The Pokémon spin-offs that deserve another chance
Pokémon has had an almost immeasurable number of spin-offs, but which ones deserve a remake or sequel?
One of the great things about the mainline Pokémon games is that you usually know what you’re getting into with every entry. Unfortunately, that’s also one of their biggest flaws.
Sword and Shield were good games but were rather unambitious and did relatively little to shake up the formula. But that’s what makes the series’ spin-off titles so appealing.
Takethe recent PokémonMystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a remake of the original Game BoyAdvance/Nintendo DS title. Rather than training a team of pokémon to become thebest like no one ever was, you instead play as an amnesiac human turned into a pokémonand explore dungeons in a more child-friendly roguelike adventure.
Aside from being a nice change of pace, spin-offs like this allow for a lot more creative freedom when compared to the main games, both in terms of gameplay and story.
While the series is no stranger to more unique experiences, a lot of them sadly seem to have fallen to the wayside, with only die-hard fans continuing to carry a torch for them.
Admittedly, they weren’t all winners, and some don’t really need revisiting, but there are plenty of Pokémon spin-offs that feel like they still have some life left in them, with concepts that haven’t been fully realised or can at least be expanded upon with modern technolgoy.
With the Mystery Dungeon series enjoying a remake that could help revitalise it, here are some other beloved/forgotten spin-offs that deserve a second chance, whether it be a remaster/remake or even a sequel.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. To this day, there is still a demand for Pokémon Snap to get a sequel. An on-rails lightgun game without the gun, players were given the opportunity to take photos of pokémon in their natural habitat.
The Wii U seemed like the perfect console to develop a sequel on, with its GamePad potentially acting as the camera, but it never came to be.
Seriesproducer JunichiMasuda did state in an interview that, should a Snap sequel ever beconsidered, it’d need to have a ‘unique twist.’ If that’s the case, then maybea simple remake could suffice?
With updated graphics, maybe some extra content, and a method of sharing and comparing photos online, Pokémon Snap HD could very well scratch that photographer’s itch, even if it still stuck with the original generation of pokémon.
Thesetwo Wii titles seem to get overlooked somewhat, written off as mini-gamecollections made purely for children.
That’s not an entirely inaccurate description for them, but they at least had the novel concept of real-time battles, where players could move Pikachu around a 3D arena.
The second game offered more variety to the mini-games, more playable characters, slightly more in-depth battle mechanics, and a more intense story (well, as intense as a game made for children can be).
Much like a Magikarp, there is some hidden potential within these games. With maybe a bigger budget and plenty of imagination, we could see a PokéPark title that could be just as appealing to older fans as it is to small children.
Or even maybe rework the idea into a proper role-playing game, much like the mainline titles, only somewhat smaller in scope and with a focus on real-time action than turn-based battles. Especially since Game Freak has said they’re considering experimenting further with real-time combat in the future.
This one’s still fairly recent, so it probably stands more chance of getting a follow-up than some of these other games, but considering how little it’s talked about only four years after its initial release, it doesn’t seem too likely.
The concept of a full-fledged Pokémon fighting game had been a dream of fans since the series’ early days and Pokkén did live up to may of those expectations. It even offered unique mechanics, such as shifting between a 2D and 3D plane, and a nice variety of playable pokémon that were all oozing personality.
It was ripe for DLC as well, but the updated Switch release only saw two post-launch characters. So maybe Nintendo and Bandai Namco were hoping for more of a success amongst the professional fighting game crowd?
Judgingby the game’s content, multiplayer was very much the priority. There was adecently lengthy single-player story mode but it didn’t really boast anythingspecial or interesting outside of Shadow Mewtwo.
A second shot at a traditional fighting game seems worth taking, especially with how popular the genre continues to be. It doesn’t even have to be 3D, as something akin to 2D titles like Arc System Works’ BlazBlue series could go down well with casual and professional players alike.
Pokémon TradingCard Game
Itwas common for schools across the country to be filled with pokémon cards, askids gathered and hoarded as many as they could afford. But very few actuallyplayed the trading card game, at least in real life.
GameBoy owners, however, could play a simulation of the card game on the go. Sure,it functioned almost exactly how the main games do, except replacing the pokémonbattles with card games, but it has a fan-base and arguably served as a goodtutorial for anyone who actually did want to learn the card game’s rules andmechanics.
Aside from a direct sequel that was a Japan-exclusive, there hasn’t been an attempt to virtually replicate the card game since, at least for consoles.
There is the Trading Card Game Online, which can be played on PC or mobile devices, but how about something more like those original Game Boy games, with a story and everything?
Add in some snazzy presentation, in-depth tutorials, online play and some DLC for whenever the game gets updated with new rules, and a video game version could draw in new players.
Possibly one of the weirdest spin-offs in the series’ history, Pokémon Conquest was a turn-based strategy game crossover with the Nobunaga’s Ambition series.
You had warriors based on real-life figures in Japanese history palling around with pokémon. A bizarre sight that managed to receive surprisingly positive reviews from critics.
However, its concept may have been too alienating for some, or maybe it was just because it released so late in the DS’s lifespan. While a sequel is most likely never going to happen, the genre itself is certainly worth revisiting.
Strategy games are a lot more popular on consoles now than they were back in 2012, especially on the Switch, and another Pokémon game could be a good way to get more people interested in the genre and take advantage of the success of games like Into The Breach and Wargroove.
Or at the very least, let developer Tecmo Koei take the series and make a Dynasty Warriors game out of it. Imagine Hyrule Warriors but with Pokémon. Don’t act like you wouldn’t be excited.
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