Pokemon is regarded as a series that sticks to the same formula for its games. Since Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow released in the ’90s, Pokemon mostly stands by the notion of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” The series has handled massive success over 20 years, largely doing the same thing. That being said, the series has experimented with certain mechanics to adjust the gameplay between generations.
Some mechanics stick around for multiple games, while others are pitched after one journey. All of these entries helped make the games they appear in a better experience. Here are the best mechanics in the mainline Pokemon games.
The Best Pokemon Mechanics
Trading Pokemon (All Pokemon games)
One of the most exciting aspects of Pokemon is trading monsters between trainers. Back when the games debuted, there was no access to the internet. To trade, you needed two Gameboys, with two copies of Pokemon, and a link cable to connect the two. Now with the internet, you can trade whenever and wherever. Back in the day, it was a rare occasion and an exciting time to trade Pokemon between friends (or with your extra copy of the game).
Your Pokemon Follows You (Pokemon Yellow)
One of the coolest updates to come from the mini-update from Blue and Red to Yellow was Pikachu following you in the open world. In Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, you can choose a pokemon to follow you outside of its ball. Some you could even ride like Arcanine and Snorlax.
Pokemon following you around in the open world was a great way to make you feel closer with your pokemon. It was a new way to use them outside of battles and should be a standard feature in every Pokemon game.
Pokemon Appear in the Wild (Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu)
Another great aspect of Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee were the wild pokemon in the open world. Since the beginning, Pokemon has relied on random encounters in tall grass areas. If you wanted to catch a specific pokemon, you went to a certain area and relied on RNG to give you the matchup you were looking for.
In Let’s Go, you could see the pokemon in the open and choose which ones to battle. It was a change that quite a few people were disappointed to see not make a return in Sword and Shield.
Multiple Regions to Explore (Pokemon Crystal, Gold, and Silver)
In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, once you defeated the Elite Four in Johto region, you could travel to Kanto and take on the gyms and Elite Four there. This made the second generation of games feel like two games in one. Fans of the first games could get Pokemon exclusive to the area and even battle Red, the protagonist of the first games.
HMs No Longer Being Moves (Pokemon Sun and Moon)
HMs were a mechanic in Pokemon that stayed way too long for its good. These were moves like TMs that you taught to a Pokemon of your choice. These moves were made for use in the outside world. Cut for small trees, flash for dark areas, surf for crossing water, and more.
The uses are fine; the problem comes in the fact that the move cannot be forgotten. If the pokemon in your party couldn’t learn the move, you were stuck putting a pokemon you didn’t want in the party. The transition to no longer needing HMs was too slow, and hopefully, we will not see them again.
Type Differences (All Pokemon games)
Type differences have added an element of strategy to the game. Try to imagine Pokemon without the “it’s super effective!” line. It’s as synonymous with the series as evolutions are. Imagine how boring it would be to have only normal type pokemon fighting each other. Type differences keep the game fresh as an underrated basic mechanic of the game.
Mega Evolutions (Pokemon X and Y)
Mega evolutions are a twist on the classic evolution formula. Until X and Y, evolutions were always permanent. It has always been the natural path your Pokemon took as it slowly became stronger.
Mega evolution is the quicker power-up to finish out your battles. The change is not permanent but always feels worth it. It changes your pokemon’s look for the rest of the battle as well as gives you new moves. Mega evolution is the little boost that can push you to victory at a moment’s notice.
Weather Effects on Battles (Pokemon Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire)
While weather effects technically debuted in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, it wasn’t until Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald that the environment weather directly impacted battles.
Before, the moves Rainy Day or Sandstorm would affect battles for five turns. Now, the area you are in can give boosts depending on the type you use. For example, if it’s sunny, grass pokemon have an attack boost. The weather effects are another aspect to take into consideration in your battles.
Double Battles (Pokemon Emerald)
What’s better than battling with one pokemon? Battling with two pokemon! When you walk past two trainers standing by each other, you will enter a two versus two battle.
Admittedly there are no big differences aside from the number of pokemon on the field, but it is always fun seeing the common core of Pokemon change even if only a little.