Pokémon is a massive series that spans multiple generations of its main series. In addition to those games from the main series, there are plenty of spin-offs, some from their own series, others so obscure you probably wouldn’t know it’s officially licensed.
Using the player’s favorite pokémon from the main series, these spin-off games are divided into many different genres. In these games there are some gems that easily rival the main series.
10/10 Pokémon Conquest
Going back in time, Pokémon Conquest shows the role of Pokémon in the time of the Feudal Lords. Conquest throws players into the middle of a land of kingdoms that they must fight to conquer. This was a drastic change in the story from previous releases, but it further showed how Pokémon fit into the world’s story.
Players have their own Pokémon and team up with other characters to fight in larger 6v6 turn-based battles. Pokémon grew and grew stronger based on their bond with their Warrior. While it came down to battles fought, it was a refreshing change from the usual EXP system.
9/10 Pokémon Colosseum
Early Pokémon fans were envious of other trainers’ Pokémon and even used cheat codes to steal other Pokémon. Pokémon Colosseum finally gives players the ability to catch the trainer’s Pokémon with actual in-game mechanics.
Pokémon Colosseum also gave us the first 3D battle models for pokémon, which was a big step forward for 2003. This was also the first big narrative step away from the main series, focusing on more narrative than previous games.
8/10 Pokemon Addon
With the action taking a backseat, Pokémon Snap was a much more relaxing way to view and interact with the Pokémon universe. Movement is on rails, allowing players to focus only on looking around and seeing Pokémon in the wild and not just on battles.
This game expands the world of Pokémon, reminding players that Pokémon are more than just tools for battle. Seeing them live in the wild and interact with each other helps give Pokémon more character than just their stat sheets.
7/10 Pokemon Showdown
While Pokémon Showdown isn’t an officially licensed game, it’s deep and big enough to earn a spot on this list. Pokémon Showdown is essentially a huge playing field for you to build any team of perfectly trained Pokémon.
Showdown lets you skip all the training work to instantly get the perfect team of pokémon to battle with. Online play for this unlicensed game exploded in popularity. Being a free game that gives you instant access to any Pokemon sounds like a dream for any Pokemon fan.
6/10 Pokémon Explorers of Time/Darkness
Explorers of Time/Darkness involved a much deeper story than Rescue Team. Featuring the end of the world and time travel sets much higher stakes than previous Pokémon games. This Pokemon game also includes one of the biggest twists in any Pokemon game, making you instantly love a Pokemon you may have overlooked before.
Taking many of the gameplay elements from the rescue team, this game expands and upgrades these systems. With many more pokémon added to this game, you can not only play as new, but also expand and try more team compositions.
5/10 Gale of Darkness Pokémon
A sequel to Colosseum, this game is even more story-driven. Playing as a new protagonist, your goal is to stop the Cipher team and their new secret weapon. While many new ideas are introduced, many of the gameplay and art styles are carried over from the previous title.
While Shadow Lugia does make an appearance in this game, it quickly becomes a staple skin for him. Being able to catch other trainers’ shadow pokémon is an incredibly fun mechanic that we wish would make a comeback. Many other minor changes have been made since Colosseum to speed up the purification of Shadow Pokémon and the battle system.
4/10 Pokémon Red and Blue Rescue Team
The first Mystery Dungeon game, turning players into some of their favorite pokémon. The personality test that decides your pokémon helps you feel more connected and immersed in this world. Being in a land without humans, it was interesting to see what the Pokémon are like when they’re not being used by trainers.
Not only was the base game highly engaging, but the extensive post-game content leads to a game spanning over 60 hours. Plus, introducing a partner right away gives them the entire game to bond over and leaves a lasting impact long after this game is over.
3/10 Pokémon Sky Explorers
Explorers of Sky is the ultimate update to previous Explorers games. While the base story is mostly similar, the additional bonus episodes are incredibly fun and entertaining additions to an already great game.
This update also allows you to choose from new starter Pokémon, visit new locations, and gain access to new shops to help players progress. While many changes are smaller, there are so many that this game can feel like a whole new entry.
2/10 Pokémon United
While many people despise the frustrating mechanics of a MOBA, Pokémon Unite fixes many of those problems. By limiting a team’s ability to snowball a game, this MOBA is repeatedly fun even if you lose.
Pokémon Unite offers plenty of ways to earn coins for new Pokémon and easy ways to pick and master your favorites. It perfectly combines this new style of play with leveling up, learning new moves, and even evolving.
1/10 Pokémon Go
The social moment of 2016 and the Pokémon game that swept the world. This was the biggest AR game released at the time. Giving many fans their dream, allowing them to find and catch pokémon in the real world.
Allowing for real-world exploration and competing against your friends head-to-head is a pokémon experience like no other. Support for this game has continued for 6 years, adding tons of new pokémon and content. It’s always a good time to jump into this game for the first time or revisit it after taking a break.