When Pokkén Tournament came out on the Wii U back in 2016, we thought it was a great melding of the world of Pokémon and the fighting genre. The same holds true for Pokkén Tournament DX for Nintendo Switch, which is essentially the same game as the Wii U version, just with five more characters, a Daily Challenge mode, a new three-vs-three mode, ranked battles online, split-screen local play, and all of the convenience that comes with being on a console/handheld hybrid. It’s fortunate that Pokkén runs and looks great as ever whether the Switch is docked or in your hands. The caveat is that if you’re playing in Split Screen mode the frame rate takes a dramatic hit, even with the enormous border around the screens.
The five new Pokémon that Pokkén Tournament DX adds are Croagunk, Darkrai, Empoleon, Scizor, and Decidueye, and it’s great that all of these characters and the originally unlockable Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo are playable right at the start. My personal favorite is Scizor, who has the unique mechanic of creating swords that float behind him and can either be called upon to enhance basic combos or used as tricky projectiles. I’m a big fan of air combos too, and he’s got a great launcher that pops the enemy into the air for a follow-up air combo.
The Daily Challenge mode, on the other hand, feels tacked on without any real vision to it. Every day you get a new challenge that gives you a specific Pokémon, with a specific assist team, in a specific mode, with the promise of rewards in the form of skill points… which aren’t very useful. I’ve only gotten to experience a couple of these so far, but none have offered any interesting twists outside of having to win a fight using a character that I don’t normally use against easy AI bots that don’t require any sort of deep knowledge of a character to beat. Calling them “challenges” is a bit of a stretch.
The new three-on-three battles are neat, especially because they feel more like actual trainer battles in which your Pokémon faint, forcing you to throw out a new one to continue the fight. It seems strange that they weren’t in the Wii U version with how much sense they make here. All things considered though, the mode doesn’t dramatically change the way you play — there’s no tagging characters in mid-match a la Marvel vs Capcom — and all it really adds is two more characters on both sides of the arena.
Release Date: Sep 22, 2017