Pokemon spin-off titles almost always seem to take a back seat to the mainline series. Looking at sales to gauge popularity, the mainline series eclipse the spin-off titles by a sizable margin. It’s not hard to see why. Pokemon spin-off’s have – for the most part – been terrible. No kidding. The vast majority of Poke spin-off are terrible. Make no mistake. They are just terrible! To help my fellow aspiring Pokemon master, who want to experience the vast world of Pokemon games, I have decided to make another Top 5 countdown. As you may have already guessed, this is my opinion on which are the Top 5 Pokemon Spin-offs.
In order to qualify for the list the title has to be a Pokemon game that is not considered a mainline title.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates To Infinity
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
The dungeon series have maintained surprising popularity. Each entry consistently sells over one million copies and there is a strong fan following for the series. Dungeon crawlers are not everyone’s cup of tea and I have to be honest there not my cup of tea as well, but I do find the Dungeon games somewhat enjoyable. From a fan perspective, it’s nice to see the world of Pokemon from the eyes of the monsters. Most Pokemon Mystery Dungeons are similar in structure and gameplay, so I’d recommend the latest entry on the Nintendo 3DS – Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates To Infinity.
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Pokemon Colosseum and its subsequent sequel Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness is the closest games on console that replicate the essence of the mainline series. It’s the sort of Pokemon game you would love to see regularly on Nintendo consoles, but a more refined and polished experience like the mainline series. Pokemon Colosseum is a run-off the mill turn-based RPG with an average plot and even less than average gameplay. It’s solid but not outstanding by any means. The biggest letdown is the small list of Pokemon that you are able to use. The game is too guided for an RPG and a Pokemon game. Regardless, Pokemon Collosseum offers a decent experience for any Pokemon fan looking for their next hit.
Platform: Nintendo 64
I can vividly remember the huge buzz around Pokemon Snap during its release. Back then Pokemon was a global phenomenon with the release of the original games, Pokemon cards and the first movie. Widely considered as a quick cash crab by Nintendo, Pokemon Snap is a simplistic but fun title. It is similar to a rail shooter but without the shooting. Instead you are guided through a number of courses with the essential goal of taking the best pictures of the Pokemon that you come across.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Don’t let the Free-to-play status of Pokemon Shuffle fool you. And don’t be to phased about the game being a puzzler; Pokemon Shuffle is a solid and fun title that is definitely worth your time. Pokemon Shuffle is an interesting take on the connect-three puzzle games. Pokemon Shuffle is a clever mesh between the tried-and-true puzzle gameplay with a number of Pokemon elements (including the level system, type effectiveness and abilities). There are over 100 levels to complete and with an equal amount of Pokemon to capture.
Platform: Nintendo DS
Pokemon Conquest is by far the best Pokemon spin-off game. It’s a game for the most stern gamer, with a strong core design that still encapsulates the heart of Pokemon. Probably unbeknownst to most, Pokemon Conquest is a crossover title between Pocket Monster and the niche Japanese series Nobunaga’s Ambition. In this case, Pokemon benefits from the solid gameplay of the Nobunaga Ambition series. At its core, Pokemon Conquest is a tactical RPG in the same vein as the retro titles like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactic Ogres. To Nintendo fans, it’s fairly similar to Fire Emblem, just replace the typical units with your beloved Pokemon plus the additional baggage like type advantages and abilites. I highly recommend Pokemon Conquest.