The 10 best Pokémon games of all time, according to critics

‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’/Warner Bros. Pictures‘Detective Pikachu’ is nearly here. Get ready with some Pokémon gaming classics!
  • Over the past two decades, dozens of Pokémon games were released.
  • From the original “Pokémon Red & Green” to the explosively popular cultural force that is “Pokémon GO,” there are lots of different ways to catch ’em all.
  • But which are best? Let’s see!
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There are a lot of Pokémon games.

The decades-long video game series has spawned countless spin-offs, sequels, remakes, and addendums over the years. But which are the best?

That’s the question we sought to answer with a little help from reviews aggregation site Metacritic. Here are the results, according to two decades of critical appraisal.


One quick disclaimer!

Warner Bros.

We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates/re-releases/remakes on the list (“Pokémon Red & Green” vs. “Pokémon FireRed & LeafGreen,” for instance), we’re using the highest-ranked version of the original game to make room for a handful that wouldn’t have otherwise made the list.

Without further ado, these are the 10 best Pokémon video games of all time:


10. “Pokémon TCG Online”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 78/100

User score: 6.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Have fun learning and mastering the ‘Pokémon Trading Card Game Online’! Practice against the computer or go head to head with your friends or other players from around the world. Unlock cards and decks as you play to build up your collection and make truly unique decks. Your decks and card collection are stored as a part of your Pokémon Trainer Club account, allowing you to switch between iPad and desktop with ease.”

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, iPad, and Android


9. “Pokémon Stadium 2”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 78/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Hundreds of Pokémon in Three-mendous 3-D! What’s sweeter than victory in a Pokémon battle! Victory in a 3-D arena on the N64™! Set your strategy and stand back while your Pokémon battle it out. You can even set the Pokémon you’ve trained – fully rendered in 3-D and ready for battle!”

Platforms: Nintendo 64


8. “Pokémon Conquest”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 80/100

User score: 8.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘Pokémon Conquest,’ players take on the role of a young Warlord who is linked with a Pokémon. Together, they must set out to recruit Warrior allies to strengthen their growing kingdom. Along their journey, players will encounter a variety of Pokémon, as well as Warriors and Warlords inspired by the Japanese feudal era. The game contains nearly 200 Pokémon, including many from the recent ‘Pokémon Black Version’ and ‘Pokémon White Version’ games, which have sold more than 4 million copies combined in the United States. As the battlefield unfolds in ‘Pokémon Conquest,’ players must choose the correct Pokémon type to inflict maximum damage on their opponents. In the turn-based skirmishes, players choose different tactics for intense six-on-six battles, and battle conditions can change on every turn, keeping players on their toes in anticipation of what will happen next.”

Platforms: Nintendo DS


7. “Pokémon Black & White Version 2”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 80/100

User score: 8.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the ‘Pokemon Black & White Version 2’ game, players can explore new areas, discover gyms with new leaders and see how everything has changed in the last two years.”

Platforms: Nintendo DS


6. “Pokémon Puzzle League”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 80/100

User score: 8.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Discover the most frantic, frenzied, fun-filled Pokémon challenge ever – ‘Pokémon Puzzle League’! Line up three or more blocks of the same type to clear them off the screen. Create chains and combos to send garbage to your opponent. Collect badges from other Pokémon trainers to earn the right to enter the ultimate competition … a battle against the mysterious Puzzle Master!”

Platforms: Nintendo 64


5. “Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 82/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The race to catch ’em all is on again in ‘Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire.’ This entry in the Pokémon series features an all-new storyline, awesome new Pokémon, and addictive RPG gameplay. One of the biggest additions to ‘Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire’ is the two-on-two battle system, which allows you to link up with three friends to battle competitively or cooperatively. You can also showcase your Pokémon’s coolness, beauty, cuteness, smartness, and toughness in Pokémon contests. With new Pokémon, two-on-two battles, and an all-new region of Hoenn to explore, Pokémon Sapphire takes the Pokémon experience to the next level.”

Platforms: Game Boy Advance


4. “Pokémon Diamond & Pearl”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 85/100

User score: 7.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Pokémon Diamond and Pearl’ are traditional Pokémon RPGs that takes place in a region called Sinnoh. When you set off on your travels, you’ll be able to play as either a boy or girl Trainer. Pokémon fans have caught glimpses of Lucario, Munchlax and Weavile in Pokémon movies, and these Pokémon are debuting in this adventure. ‘Diamond and Pearl’ utilise the DS’s dual slots to transfer Pokémon from the GBA Pokémon games.”

Platforms: Nintendo DS


3. “Pokémon Sun & Moon”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 87/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Bulbapedia): “Unlike any other main games series, ‘Pokémon Sun & Moon’ begins with a video call made by Professor Kukui to the player. Professor Kukui helps create a Trainer Passport for the player before the player and the mother move from Kanto to Alola. Meanwhile, at roughly the same time, a young girl is seen escaping what seems to be a lab with an unidentified Pokémon in her bag. As she gets cornered by the workers in the area, the Pokémon teleports itself and the girl away from the lab and away from danger.”

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS


2. “Pokémon Black & White”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 87/100

User score: 7.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Pokémon Black Version’ and ‘Pokémon White Version’ feature new Pokémon that players can catch, train and battle as they progress through the game, and some Pokémon can only be caught in one version of the game. For example, the Legendary Pokémon Reshiram can only be caught in ‘Pokémon Black Version’, while the Legendary Pokémon Zekrom can only be caught in ‘Pokémon White Version’. Additionally, the two games feature different areas for the first time in the series, with the game world of ‘Pokémon Black Version’ featuring a unique metropolitan area called Black City, and a lush, green area named White Forest only found in ‘Pokémon White Version’. ‘Pokémon Black Version’ and ‘Pokémon White Version’ also mark the first time in a Pokémon video game that the seasons will change in the game world. Certain Pokémon appear more frequently during different seasons, and players can only access some areas during a specific season.”

Platforms: Nintendo DS


1. “Pokémon X & Y”

The Pokemon Company/Nintendo

Critic score: 88/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Pokemon X and Y’ are the first mainline Pokémon games made for the 3DS and feature a mix of Pokémon old and new as well as a trio of new starting Pokémon – a watery toad Froakie, a fiery deer Fennekin, and a grass monster Chespin.”

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

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