The long-awaited sequel to the fan-favorite, Pokemon Snap, is here, after more than 20 years. And to celebrate, I thought it’d be fun to list the top 5 Pokemon spin-off games.
The Pokemon franchise has tons of spin-offs from on-rail shooters like Pokemon Snap to battle simulators and tons of puzzle games. Narrowing it down to five was tough but I did my best and managed to whittle it down to these amazing entries.
5. Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
Pokemon Ranger is a fantastic and underrated game series. It’s a shame that no one really talks about it. All the entries are great, but I highly recommend the second game, Shadows of Almia.
The Pokemon Ranger games are action RPGs where you capture Pokemon by using a DS stylus and drawing a ton of circles around them. It may seem like a silly way to capture Pokemon but the gameplay can be tough. Enemy Pokemon fight back and set up obstacles that can make captures difficult. Shadows of Almia comes with a fun story and great music– making it a DS classic.
4. Pokemon Conquest
I’m a big fan of Tactical RPGs like the Fire Emblem series and Final Fantasy Tactics, so a tactical Pokemon game is right up my alley. Pokemon Conquest is a crossover between Pokemon and the Nobunaga’s Ambition series of games. Conquest is an epic mixture of ancient feudal Japan with Pokemon from the first five generations.
You get six Pokemon and each one has its own corresponding Warrior. The bond between Warrior and Pokemon caused the two to gain experience and later learn new moves and evolve. And just like Fire Emblem, there are a ton of recruitable units with skills unique to them.
3. Pokemon Art Academy
Pokemon Art Academy is a surprisingly deep art simulator with a nice learning curve. I’m really bad at drawing but this game makes it super easy to create beautiful Pokemon art pieces. The tutorial levels teach players at a good pace and it shows off all the tools at their disposal; the only limit is literally your imagination.
Admittedly, the gameplay is limited to just being a drawing simulator so this may not be your cup of tea, but I still recommend it. I encourage you all, if you have the opportunity, to give this game a shot. It’s a great way to destress.
2. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of the Sky
The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series is one of the more successful spin-offs and with good reason. The series goes back 16 years on the original DS and has seven games in its library. As the series progressed, new features were added, but the games have stayed true to their roguelike roots and players explored dungeons and new areas as their favorite starter.
Out of the seven games, I have to give the crown to Explorers of the Sky. Although the gameplay doesn’t change a whole lot throughout, Explorers of the Sky stands out, thanks to its in-depth emotional story and a fantastic soundtrack.
1. Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness
The Nintendo Gamecube was blessed with two Pokemon games that are both great but Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness takes the cake. Pokemon Coliseum has a better story and cooler characters but Gale of Darkness has a much better selection of Pokemon, and with that, better gameplay.
Coliseum has some favorable options but is bogged down by the likes of Ariados, Dunsparce, and Murkrow. And this is a Generation 3 game, so certain evolutions and great moves like Night Slash are missing. Gale of Darkness is much more expansive and has the awesome Lugia as a capturable Pokemon.
Which one of these is your favorite? I’d love to hear what you have to say!