Pokken Tournament DX is an enhanced port of Pokken Tournament for the Nintendo Switch, developed by Bandai Namco and published by The Pokemon Company. It is a crossover fighting game featuring characters from the Pokemon franchise and gameplay elements from the Tekken series.

The original Pokken Tournament drew raised eyebrows when it was first announced. It was a collaboration between two heavyweight video game franchises that nobody really saw coming. But skeptics quickly turned into believers once the game was released. It turned out to be a brilliant mash-up that catered to both casual and hardcore fighting game fans.

DX features the same accessible gameplay mechanics seen in the original. It includes 21 playable Pokemon available right from the start. This might disappoint hardcore Pokemon fans, considering the current number of Pokemon, which stands at 802 excluding alternate forms. But for fighting game fans, the roster size should be good enough. The roster includes four Pokemon previously unavailable in the Nintendo Wii U version, namely Croagunk, Empoleon, Darkrai, and Scizor. Decidueye also debuts in DX as a Switch exclusive, along with Litten and Popplio, a pair of support characters.

Unlike other fighting games, Pokken Tournament features two combat phases. The first of which is the Field Phase. In this phase, you can move around in a 3D arena and mainly use ranged and homing attacks to dish out damage. The second is the Duel Phase, which plays out like a traditional fighting game where you fight on a semi 2D plane. This phase is activated when you approach the opponent and deliver enough damage using close-combat moves. Knowing when to trigger Duel Phase is important because some characters fare better during Field Phase while others are obviously built to dominate during Duel Phase. For example, Machamp is an excellent fighter up-close. When fighting as the bulky Pokemon, you need to trigger Duel Phase as soon as possible to maximize his skills.

Like in the Tekken series, the controls are simple in Pokken Tournament. Each action button is assigned a specific move. However, pressing an action button together with a directional button changes the move, usually into an upgraded version of the move. The game includes a rock-paper-scissors system, which is normally associated with RPGs and strategy games. Basic attacks beat grabs, grabs beat counters, and counters beat basic attacks. Pokemon glow in different colors depending on the type of move they are executing. Green represents grabs, red represents basic attacks, and blue represents counter moves. The fast-paced nature of the gameplay makes it dizzying to keep track of all the colors, though. So sometimes it's better if you just rely on instinct, timing, and anticipation when deciding on what move to make.

Pokken Tournament also has a super meter in the form of the Synergy Gauge. The gauge fills by attacking the opponent. And once the gauge is ready to go, you can activate Synergy Burst, which enhances attack and defense and improves the potency of moves. While the Synergy Burst is activated, you can unleash a powerful, potentially match-changing special move called a Burst Attack. You can easily use this special move just by pressing the L and R buttons together, the same way you would activate Synergy Burst. When used correctly, these special moves can quickly turn a match around in your favor, making them an excellent comeback option. Hardcore fighting game fans might scoff at the idea that such powerful moves can be executed without having to press a complicated button sequence. But for casuals and fighting game newbies, the one-press activation is a godsend.

Non-playable support characters also play a big part in the gameplay. There are 32 support characters in the game, which are divided into pairs. As mentioned, Litten and Popplio from Pokemon Sun/Moon debut in DX. A separate gauge is assigned to the support system, and like the Synergy Gauge, the Support Gauge is filled up by simply attacking your opponent. You can only choose one pair of support Pokemon for each match and you can only use one Pokemon out of that pair for each round. This means you can't individually select support Pokemon and opt for the best ones available. If let's say, you love the support effect that Dragonite brings to the table but find little use for Victini's support effect, then you're just going to have to suck it up. Support effects vary depending on the Pokemon. Some Pokemon launch attacks when summoned while others hand out parameter boosts. As with Burst Attacks, timing is everything when it comes to utilizing the support system.

In regard to new content and improvements, DX is a bit light, especially when compared to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The graphical boost thanks to the superior Switch hardware is noticeable. But the developer could have gone for more, especially when it comes to the arenas, which show their blandness when you look at them in detail. The biggest new feature in DX is the three-on-three team battle. In this mode, you can use each chosen Pokemon in any order throughout the match, allowing you to bring out a heavy-hitter a round earlier if the match isn't going in your favor. The Daily Challenges also add to the replay value and encourage you to use other characters that you normally don't use. The option to watch battle replays to study where you messed up is also a nice addition. But the main selling point of DX is the local multiplayer mode. You can play with real-life friends using only one Switch system either in split-screen mode or shared-screen mode.

Overall, Pokken Tournament DX is an excellent game for both hardcore and casual players. Controls are simple and accessible. Gameplay has enough strategy depth. Roster size is solid, with each Pokemon arriving with distinct fighting styles and move sets. Single-player content should be enough to satisfy you if you don't like playing with other people for whatever reason. If you have yet to play the original Wii U version, we definitely recommend giving this game a try. But if you already invested hundreds of hours in the original, it's up to you to decide whether the new content justifies parting with $60.