Though the Wii U failed to garner much of an audience, it was home to many quality game releases that few played due to the system’s limited install base. Luckily, Nintendo has seen it fit to enhance some Wii U titles and to bring these new and improved versions to the Nintendo Switch. Earlier this year the Switch was graced with the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and now it has been given the honor to host Pokkén Tournament DX. If you are familiar with the original Pokkén Tournament for Wii U, then you know the game is an excellent Pokémon fighter. Switch owners can now partake in action-packed Pokémon battles wherever they see fit; and with new modes and new Pokémon featured, Pokkén Tournament DX is the best way to play this exceptional Pokémon game.
If this is your first time participating in the Pokkén Tournament, the basics of the game are this: Pokkén Tournament is a Pokémon fighting game. In the game’s single-player mode, you will participate in league battles and battle tough opponents with your Pokémon of choice, as you make your way towards becoming the best there ever was. In total, there are 21 Pokémon to select from. Fan favorite Pikachu is available; as well as several new additions not found in the Wii U edition – the new roster adds being: Darkrai, Croagunk, Decidueye, Empoleon, and Scizor. It is worth mentioning that all Pokémon are now unlocked from the start – meaning you don’t have to beat the main campaign to unlock Shadow Mewtwo.
At its core, Pokkén Tournament DX is the same great game as it was on the Wii U – meaning it is a brilliant fighter that will provide countless hours of entertainment. Aside from the new Pokémon fighters, a few new features have been added that allow the Switch version to differentiate itself from its Wii U origins.
New to Pokkén Tournament DX are Team Battles. These types of battles have you select three Pokémon to join your team. You then partake in several 1-on-1 battles and will achieve victory once you defeat all three of your opponents Pokémon. This battle setup offers a refreshing change of pace from the standard 1-on-1 ‘Best of 3 Rounds’ style match. Regrettably, Team Battle is only available in local play. The lack of Team Battles as an online option is a missed opportunity, though one that is hopefully rectified via a future patch.
For local multiplayer, there is a new Split-screen VS. mode. Split-screen multiplayer wasn’t an option on Wii U, as one player would play on the TV and the other using the GamePad. The split-screen works well on Switch, although it comes at a cost. When playing in split-screen VS. mode, the game’s frame-rate will be cut in half and run at 30fps – opposed to the normal 60fps. Even with this sacrifice in place, the game still plays well and shouldn’t be cause for concern.
Local multiplayer can be played on a single screen, with the second player starting at the far end of the battle field. Providing the player with the option of split-screen or single screen multiplayer is a welcome courtesy, as it allows you to decide which method is best. There are three battle types available for local – Basic Battle, Extra Battle, and Team Battle. Basic is the standard type of battle you will experience in the main game or while playing online; meanwhile Extra Battle will have special items appear on the arena during battle.
Another new and notable addition is the inclusion of Daily Challenges. These challenges will put your fighting skills to the test each day, as they offer a range of unique tasks to complete. Each day will challenge you to compete in battles with a certain type of Pokémon. These battles may be a simple as a 1-on-1 or you may be asked to win a couple of battles. Successful completion of the Daily Challenge will award you with Skill Points for Pokémon. The Daily Challenges are a nice inclusion as they provide you with an extra mode to try, and it has you play as a new Pokémon each day. It is a great mode for a quick play session for those instances you have a few minutes of downtime during your day.
In terms of technical enhancements, Pokkén Tournament DX has improved visual quality over the Wii U version. With a resolution of 720p – compared to the sub-720p resolution of the Wii U, the game looks cleaner and sharper when being played on Switch.
Pokkén Tournament DX is an excellent release for the Nintendo Switch. Regardless of if you played it on the Wii U or not, this is a title you won’t want to miss out on. The combat is fun, the game is highly accessible to players of all skill levels, and there is enough depth to the combat system that hardcore fighting fans will be able to dive deep and uncover intricate combos to pull off. The new content, new Pokémon fighters, and convenience of single JoyCon play make Pokkén Tournament DX a great candidate for entry to your Switch software library.
This is a Pokémon game you should choose.
(Editor’s Note: A digital code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.)