Pokken Tournament DX Nintendo Switch Review
I explained my initial thoughts about the original Pokken Tournament back in 2016. Since then a lot has changed, has it for Pokken Tournament?
The Wii U version of Pokken Tournament was a fighting game. I enjoyed it back then and the Nintendo Switch “DX” version looks set to yet again impress.
Pokken Tournament sets itself apart from other fighting games with a genuinely unique and interesting twist in the form of phases. These phases allow Pokken Tournament to be both a 3D and 2D fighter. Battles begin in the Field phase with fighters having a large 3D arena to run around in and try to use a variety of attacks to whittle down their foes health. Certain attacks result in both combatants being drawn into the Duel Phase. The Duel Phase forces the two opposing Pokemon into a 2D plane. Here Pokken Tournament DX sees the two pokemon deal the most damage to one another. Certain attacks though can result in both players being pushed back into the field phase…
This phase based gameplay mechanic was enjoyable on the Wii U and remains so now. I’ve not seen another game mimic it, yet. It makes the battles feel more interesting than perhaps longer bouts in other fighters. It increases the number of moves to be used and learnt and moves this Pokemon fighter from novelty title to proper “grown-up” fighting game!
This is a Pokemon game but unlike the traditional RPG games where players are encouraged to “catch them all” Pokken Tournament DX does not focus on the numbers of Pokemon. Given that this is a Pokemon fighting game I was really surprised and a tad disappointed to see that there are only 21 Pokemon you can directly control and fight as. These 21 are not a particularly strong group of individuals, most of them I’ve never seen before! It seems like a massive shame, especially for this DX version that we’ve not getting a few more iconic Pokemon. It is a series that centres entirely around these unique and interesting creatures, why aren’t there more here?
Aside from the disappointment of the selection of Pokemon to fight as there is a lot to like about Pokken Tournament DX. It has a lot of modes, the fighting is easy to pick up and tricky to master and it has a robust online mode. Those of you with friends who have been able to pick up a Switch can also enjoy local play.
Pokken Tournament DX is a good fighting game. The selection of Pokemon is certainly disappointing but the mechanics of the combat are tight, enjoyable and unique. The lack of a story mode is disappointing, the Injustice series has shown how it can be done. This DX version simply doesn’t offer much to returning players. If you’re a Pokemon fan who didn’t play the original then this is certainly worth a look.