The Pokémon franchise has a ton of memorable mainline games, but it’s also spawned a series of terrific spin-off games. These spin-offs change the formula a bit but are still set in the classic Pokémon universe.
From pet simulations to battle arenas and mysterious adventures, these spin-offs do a great job of experimenting with the franchise. Below, we’ve listed the 16 best Pokémon spin-off games, ranked.
Top Pokémon spin-off games
16 – Hey You, Pikachu!
Hey You, Pikachu! was a Pokémon spin-off that let you form a bond with Pikachu, the series’ mascot, bringing a whole new level of interactivity and emotionality to the series. Pikachu will respond to the player’s voice and perform various actions, like following the player, playing fetch, and even singing songs. While I wouldn’t consider it in the top 10, it’s definitely worth mentioning for its innovation alone.
15 – PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure
PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure is like a Petz game but with Pokémon. The game features a colorful and vibrant world filled with over 200 different Pokémon to interact with and befriend. Players can explore the park at their own pace, complete challenges, and play mini-games to earn rewards.
You can pet, feed, and play with Pokémon, just like you would a pet, only your pet doesn’t provide you with fun quests to complete. This is the kind of Pokemon game that seems tailor-made for a mobile reboot.
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14 – Pokémon Unite
Pokémon Unite is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by TiMi Studio Group and published by The Pokémon Company. It was released for Nintendo Switch in July 2021, and for mobile devices in September 2021.
Pokémon Unite is a 5v5 team-based game where players control a single Pokémon and battle to score points in the opposing team’s goal zone. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins. The game is definitely fun but is overly reliant on its pay-to-win system for its own good. It remains popular despite its cash-grabbing ways. And if you like MOBAs and Pokemon, this is the spin-off for you.
13 – Pokémon Masters EX
Pokémon Masters EX has a diverse roster of characters, exciting events, and unique gameplay that make it a popular mobile game. This is kind of like collecting Pokémon Trainers instead of just Pokémon. Trainers and Pokémon must work together to build strong Sync Pairs to create effective teams.
The game features trainers and Pokémon from all eight generations of Pokémon, as well as some original characters created specifically for the game.
12 – Pokkén Tournament DX
Pokkén Tournament DX is a fighting game that is accessible to players of all skill levels. The controls are simple to learn but provide a surprising amount of depth for players looking for a richer, more complex fighting game experience. Players can choose to fight in either the Field Phase, where they can move freely around the arena, or the Duel Phase, where they are locked in a one-on-one battle. Pokkén Tournament DX features a roster of over 20 playable Pokémon, each with unique movesets and playstyles.
11 – Detective Pikachu
In Detective Pikachu, players control Tim Goodman, a young man who teams up with a talking Pikachu to solve the many mysteries of Ryme City. Detective Pikachu seemed like a joke when it was initially announced, but eventually earned itself a good place in the hearts of die-hard fans of the series. It’s got a good story with memorable characters. Tim and Pikachu’s relationship is particularly endearing, and their exchanges are a highlight of the game. Detective Pikachu made me feel like Sherlock Holmes, even if it tends to hand-hold a little too often.
10 – Pokémon Trading Card Game Online
The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is an insanely popular free-to-play digital card game that has a huge fanbase. Essentially, players can earn in-game currency to unlock new cards and decks. Like any card game, the gameplay is all about strategy. You have to carefully construct your deck and use your cards wisely to defeat your opponents. Just imagine the physical card game but online.
9 – Pokémon Rumble World
Pokémon Rumble World is a free-to-play action RPG for the Nintendo 3DS. It was honestly too good to have been free, as evidenced by the enormous player base when it was at its peak. Players control a team of Pokémon that they must use to defeat enemies and complete levels in this top-down game.
While the gameplay itself was fun, it was the generous selection of Pokémon that kept players coming back for more. There were over 700 different Pokémon, including many rares and legendaries. IIts yet another spin-off that demands a modern mobile remake.
8 – Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team is beloved for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is how it combines elements of roguelike dungeon crawlers with the familiar Pokémon universe.
The player assumes the role of a human who has been transformed into a Pokémon. They team up with other Pokémon to form a rescue team and help characters trapped in dungeons. Recruiting new Pokémon is also an option, and every Pokémon comes with its own set of abilities and characteristics. It was one of the best games in the series.
7 – Pokémon Snap
It is no secret that Pokémon Snap is one of the most beloved games of all time. It was one of the first games to let you interact with Pokémon as if you weren’t another trainer, but rather a tourist who just wanted to snap some pics of some pretty animals. One of the things that makes Pokémon Snap so special is its focus on photography. Players are tasked with taking the best possible photos of Pokémon as they travel through different environments. The game features over 60 different Pokémon, each with its own unique behaviors, animations, and routes to travel. It’s still one of the most popular Pokémon games ever made.
6 – Pokémon Quest
Pokémon Quest is such a fun time waster for mobile, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a free-to-play game with a voxel-based art style that is incredibly addictive. It is easy to learn and play, even for those who are new to the Pokémon franchise. In the game, players control a team of three Pokémon as they explore a variety of islands, battling wild Pokémon and completing quests.
Players must carefully select their team composition and use their Pokémon’s strengths to their advantage to succeed. It’s also a highly customizable experience. You can collect a variety of items and materials to craft new equipment and power up your Pokémon how you see fit. You can also decorate your base camp with various objects and furniture.
5 – Pokémon Stadium 2
Pokémon Stadium 2 was the first Pokémon game to feature fully 3D graphics, a major leap forward for the series at the time. While the game is dated today, back then it was a revelation. Pokémon Stadium 2 included all of the Pokémon from the first two generations, giving players the chance to use their favorite Pokémon in a whole new and exciting way.
4 – Pokémon Conquest
Pokémon Conquest is like Romance of the Three Kingdoms mixed with the Pokémon universe. Players take control of warlords from Japan’s feudal Sengoku era, each with their own Pokémon team. The goal is to conquer all of the regions of Ransei by defeating rival warlords and capturing their castles.
The most obvious takeaway is that it’s so drastically different from every other mainline or spin-off entry in the series. While the story is just okay, being more of what you’ve come to expect from a Pokemon game, the tactical RPG gameplay is what made this game special.
3 – Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon
This was the premier version of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. The player once again takes on the role of a human who has been transformed into a Pokémon and must team up with other Pokémon to explore dungeons, complete missions, and solve mysteries.
The story is really well-written and emotional. This is due in large part to its fully fleshed-out set of characters. In a rare feat for a Pokemon game, well-written script and charming characters make Mystery Dungeon a franchise standout.
2 – Pokémon Colosseum
Pokémon Colosseum was like Pokémon for edgy teens. It was notably darker and more mature tone than previous Pokémon games. Colosseum’s most memorable addition was the ability to “snag” Shadow Pokémon from other trainers. Kidnapping, basically, but hey, you’ve got to collect new Pokémon somehow.
Colosseum had double battles and the Mt. Battle Challenge Tower, a pair of throwback modes from the GameBoy days.
1 – Pokémon GO
Pokemon GO is probably the most profitable Pokémon game to date, and tons of people still play it, long after it took the world by storm in 2016. GO brought the classic Pokemon “Gotta catch them all!” formula into the real world with what, at the time, was cutting-edge Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Players can catch Pokémon that appear in the real world, battle other trainers at Gyms, and trade Pokémon with friends. The game is free to play so pretty much anyone with a capable phone can get into it. The game is also constantly updated with new content, such as new Pokémon, events, and features. It’s hard to find a more popular spin-off than Pokémon GO.
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