Return to the Ferrum Region on your Nintendo Switch for another round of Pokkén Tournament. The DX version doesn’t really improve on the original’s flaws, but it’s perfect if you’re craving more ringside action from the world of Pokémon.
Developed by Bandai Namco Studios, Pokkén Tournament released for the Wii U in 2016. Combining Tekken with Game Freak’s adorable Pokémon seemed like an odd decision at first, but punctuating traditional fighting gameplay with a quick Flamethrower or a Psybeam was incredibly satisfying. With this Nintendo Switch release, Bandai Namco have created the definitive way to play Pokkén.
Pokkén Tournament jumped from arcades to the Wii U back in early 2016, but the console version never received the countless updates that came to arcades. DX rectifies this by adding the four playable Pokémon that never made the transition. This means that Nintendo Switch owners will finally get their hands on the intimidating Scizor, the poisonous Croagunk, the powerful Emploeon and the terrifying Darkrai. Each of these Pokémon have their strengths and weaknesses to experiment with, so even the most experienced Wii U players have something to sink their teeth into. However, Decidueye is the most exciting addition. Making his Pokkén debut, the Grass / Ghost type first appeared in Pokémon Sun and Moon late last year. He isn’t the only addition from Alola either, both Popplio and Litten have been added as Support Pokémon. It would obviously would have been great to have a few more newcomers, but DX brings the roster up to a reasonable 21 fighters. Wii U veterans will also appreciate that all 21 fighters are unlocked immediately, but some players will undoubtedly miss the excitement of unlocking new characters as they progress.
Alongside the new Pokémon, DX features two major new battle types to try and master. Daily Challenges offer rewards for meeting certain criteria in a set battle. Unlike other modes, each Daily Challenge forces you to play as a specific Pokémon, so it’s a good way to test out new fighters. The other new mode is Team Battle. Reminiscent of the traditional Pokémon RPGs, Team Battles give each Trainer a team of three Pokémon to switch between. It completely changes Pokkén’s dynamic, so veterans will certainly appreciate its addition.
As well as the Wii U’s multiplayer options, DX takes advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s portability to add local wireless battles. However, it’s the Joy-Con controls that Nintendo have been rightfully focusing on their marketing. It means you can pass a Joy-Con to a friend for immediate head-to-head matches. While it initially seems daunting to control such a complex fighting game with the tiny Joy-Con, Bandai Namco have done an excellent job translating the inputs to such a simplistic controller.
Graphically, DX hasn’t noticeably improved from the Wii U version. However, the original Pokkén was gorgeous, so a visual upgrade was hardly necessary. We’ve never seen such highly detailed models of each Pokémon and they all look great. The new Pokémon each have incredibly creative battle animations too, Decidueye’s arrow-based attacks are particularly impressive. The Wii U version suffered from occasional framerate drops during local multiplayer battles, but the issue seems to have been resolved for this rerelease of the game.
Pokkén Tournament DX is a great package. If you didn’t visit the Ferrum Region the first time around, the Nintendo Switch version is the definitive way to play. There isn’t a huge amount of new content for Wii U veterans, but the Switch’s portability alone makes DX a must-buy for dedicated Pokémon Masters.