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10 Best Pokémon Games for Nintendo Switch

Header Best Pokemon Games for Nintendo Switch
Paul Allen
Written by
Paul Allen
Written by
Paul Allen
From train sets to Tamagotchis, Paul would spend hours as a kid playing with anything he could get his hands on. Nowadays, he researches the latest and greatest toys featured on TheToyZone, while dividing his free time between his Playstation and his Nintendo Switch.
James Booth
Edited by
James Booth
Edited by
James Booth
Managing Editor
James loved anything Star Wars related as a kid! These days he uses the force to make sure TheToyZone is consistently publishing articles our readers will trust and find real value in. On his off days, you'll find him in the woods searching for Ewoks.
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TheToyZone is an independent publication with no ties with companies mentioned on the site. We don’t accept free products in exchange for glowing reviews. Instead, we report our own findings to help you make an informed decision.

While my closest relationship with Pokémon growing up was through the TV show, Pokémon was a Nintendo Game Boy game before anything else. Over the years, the Pokémon franchise has blossomed into different media genres, which explains why it has managed to hold the attention of its OG fans and repeatedly win over new generations of kids. 

However, Nintendo games are still the heart of the Poke-verse — but with the vibrant graphics and immersive worlds that the Switch can provide, it is far beyond what is 90s kids could ever have imagined.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to catch ‘em all, but for now, you must choose just one or two Pokémon games to give to your little Pokémon trainer. Where do you begin? Well, as long as you’re armed with some information about your giftee, you should find the perfect option by reading this list in no time. 

There is something for everyone here, whether you want to learn about the origins of the Poke-verse, take on other Pokémon in Tekken-style combat or simply capture these fantastical creatures to build your Pokedex. 

And as we built our list based on our first-hand experienced contrasted against hundreds of genuine reviews by players and parents, you can be sure that all these games are worthy of collecting in your Poke-ball.

The Top 3 Pokémon Games for Nintendo Switch

New Pokémon SnapPokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee Pokémon Legends: Arceuse
New Pokemon SnapPokemon Let's Go, Eevee!Pokémon Legends Arceus
BEST AGE5 years and up4 years and up10 years and up
❤️ PROSIt’s a fresh take on Pokémon as you get to interact with them in their natural habitat in a relaxing, non-violent wayIt’s a relaxing game that’s friendly to young kids and beginnersIt goes back to basics by being centered around collecting Pokémon, while the mechanics feel really fresh
💔 CONSIt can get repetitive after a whileIt’s geared at young kids so it’s not for those who want a challengeWhile sometimes you find awesome things, sometimes you find yourself wandering around aimlessly
💵 PRICE$42.00$49.82$44.50

Those are our top three choices, but they might not be your top three. So check out the list below to learn about all the awesome Pokémon games available on the Switch. It’s not a long list, but each item on it is a wonderful adventure, whether exploring, battling, capturing or even snapping photos of Pokémon.

1. Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet Double Pack

The latest release in the franchise, this Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet double pack provides Pokémon fans with twice the action and double the fun. Players get to explore the expansive region of Paleda and catch and battle Pokémon without the confines of a linear plot, all while exploring new, exciting environments in stunning graphics.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone

Building on the success of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the first time Pokémon has provided a fully open world experience, allowing players to forge their own path through the game. As such, it’s best for experienced players and those who relish exploration and discovery.

What We Love:

❤️ Set in a vast open world where you can choose your own adventure
❤️ There’s so much to do on top of the primary mission
❤️ The storyline is entertaining, and the graphics are excellent

What We Don’t Love:

💔  It occasionally suffers from frame rate drops
💔 You only get one code for both games so you can’t share them separately

2. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Pokémon Legends: Arceus came out in early 2022 and quickly became a favorite among die-hard Pokémon players. Perhaps the most immersive Pokémon game yet, it transports you to the beginning of the Poke-verse, where you must travel through the ancient lands of Hisiu to create the very first Pokédex. It’s a truly enchanting adventure and a highly engaging origin story.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

This game is the perfect blend of action and RPG, with so much to do, explore and learn. Plus, while it is an open-world game, it does provide some guidance, so it’s a friendly entry point to the genre.

What We Love:

❤️ It goes back to basics by being centered around collecting Pokémon, while the mechanics feel fresh
❤️ There is so much to explore in a beautiful open world
❤️ The battles and side quests are also super fun

What We Don’t Love:

💔 While sometimes you find fabulous things, sometimes you find yourself wandering around aimlessly
💔 It won’t appeal to kids who like bright, cartoony graphics

3. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee

Pokémon’s Let’s Go a reboot of the 90’s Gameboy game Pokémon Yellow, meaning this is a reincarnation of the first generation of Pokémon games that OG fans will remember. In the Kanto region, you’ll find all the original Pokémon, including the iconic Mew, Ditto, Pikachu and Eevee, all appearing in beautiful cartoon designs.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

This game is a win-win because it will satisfy adult Pokémon fans with a nostalgia hit, and its bright colors and simple mechanics will appeal to young kids. You might buy it for your niece and find her dad loves it even more than she does.

