What is Pokkén Tournament DX?
Pokkén Tournament is a fast paced, one on one beat 'em up that lets you take control of some of your favourite Pokémon in high octane, close quarters battles. With 21 Pokémon to choose from, a variety of multiplayer modes (both online and off), and a single player tournament style mode on offer, Pokkén Tournament lets you take direct control of your favourites like never before, as you face off in spectacular battles.
How do you play Pokkén Tournament DX?
A game that focuses exclusively on the battles, Pokkén's fighting system is much faster than anything that's been seen in a Pokémon game before. Flinging you into one of a number of fantastically themed battle arenas, battles will switch between two different fighting modes - Field mode, and Duel mode - when you use certain special moves. Field mode is the initial default, with a high, swinging camera that tracks your opponent, giving the ability to move around a 3D space, providing plenty of scope for dramatic action, while duel mode switches the camera to a more side-scrolling approach, as your Pokémon get up close and personal.
With 21 characters on offer, taking in favourites like Pikachu (and his new wrestler alter ego, Pikachu Libre), along with legendaries like Mewtwo and Suicune, and unusual yet creepy Pokémon like the haunted candelabra Chandelure, there's a reasonably broad base of buff Pokemon to choose from here, each ready for battle. Cuter Pokemon make an appearance as "support" Pokemon, which you can call on to perform a special move mid-battle.
In terms of the single player offering, Pokken Tournament DX offers a series of four leagues for you to work your way up. Taking part in five back-to-back battles against computer opponents, you'll move up or down the rankings depending on how you perform. Make it into the top eight, and you'll take part in a knockout tournament - win the league, and you can take on its "boss" to be promoted to the next league. A "daily challenge" asks you to win a match playing as a specific Pokemon with some special rules in place, adding some extra replay value, while both same console multiplayer (with each player using only a single Joy-Con), and online multiplayer are supported.
How easy is Pokkén Tournament DX to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Pokkén Tournament DX is actually a lot easier to pick up and play than it thinks it is. While the game's tutorial goes into immense amounts of detail about every single facet of the game's battle system, new players should soon feel at home after only a few battles even if they skip the tutorial altogether. With few complex combos to remember, Pokken instead uses a rock/paper/scissors style system to determine which attacks "break through" when you and your opponent attack at the same time. Beyond that, it's a question of choosing to dodge at the right time, and block at the right time, before unloading with some moves to ensure your foe doesn't get chance to return fire.
With the lower leagues offering a pretty easy challenge, and standard battles giving you a choice of five difficulty levels, even button mashers shouldn't find Pokken too tricky, despite how complex its battle system may initially appear.
Pokken Tournament DX is fully subtitles, and almost fully voiced, with only a handful of lines being delivered without voice acting - almost all of which are basically taunts/greetings from other trainers before battles.
Sample sentences include:
- "Beating you right now would make me sooooo happy!"
- "Whoopsie... Looks like you're the one leaving happy! Won't be like this next time, though!"
While it may be a battle game, there's little in the way of mature content in Pokken Tournament DX. Although you'll be facing off against other Pokemon in fast paced battles, with punches, kicks, throws and magical moves all being used, there's nothing in the way of blood, and nothing in the way of realistic damage here, with opponents simply lying down and fading out when defeated.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Switch