you with Pokémon and support characters and focus on getting you out of your comfort zone in order to try and succeed. It’s a pretty nifty way to get you to try different styles of play, though it still feels lacking compared to other games that have a more dedicated challenge mode. The fact that the AI doesn’t seem to offer any sort of skill to beat also takes away from the thrill of winning.

In a move that might harken back to the original Pokémon titles, three-on-three battles have been added to Pokken Tournament DX. Though I was a bit skeptical, they ended up being one of the neatest features, giving me a feeling like I was playing a more traditional Pokémon game as I battled it out with other trainers. There are no tagging characters in mid-match, so it doesn’t add too much strategy, but it’s a mode that makes sense given the franchise that its representing, and one that the game nailed.

When all is said and done, the game plays mostly like the original Wii U version, which isn’t a bad thing at all. For those who have never played the original or are new to the Switch club, Pokken Tournament DX is the definitive way to play Nintendo’s fighting game, and it manages to fit itself in nicely alongside the array of Switch titles already available. Five new characters and some new ways to play are all fantastic additions, and fans of the Pokémon series as well as fighting games should certainly look into this one.

This review was based on a digital review copy of Pokken Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch provided by Nintendo.

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