What We Love:

❤️ Relaxing game that’s friendly to young kids and beginners
❤️ Beautiful graphics that retain the art style of the original game
❤️ You can see all the catchable Pokémon in the wild so you can target the ones you want

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It’s not for those who want a challenge
💔 Only includes 1st generation Pokémon

4. Pokémon Shield

Pokémon Shield is the first Pokémon game designed specifically for the Switch, and the loving care that has gone into crafting it is evident at every turn. Shield leaves players in an expansive and unfamiliar land, Galar, filled with forests, towering mountains and elaborate cities. Of course, it’s also filled with Pokémon, who you can see roaming around in wild areas.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

Either Grookey, Scorbunny or Sobble’ll join you as you battle Team Yell and uncover the mysteries of legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta. You can also use Dynamax or Gigantamax for your Pokémon to increase their size, strength and power.

What We Love:

❤️ It’s set in the new Galar region and is full of exciting locations and characters to discover
❤️ Features vibrant graphics and an online multiplayer option
❤️ It’s super immersive, especially in the Wild Areas where you can see wild Pokémon

What We Don’t Love:

💔  If you prefer challenging Pokémon games, you may find this too easy
💔 Not all the Pokémon are there

5. Pokkén Tournament DX

Have you ever wanted to play Tekken but fight exclusively with Pokémon? Then this game is for you. For those who love fighting games as much as they love Pokémon, it is guaranteed to please. More akin to button-smashing arcade games than other Pokémon releases, Pokkén Tournament DX is all about battles, swift action and fancy fighting maneuvers.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

In Pokkén Tournament DX, players take on the role of the Pokémon themselves, going head to head with other Pokémon and unleashing their best moves. It makes for a great party game the whole family can enjoy together.

What We Love:

❤️ There’s a fantastic roster of Pokémon fighters, each with their own unique abilities
❤️ It’s fast-paced and action-packed but feels realistic
❤️ Super fun multiplayer game that kids and adults can both enjoy

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The mechanics will seem quite complex to those not familiar with fighting games
💔 The tutorial menus are a bit too information-heavy

6. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu

Like the idea of Let’s Go, Eevee, but prefer to play as Pikachu? Then check out this alternative version, which allows you to play as one of the most iconic Pokémon ever. Players will join Pikachu on an adventure through the Kanto region, exploring the wooded landscapes and battling foes to become the greatest Pokémon trainer of them all.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

The team behind Pokémon Go designs these newer versions of Let’s Go. As such, they share many of the same mechanics for more straightforward and more exciting gameplay while incorporating co-op play so you can team up with friends.

What We Love:

❤️ It’s easy enough for beginners and young kids as long as they can read a little
❤️ If you have the Poke Ball Plus, you’ll get rewards for traveling with your Pokémon
❤️ It’s a cute and relaxing game that evokes earlier GameBoy games – with much better graphics.

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The battle element has been considerably minimized
💔 It’s geared towards young kids, so it’s not for those who like a challenge

7. Pokémon Sword

Released in tandem with Pokémon Shield, this also takes place in the Galar region, where players can explore, capture and train Pokémon. In Pokémon Sword, you’ll take on fighting-type gym leader Bea and rock-type gym leader Gordie in epic showdowns.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

Pokémon Sword is the perfect option for players who like to put their power and might to the test. At the same time, there’s still so much to explore and ancient mysteries to unravel.

What We Love:

❤️ It has a great sandbox game quality that contributes to its sense of wonder
❤️ The animation is beautiful, especially the stunning environments
❤️ Gym leader battles are super fun and very well done

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The storyline is a little cheesy
💔 It’s similar to Pokémon Shield in that experienced players may find it too easy

8. New Pokémon Snap

Pokémon Snap is another game that is ideal for younger players plus those old enough to remember the original Nintendo 64 edition. Instead of a Poke Ball, players are armed with a camera to capture unique Pokémon images in their natural habitat. It’s a nonviolent, combat-free approach to Pokémon that draws on science and nature observation themes.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

As players travel from jungles to deserts to beaches, they will encounter an array of unique Pokémon to snap. This is all to assist Prof. Mirror in his research – and interact in a new way with these fascinating creatures.

