Pokken Tournament DX Review
While it may not carry the actual name for the series that we all know and love, Pokken Tournament DX is a Pokemon fighting game in all but name. It comes with a small selection of the series hundreds (thousands?) of creatures, from Lucario and Charizard to Pikachu and Gengar.
While it originally released on the Wii U and Arcades last year, Pokken Tournament DX for the Switch adds some new additions to entice both old and new players. The previously locked Mewtwo is now available right from the beginning and you’re also treated to characters that were previously exclusive to the Arcade version of the game: Darkrai, Decidueye, Empolen, Scizor and Croagunk. Taking the total number of characters up to 21, a significant improvement on the original game’s 16.
Once you’ve selected your Pokemon and assist Pokemon – a duo of characters that you can call to help you during the battle for a few seconds with different buffs to your characters and attacks to your opponent – you’re ready to enter the battle.
Fights initially take place in a 3D space, with movements back and forth as well as sideways possible. However, taking the fight to your opponent and hitting them with certain attacks allows you to shift the perspective of battle into a more traditional 2D perspective. A focus that a number of players will feel more familiar with. The change in perspective is seamless and it adds a nice dynamic to the game’s battles. With some characters, I felt sure of myself when fighting in 3D and thought that I lost some advantage when the focus changed, while with others, 2D was when I took the battle by the scruff of the neck and wanted to capitalise.
As you fight, your Synergy Gauge fills up which allows you to perform Mega Evolutions with your Pokemon. This results in you being able to deliver bigger attacks on your opponent; ending fights in the blink of an eye if timed correctly.
The fighting isn’t as technical as what you’ll see elsewhere though, as the game clearly tries to cater to both the hardcore fighting fan as well as ensuring it’s easy to pick up and play for more casual fighting game fans and more traditional Pokemon games. It doesn’t alienate but it perhaps doesn’t do either market enough justice. Pokken Tournament DX’s simplicity allows it to be accessible to the younger generation but feels too manageable for an older audience. It’s still a ton of fun, as the action is almost always fast paced but with a bit more technical nouse, winning a fight would feel like winning more often rather than just going through the motions against the AI.
This is a feeling that is present throughout the game’s main single-player mode, where you’ll battle endless amounts of AI fighters and trainers in order to rise up through the Green, Blue and Red leagues in Ferrum League Mode. It offers a nice way of introducing newcomers to the game but again never satisfies the criteria for a good, hard-fought win. Everything feels like it’s handed to you on a plate and only towards the end does it start to test what you’ve learnt so far.
Other additions to the DX version of Pokken Tournament include Daily Challenges, where you’ll be tasked with completing fights with certain characters or under certain stipulations in order to gain additional experience points and currency, with which you can buy attire for your avatar trainer and also a Team Battle mode. The latter of which is a more traditional Tekken Tag system where you and your opponent will pick 3 Pokemon each and battle until one of you has had all of their picks defeated.
It’s multiplayer though that will either make this a must-buy for you or steer you clear. There isn’t enough content on offer here for the single player unless you’re prepared to get deep inside the online battling that’s on offer. The nature of the Switch means that Pokken Tournament DX is perfect for on-the-go local co-op matches, with each Joy Con perfectly capable of acting as one controller due to the basic structure of the control system. If you have a few friends who even have a casual love for Pokemon and fighting games, Pokken Tournament DX could easily take away a few hours of your time thanks to its ease of use.
Pokken Tournament DX Review Conclusion
Pokken Tournament DX feels nice in everything it does. Which, for more casual fighting game fans who also love Pokemon is ideal. For those looking for a different fighting game, it’s best to look elsewhere, but, if you want an action-packed and easy to pick up and play fighter with a bit of colour, Pokken Tournament DX might be what you’re after.
We tested Pokken Tournament DX after receiving a review code from Nintendo. Pokken Tournament DX is out for Nintendo Switch on Friday, September 22nd.