Pokkén Tournament takes a lot of what we know from old fighting gaming favorites and sticks them into a blender, delivering a unique take on both Pokémon and on fighting games in general. Sometimes all those ingredients spill over a container that's a little too full - there is a surprising amount to learn beyond the beginner's level, and that may alienate some Pokémon fans without fighting game experience. Pokkén Tournament does do a good job, though, at alleviating this bloat of mechanics with single-player modes to help ease into the action.
It seems destined to be undervalued, but this is a pleasant surprise - a fine fighter that's just about essential for Pokemon fans.
A Pokémon fighting game may not seem like the most obvious spin-off idea, but the end result is a surprisingly fun and inventive multiplayer game.
Getting to punch, kick and burn things as a Pokemon is a delight, but it doesn't feel fair when playing with others.
Pokkén is a fun fighter with familiar Pokémon characters and surprising depth, but it failed to become a fighter I see myself playing for years to come
Bandai Namco has crafted a fighting game that is deep and rewarding, while also being accessible.
Pokken Tournament might not quite be the Pokemon fighting game I've been dreaming of for years, but to be fair my dreams are ridiculously lofty. Despite its limited-by-reality scope, it's the closest we've come to capturing the excitement of animated Pokemon battles in video game form.
Pokken Tournament is fun for a bit, but I'm not convinced that it has any staying power as a fighting game. It's further hurt by its thin single-player mode and limited roster, which hurts its potential with casual fans. As attractive and faithful to the license as it is, it has plenty of room for improvement. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.
To the distraught fighting game purist that would criticize Pokkén Tournament as "not a legit fighting game," I counter with this: Oh my GOD!, could Pikachu Libre get any more damned cute? No! No, it could not. So grab a controller—not a fightstick—and whoop some Pokébutt!
Pokkén Tournament is more than meets the eye, and it would be foolish to judge it just based on the Pokémon name alone. Bandai Namco has crafted a deep brawler that deserves to be up there with a lot of the competition, but some logistical issues specific to the Wii U hold the game back a bit more than I'd like.