Product Reviews

Pokkén Tournament DX Review

Does the deluxe version pack a punch, or are improvements from the Wii U title lacking? Check out our full review to find out – videos included!

Pokkén Tournament was one of only two Pokémon titles to grace the Wii U; less than the four new titles on the Nintendo GameCube and six on the Nintendo Wii. While it sold over a million units (a fair effort given the Wii U’s userbase), the game lacked the updates seen granted to the arcade version, such as new fighters. Only now do we see them in the new version for the Nintendo Switch. But is Pokkén Tournament DX a true improvement over its predecessor, and does it do well as the first title on the Nintendo Switch when considered by itself?

Croagunk doesn’t know (nor care), but you can find out through this review!

Table of Contents


Cutscene showing a Machamp squaring off against a Suicune.

For those not in the know, Pokkén Tournament DX is a 3D fighting game developed by Bandai Namco Games – basically a Pokémon version of Tekken. There’s a few twists added to the usual formula of combos; for instance, three types of attacks exist with a rock-paper-scissors aspect involved, where normal attacks beat grabs, grabs overcome counter attacks, and counters defeat normal attacks. There’s also the two different phases; Field Phase is one where fighters can run freely in any direction, while Duel Phase has characters restricted to moving relative to each other. Landing strong attacks switches you between these phases, and it appears to be an answer to breaking the chance of infinite combos occurring. Ultimately it feels a little awkward but it does add some variety to battles.

Adding to this is a myriad of Support Pokémon which can attack, boost or heal you, and a Synergy Gauge which charges as you attack or collect energy during the Field Phase. This comes with a significant stat boost for a short amount of time, and the chance to perform a Burst Attack – a powerful strike that comes with a fancy cutscene unique to each Pokémon. Overall you have the makings of a solid battling system, and much is centred on Pokémon, with a few creative liberties here and there. Suicune’s Burst Attack involving so much ice, or Scizor seemingly been more of a robot than living bug are instances that stand out, but otherwise it’s sensible enough.

Decidueye dishing out some damage in battle.

Levels exist too for the single player modes. As you use a fighter, it gains experiences and levels. Each level grants a Skill Point that can be spent on Attack, Defense, Synergy, or Strategy (use of Supports), and these add up. They have no bearing on multiplayer modes however.

These features were all part of the original Pokkén Tournament for Wii U release, and nothing has been added in terms of gameplay mechanics beyond some balancing of attack power or the like. Luckily a few modes and bonuses have been added in, alongside Pokémon.