What We Love:

❤️  It’s a fresh take on Pokémon as you get to interact with them in their natural habitat in a relaxing, non-violent way
❤️ It will appeal to OG Pokémon lovers and young children alike
❤️ The 3D graphics are gorgeous and portray a detailed, immersive world

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It can get repetitive after a while
💔 Those who enjoy the action and combat elements of Pokémon games may be disappointed

9. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

For kids who love to throw themselves into a game, Rescue Team DX is a slam dunk. The game sucks you in immediately with a personality test that determines which Pokémon you’ll play as. As the game progresses, you’ll explore dungeons, meet over 400 Pokémon, and play alongside your favorite characters to win battles and make the Poke-verse safer place.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

As a strategy game of turn-based combat, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon offers some fresh mechanics for Pokémon fans to enjoy. It’s perfect for tactical thinkers, and those drawn in by aesthetics will love the watercolor-inspired graphics.

What We Love:

❤️ The Pokémon move realistically despite the beautiful hand-drawn animation style
❤️ Fantastic remake of a classic – it adds some great modern features while maintaining the integrity of the original
❤️ It’s a relaxing game but you can up the difficulty of your missions if you want

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It can get repetitive at times
💔 The price tag is a little high for the game’s length

10. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Pokémon Shining Pearl Double Pack

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are the perfect launch pad for new Pokémon players and kids with a bit of gaming experience. Remade from the original 2006 games for the Switch, this double pack will also please players of the older versions, as it maintains the story but offers enhanced graphics and a quicker pace.

Recommended age: Rated E for Everyone 

In the upgraded version of these games, you’ll also find many captivating side quests, like the fossil-rich Grand Underground or the style-savvy Super Contest. As it’s a double pack, it’s also a great option if you have two Pokémon fans to please.

What We Love:

❤️ The package includes a code for a mystery gift in the game
❤️ The graphics look great on the Switch
❤️ It’s much faster-paced than the original but retains all the excellent stuff

What We Don’t Love:

💔 There isn’t that much new content compared to the originals
💔 The two games are essentially the same so it’s best for die-hard fans or two kids that each want their own game

Frequently Asked Questions About Pokémon Games for Nintendo Switch

🙋 What is the best Pokémon game for the Switch?

In the last few years, many awesome Pokémon games have been released for the Switch and several remakes of older games. So if you ask ten different Pokémon fans the above question, you might get ten different answers.

However, if you keep asking more and more fans, a pattern might emerge that the most popular answer is Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Released at the beginning of 2022, this game has been a runaway success. 

Its secret sauce appears to be its perfect balance of freedom to explore and gentle guidance. It also returns to the heart of what makes Pokémon special while providing everything in the way of graphics and realism that a modern Switch game can.

🙋 What is the most kid-friendly Pokémon game?

Although millions of adults love it too, Pokémon is made for children, so most games are kid-friendly. However, some of them are best for older kids and those who are already expert gamers.

If you’re looking for the perfect way to introduce your preschooler to Pokémon games, your best bet is Let’s Go, Eevee or Let’s Go, Pikachu. These are classic Pokémon games in the sense that they involve exploring the Kanto region, capturing Pokémon and battling foes. 

However, the mechanics are straightforward, the storyline is kid-friendly and it doesn’t require much reading. Plus, the bright graphics and cheery soundtrack will appeal to young children.

🙋 Is Pokémon suitable for 5-year-olds?

That depends on what you mean by Pokémon — but on the whole, the answer is yes. You’ll notice that most games on this list are rated E for Everyone. That means they are in theory suitable for kids as young as three, though some of them are likely too challenging. 

The best Pokémon games for 5-year-olds are the Let’s Go games, New Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Sword and Shield for kids who are already gaming pros.

Other areas of the Pokémon media franchise, such as the animated show and the card game, are also suitable for 5-year-olds as long as you’re okay with a bit of fantasy violence. A more recent addition to the Poke-verse, Pokémon Go, is a great bonding activity for kids and parents.

So… What Pokémon Game Should You Get?

Ultimately, that’s up to you. Any one of the games on our list would be an excellent gift for a Pokémon fan. However, the best option for the Pokémon trainer in your life depends on their age, the types of games they like to play and what they have already played.

For example, games like Let’s Go Pikachu and New Pokémon Snap are great ways to introduce young kids to Pokémon games and can also be fantastic for adults who want something relaxing to play after work. On the other hand, Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond are ideal for older kids or adults who enjoy a challenge and the freedom to forge their own path through the game.

Did we miss any capture-worthy Pokémon games? Comment below if there’s a game you think should have been on the list.

💡 Tip: Are you looking for a Pokémon game for a kid who loves to draw and to get artistic? Check out our free printable Pokémon coloring pages.

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