Pokkén Tournament Takes Pokémon Battles To A Whole New Level

If you’re a fan of Pokémon and/or fighting games in general, you’ve probably heard of the Wii U’s latest button-masher, Pokkén Tournament. Developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment, the game pulls some of the best elements from their famed Tekken franchise and drops it in a blender with the toughest/cutest (hello, Pikachu Libre!) Pokémon around. We’ve been having a blast getting our brawl on all week, and here are five reasons why.

1. Quality over quantity


At first glance, the roster of Pokémon might seem a tad light, considering there are hundreds of Pokémon to catch, train, and battle with in the series. However, the deeper you get into the game, the more you’ll appreciate how much love went into each iconic fighter that has also been carefully handpicked from the series 20-year lifespan. There are 16 playable characters in total, all of which are faithfully recreated for purists to enjoy and players to kick butt with.

2. Lots of RPG love


Gamers who appreciate Pokémon’s RPG elements should be delighted with Pokkén Tournament’s leveling up system that grants trainers a skill point to assign each time their Pokémon goes up a level after a couple fights. Just like past games in the series, feel free to grind and level up your attack, defense, synergy (a special attack meter), and strategy until you’re an unstoppable fighting machine.

3. Accessible for Pokémon and fighting game fans


One of the game’s best qualities is that it doesn’t alienate Pokémon fans who aren’t accustomed to fighting games, nor does it take things easy in terms of complex fighting mechanics. The first thing you’ll want to hone is your moves, and thankfully Pokkén Tournament has an extensive training mode that starts pretty simple and then gets rather complex. But don’t worry, in the end you don’t have to memorize 100 things to make your way up the ranks—but it sure help knowing about Burst Attacks, combos, ringside helpers, and, most importantly, Synergy.

4. Duelling Phases


A nifty touch that distinguishes Pokkén Tournament from other fighters is its shifting from two different “Phases” during combat. Field Phase allows players to freely move around each large arena whilst firing projectiles or zeroing in for a closer attack, whereas Duel Phase shifts the action to a more traditional 2D-ish fighting style with increased damage. Fighters are also encouraged to initiate a Phase shift via combos in order gain health.

5. Collect ‘em all


Any Pokémon trainer worth his or her salt is big into collecting—everything. Another welcome addition to the game is all the items and titles to unlock by winning battles, purchasing with prize currency, or, amiibo collectors take note, tapping any figure to your GamePad to unlock five random goodies per day. If your short on amiibo, physical copies of the game have got you covered by generously including a Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card, which instantly unlocks him as a playable character.

Pokkén Tournament is available now to take home exclusively on Wii U. Check out the trailer below. Pika!