The Fighters of Pokken Tournament

PIKACHUNintendo and Namco have worked together a lot in the past. Namco’s good at making arcade baseball games, so Nintendo had them do some Mario baseball titles.  Namco’s Taiko drum music games were a hit in Japan, so Nintendo had them do Donkey Konga.  And Namco also is known for racing and fighting games, so they helped Nintendo with the arcade Mario Karts and recent Smash Bros. games.  So when Nintendo wanted to make a Pokémon fighting game, Namco was up to the task again, since they are known for fighters like Tekken.  In fact, that’s why the Pokémon fighter is called Pokken, as a combination of Pokémon and Tekken.  So I thought in this blog we’d take a quick look at the game and check out which Pokémon you can play as!

Pokken Tournament is a 3-D fighter like Tekken. In most 3-D fighters, you move on a 2-D plane but can shift to your left and right in 3-D.  You do that in Pokken as well, but there is another phase in the game where you move totally in 3-D.  These two different ways to move are called Phase Shifts, and you change between them by hitting your opponent a certain number of times.  I like it because it keeps the game kind of fresh and not TOTALLY like Tekken, and kind of makes Pokken its own game.

Pokken Tournament has your standard set of modes for a fighter. Since it’s set in the Pokémon universe, you get to create a trainer and unlock outfits and other goodies to personalize him or her.  You can also earn titles like in other fighters such as Street Fighter 4 or Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (I don’t have any of the more modern systems so I don’t know if other fighters are like this).  You also get a female advisor who will give you tips and hints as you play.  You can even choose her outfit as well.  I had to turn off her advice, though, because it got pretty annoying.  And you know that’s saying a lot since I’m pretty tolerant of annoying game characters.  I jokingly called the female advisor my ‘girlfriend’ while playing the game because she only helps you out and cheers you on, and nobody else.

So after you design your trainer, you can try the other modes. There is a fairly lengthy single player story mode about a Pokémon fighting tournament, along with a side story about a mysterious Shadow Mewtwo and her trainer that you have to fight sometimes.  Nothing super special, but it’ll keep you entertained for a while.  You can also level up the Pokémon you use, and boost stats like attack and defense, but I don’t know how much of a difference it makes.  I like how easy Story Mode starts out, but gets gradually harder as you go.  I’m not good at fighters, so at least it makes me feel like I made some progress.  I also like the controls, as they simplified them a bit so newbies and novices can still pull off cool moves, but I bet pro fighters can find a lot of challenge and techniques, too.  But then, I’m not a pro so if that’s not really the case, maybe one of you pro-fighters can set me straight.

Aside from the single player story mode, there is also a Practice Mode with a pretty thorough and interactive tutorial. You can also do single battles vs. CPU, or go head to head with another local player.  And of course, there is an online mode, but I haven’t tried much of it yet because I’m afraid of how badly I’d get beaten!  And that’s Pokken Tournament in a nutshell.  I like it a lot, actually.  It’s colorful and whimsical and easy to pull off cool moves.  Now let’s take a look at the Pokémon you can play as.  Did any of your favorites make the roster?


For the most part, I can understand why they chose some of the Pokémon they did. Bipedal Pokémon with ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ are easy to translate into a fighting game to show punches and kicks.  And Blaziken just looks like it belongs in a fighter, with its fiery kicks and other attacks.  Hard to believe that it evolves from a little Torchic.


Lucario is a veteran fighter, having appeared in a couple of Smash Bros. games. In Pokken, Lucario has a lot of projectile attacks, and he can also summon a psychic spear weapon somehow.  Didn’t know he could do that in the games!


Even if you didn’t know what type of Pokémon this was, you could tell right away from this game that this is a grass type. Lots of vine attacks with this guy.  Also, Sceptile looks like something Godzilla would fight.  One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that when you shift between 3-D and 2-D phases, a meter will fill up and when it’s full, you can go into Burst Mode for a short while which makes your attacks stronger and you can use a special Burst Attack.  I think one of the reasons why they chose the Pokémon they did for this game is that many of them have Mega Evolutions, including Sceptile, that they could turn into for the Burst Mode.


Of course you can’t have a Pokémon fighting game without a fighting-type Pokémon, and Machamp is one of the more well-known fighting types. He’ll take you out with throws and a flurry of punches from his four arms!  He also likes to pose like a bodybuilder when he wins.


As much as I played and covered Pokémon back in my Dallas Morning News days, I’m not as familiar with the newer Pokémon. But just from this game I can easily tell that Weavile is a Dark/Ice type.  He’s a little guy in the arena, but he has lots of ice and slash attacks at his disposal.  My ‘girlfriend,’ er, advisor in the game has a Weavile, supposedly.  She talks about it all the time.


This one’s a long-time favorite, coveted in the card game and appearing in other fighters like Smash. As you can expect, he has lots of flying and fire attacks, and his Burst Mode turns him into Mega Charizard and he becomes blue!


Another one that looks like something Godzilla should fight. This guy looks like a cross between a hammerhead shark and a submarine.  I thought he might be an evolved form of Sharkpedo, but he’s not.  I can’t remember if this is the right one, but brother Jeff said he’s in the game because he’s popular in the anime.  Although he could’ve been talking about another one.  Anyway, his Burst Mode turns him into Mega Garchomp, who gets a lot more spikes and a sharper chin.


