Pokémon: All The Gimmick Mechanics, Ranked

There are few intellectual properties out there that are popular across literally the entire planet, but Pokemon is one of them. With over 120 games, 19 movies, and a slew of other types of media, Pokemon is probably the most saturated franchise we can think of. Speaking of the games specifically, there have been quite a few mainline games. And in each of them, Gamefreak tried something new, whether it was with the battling, the Pokemon themselves, or new mechanics entirely. Unfortunately, many of them were only around for 1 or 2 games, but some stood the test of time. So let's take a look back at some of the biggest and give our thoughts.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

10 We're Tired Of The Dyna, Mega, And Primal Evolutions/Reversions

This might be controversial, but at the bottom of this list are the new types of evolution. Dynamax, of course, isn't out yet since it's the new feature in Sword & Shield. But it very much seems like a hollow gimmick, and we don't have high hopes. Mega-Evolutions, on the other hand, had the best chance of being something awesome. A lot of the designs were cool and it's a very innovative idea, but they dropped it much too quickly and didn't put enough thought into it. And finally, Primal Reversions are purely a gimmick for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, so of course, they get a bad rap.

9 Rotating Fights And Battle Royales Were Just A Phase

Now we're at some of the battle-oriented mechanics and here's where things get tricky. Gamefreak nails it a lot of the time, but when it comes to new aspects to battle, they don't have the best track record. Rotation Battles and Battle Royales, in particular, are some of the quickest to go.

RELATED: Pokemon Sword and Shield Reveals New Pokemon Polteageist and Cramorant

Rotation Battles showed up in Pokemon Black and White and not much else, mostly because they were just Triple Battles with an unnecessary extra layer of complexity. Battle Royales, on the other hand, were introduced in Sun and Moon, but they were obviously poorly thought out and barely ran at all on the 3DS.

8 Our Pokemon Can Only Eat So Many Poffins To Be Beautiful

Frankly, there was nothing wrong with Pokemon's Beauty Contests, they were a pretty deep and fun extra system when they first released in Gen III. But, they were immediately dropped within the next-gen, only reappearing when their games were remade in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. And, with the Contests, came Poffins and Pokeblocks. These two extra systems were ways to increase contest-related stats in Pokemon like Cool, Beauty, Cute, Tough, and Smart. But, they were a bit too complex for kids and were dropped along with the Contests just as quickly.

7 No, We Didn't Need Even More HM's To Ruin Movesets

One of the most hated aspects since even the original Red and Blue, are the Hidden Machines. These are mandatory moves that a Pokemon needs to learn to help the player traverse the map. Now, some are optional, like Fly, but trying to get through the game without using Fly is torture. Recently, in Sun and Moon, they fixed this issue with the Poke Ride feature, which basically allowed trainers to hit up certain Pokemon on their cell phones to do things for them. But, that's seven whole generations of HM slaves until it was fixed!

6 Z-Moves Weren't The Worst, But Boy Howdy, They Were Not The Best

Z-Moves were another gimmick that was added in Pokemon Sun and Moon, and as far as Battle Mechanics go, they weren't awful. There was a shockingly large number of them, and gathering all the Z-Crystals through the game made discovering the different moves fun. Now, most casual players just used the attack Z-moves, but experienced players dug a bit deeper to find all the changes Z-moves made to status affecting moves.

RELATED: Pokemon Masters: How to Get Power-Ups

Honestly, Z-moves don't need to go, but we can already tell that Gamefreak is not going to keep them around. We'll find out when we're traveling through the Galar region, but it seems like Dynamaxing is the new hotness.

5 We Get It, Pokemon Go Was Popular

The catching mechanic in Pokemon games has never been... great. Sure, weakening a pokemon in order to catch them, that's smart and takes a bit of work. But, throwing the ball itself, and waiting for the ball to settle got incredibly tedious after the 1000+ time we did it. Therefore, even if it's a bit silly, the catching mechanic from Pokemon Go and Let's Go is actually a welcome addition. Sure, we'd love if it was a bit of a deeper system, but hopefully, it continues forward and is polished further in future games. But with how Gamefreak treats their gimmicks, probably not.

4 Berries, Apricorns, And Special Balls All Mixed Into An Overcomplicated Mess

Alright, to be fair, Berries are still a part of most Pokemon games, in fact, in the recent Nintendo Direct, it was shown that they're now essential in creating all the different types of Curry in Pokemon Sword and Shield. But, the Apricorn's were not quite as welcome. This is actually one of the only mediocre/negative things Gen II added to the franchise.

RELATED: Fans Spot Mystery Pokemon in Pokemon Sword and Shield Trailer

It was a good idea on paper, but the implementation of it was just not well thought out. And in future games, their flaws were fixed, but ultimately ended in them becoming blender material for Pokeathlons.

3 Secret Bases And The Underground Need To Resurface

Man do we miss Secret Bases, what a radical idea! To be fair, out of all the Pokemon mechanics (outside from the ones used in battle) Secret Bases have been brought back the most often. Basically, it's a fantastic way to make players feel individual. Trainers can pick specific spots that speak to them personally, and then talk with their friends to see where they put theirs and what decorations they bought. Basically, it added a whole nother social layer to Pokemon. Sure there were flaws, for example, the Underground system added in the Diamond and Pearl generations wasn't perfect. But still, we want it back!

2 Make Every Game Co-Op

They finally did it. After so many years and so much begging, Gamefreak finally added Co-op to Pokemon! And how is it? Well, its garbage. To be fair, for kids, the drop-in drop-out Co-op in Pokemon Let's Go is awesome,  it does the job. But for any fans that are over their teen years, this Co-op is incredibly shallow. Sure, Pokemon has always had multiplayer aspects with battles and trading. But in the current generation of games with hundreds of people per lobby, it's not too much to ask for a multiplayer Pokemon experience! We don't expect it in Sword and Shield, but we know that Gamefreak has it in them to do it eventually.

1 The League Champion Title Defense Is The Best Idea In Years

Swear to Arceus, this mechanic needs to come back immediately. It was by far the coolest thing Pokemon Sun and Moon added to the franchise. And that isn't an insult to those games, they're pretty dang good! But being able to defend the Pokemon League title is such a cool concept that should've been done long before now. Basically, one someone beats the Elite Four and Champion in Pokemon S&M, they obviously become the new Champ. But, when challenging the League again, the player will instead sit on the throne and face a Champ challenger themselves! It's an easy mechanic to bring back, and it really added a lot to a dated concept like the Elite Four.

NEXT: Pokemon Sword and Shield Starter Evolution Leak Might Have Been Confirmed

More in Lists