Hands-on at Gamescom: Pokken Tournament DX (Nintendo Switch)

There’s no way that I would ever pass up the opportunity to play a Pokémon game. I won’t lie, I would’ve preferred Ultra Sun and Moon, but that wasn’t on the table. Pokken Tournament was a surprisingly entertaining game on the Wii U and managed to win over many Pokémon fans. It was a bit of a gamble, and considering its very small roster (when compared to the Pokedex at least), it came off as a little underwhelming before release. Now, an updated version of the game will soon be released for the Nintendo Switch and I’m all for it.

I played a few matches of the game with a presenter as my opponent. Still very fresh to the controls, I was a little hesitant going into it. What I had completely forgotten was that the Switch’s controls can be used for two players. As my opponent took one of the controls away from me, I realised how clever its design was. It’s something I saw in videos and read about, but physically seeing it with my own eyes was like seeing a magic trick. Having said that, the controls were easy, but I definitely needed a little more time figuring out the techniques of the Pokémon.

I immediately gravitated to Decidueye, the final evolve form of Rowlet, the Sun and Moon starter Pokémon. I actually had him as my starter in S & M, so I already had a special bond with him. The movements and attacking was as simple as you’d imagine it, and not to mention vibrant as each strike manages to fill the screen with an array of colours. Each Pokémon has their own type special move and a signature move that can be used once their burst meter is full.

One of the changes that I saw in DX was a battle shift, at certain points during the fight, the camera angle changes from the normally dynamic 3D angle to a slightly static 2D angle. This gives it a very fresh yet retro feel of older arcade games.

My one schtick about the game is that if you’re playing Player 2, then your character starts way on the opposite angle of the screen. This is because the starting angle is behind Player 1. You don’t get the sense that you’re behind your Pokémon and ready to lead it as its trainer. It’s my one tiny quibble. If the match was started in a 2D vibe, then it would be much better in my opinion.

Considering the Switch’s ‘gaming on the go’ vibe, Pokken Tournament DX stands a great chance of becoming a great title to play just about anywhere. With the ability to use your joy-cons for two people is an incredible bonus, and now with Pokémon from Sun and Moon, even more people might be interested in it. Not only that but with Ultra Sun and Moon coming out later this year, there won’t be a shortage of Pokémon games.

I R 'Kaal'gat Kyle!

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