I guess every fighting game has to have a couple of female characters in them, and since Gardevoir is a bit feminine-looking, I guess that’s how it got in the fighting game. She uses lots of psychic attacks, and her Burst Mode changes her to her Mega Evolution form, which just makes her look like she has a poofier dress.


I guess this evolved form of Fennekin would be considered the other ‘female’ fighter in Pokken, as her fur resembles a skirt and she has a lot of feminine mannerisms in the game. She fights with a stick with a flame at the end and uses it like a magic wand.  She even rides it like a broom in one of her win poses.  Keeping with the ‘witch’ theme, her Burst Attack has her summon all these bubbles with hearts and notes in them, and sends them to hit the opponent in a flurry of magical fireworks.


It may seem silly to pit cute little Pikachu against all these other brawlers, but since Pikachu is kind of the Pokémon mascot; you know they’d have to put him in here! While most of the Pokémon you can play as are bipedal, they mixed it up with some Pokémon, like Pikachu.  He doesn’t really have any typical punches and kicks like some of the others do, but he’s still fun to use and I’ve played with him the most.  It’s fun to jump in the air and send a Thundershock bolt down to the opponent below.

Pikachu Libre

My brother Jeff plays the newer Pokémon games more than I do, and he said that in one of the new ones, you can dress up Pikachu as different things, and one of them was a wrestling outfit. So they put that in this game, too!  It’s almost as if they had too many move ideas to use for just one Pikachu, because most of Pikachu Libre’s moves are totally different!  I love his Burst Attack!  You just have to see it to believe it!  I’m also glad they put Pikachu Libre in here because at heart, this is a silly fighting game and Pikachu Libre has that whimsical spirit.


Of course this game needed a ghost type, and Gengar is one of the more familiar ones. Gengar’s attacks are pretty unconventional, as you can warp around and attack enemies from all sides, even below them!  So if you want to throw off your opponent, Gengar’s good at that.  Also, I think they picked Gengar because his Mega Evolution form for attacking in Burst Mode is pretty sick!  In his Burst Attack, it shows the opponent falling into Gengar’s mouth like he was plummeting into a nightmare abyss!  Crazy!


At some point I think the makers of Pokémon ran out of ideas. This is a ghost-type Pokémon and I guess they were thinking about swinging chandeliers in a haunted house.  Oooo, spooky! So if you ever wanted to play as a chandelier in a fighting game, here ya go!


Like I said earlier, even though many of the Pokémon in this fighter are bipedal, they did mix things up with a few of the characters, and here’s a four-legged critter. This is one of the legendary Pokémon from Gold/Silver/Crystal I believe.  Suicune has a lot of water and ice attacks, naturally.

Shadow Mewtwo

This dark version of Mewtwo is the main antagonist in the Story Mode. I think you can unlock him for good by beating Story Mode, but if you bought Pokken Tournament during the initial run, you got an amiibo card that you can scan on the Wii U gamepad to play as him as long as the Wii U is turned on.  As you would expect, Shadow Mewtwo has a lot of dark, powerful attacks, and he Mega Evolves in Burst Mode with an attack that reminds me of some of the summons from FF7.


I believe you also unlock regular Mewtwo after beating Story Mode, but I don’t know how he plays because I haven’t beaten it yet. And if I waited to beat it before writing this blog, it wouldn’t be a very timely blog.  I would expect Mewtwo to have a lot of the same moves as Shadow Mewtwo, but Pikachu and Pikachu Libre’s moves are totally different so who knows?

Support Pokémon

And those are the Pokémon you can play as, but there are other ones in the game. They are called Support Pokémon, and you choose a pair to bring with you in battle.  By filling up another meter, you can press a button and call on one of the Pokémon to help you out.  They’ll either attack the opponent or give your character a boost.  I’m not going to go over what each one does, as this blog is getting long enough as it is.  Plus I haven’t unlocked them all yet.  But if you know about Pokémon and take a guess, you’d probably be right.

Emolga & Fennekin

Snivy & Lapras

Frogadier & Eevee

Cubone & Diglett

Jirachi & Whimsicott

Croagunk & Sylveon

Pachirisu & Magikarp

Mismagius & Ninetales

Rotom & Togekiss

Farfetch’d & Electrode

Dragonite & Victini

Espeon & Umbreon

Reshiram & Cresselia

Magneton & Quagsire

Yveltal & Latios


And those are all the Pokémon in the game! Well, there are others that appear in the backgrounds of the stages, but we’re not going to go THAT far into it.  I’m only disappointed that none of MY favorite Pokémon made it in Pokken.  I can understand why some of my favorites aren’t in, as I tend to like some pretty useless Pokémon, like Delibird.  But I also like Wobuffet, and I think that would’ve been a great one to use as a punching bag in Practice Mode, since Wobuffet is basically a punching bag himself.  But my number one favorite Pokémon is Snorlax, and I didn’t see him in the game at all!  And I think Snorlax would’ve been a viable fighter.  He could’ve been like other fat fighters like E. Honda or Rufus or that one guy from Tekken.  I guess there’s always DLC, but I don’t know if Pokken will have DLC characters.  There is room for about four slots that could be other characters, but who knows?  At any rate, Pokken Tournament is really fun and I enjoy it and it’ll probably make my ‘Best Fighting Game of the Year Award.’ Anyway, in the comments section, let me know what Pokémon are your favorites, and which ones you would like to see in a fighting game like Pokken!  Later!  –Cary

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