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Hands-on with Pokken Tournament Deluxe

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII wanna swing – from the Chandelure.

Pokken has been around for a while now, first releasing for the Wii U in March 2016. Pokken Tournament Deluxe is an upgraded port of the original game for the Nintendo Switch and I got to try it out at Hyper Japan Festival 2017 in London this past weekend.

I think a lot of people missed out on Pokken the first time it released because it was stranded on the Wii U, which let’s face it, wasn’t the most successful home console Nintendo have ever produced. This new port will be a good excuse for a lot of people to jump in – especially those who saw the original but never got a chance to play it when it first released.

The game is pretty much the same as the original with a few upgrades and some new additions. For those of you that haven’t played it before this is basically a Pokémon fighting game and it’s pretty cool. Battles switch between two modes; one in which you face off like a typical fighter and another in which you can move around the field more freely.

The original roster of Pokémon to choose from came in at 16 but five new Pokémon have been added for the Deluxe edition; Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon, Croagunk, and Decidueye. I played a little with Decidueye (my starter Pokémon from Sun) and I did feel like he brought something to the game it didn’t have before. It’s also great to see more battle animations – it really makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a Pokémon battle.


The game looks a lot crisper. It’s very handsome to look at and all of the Pokémon look great. Their moves are beautifully animated and the Switch really boosts the performance of the game overall.

It does feel a lot more suited to the Switch than it ever did the Wii U. It’s awesome being able to split a joy-con and quickly battle someone else. It’s a lot more fun than playing solo and I never got a chance to play this way on the Wii U because I only had one controller. I can see the game getting a real boost from couch co-op.

I think Pokken Tournament Deluxe will do well on the Switch. It’s not ground-breaking and I doubt anyone will remember it in five years’ time but it fleshes out the console’s library a little and gives Pokémon fans who already have the Switch a way to dip in to the series while they wait for a main series entry.

Pokken Tournament Deluxe releases 22 September 2017.

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