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A New Pokemon Snap screenshot of Bunnelby with a thought bubble with a question mark inside.
Screenshot by Prima Games

What is the Best Pokemon Game on Nintendo Switch?

So you want to play the very best?

There are plenty of Pokemon games on the Nintendo Switch. We go over the best one overall, and the best mainline and spinoff game.

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What is the Best Pokemon Game on Nintendo Switch?

As of 2024, the best Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch is New Pokemon Snap. For players interested in a mainline title, the best Pokemon game on the Switch is Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

The Best Pokemon Game on Nintendo Switch: New Pokemon Snap

The best Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch is New Pokemon Snap. It’s a spinoff game, so the gameplay isn’t centered around catching and battling Pokemon. Instead, it’s an on-rails shooter—and you take shots with your camera.

Taking photos may seem mundane, but what makes New Pokemon Snap so special is how vibrant and lively the environments and the Pokemon themselves are. Pokemon interact with each other and their environment in a believable and diverse way. The amount of care and detail in each stage is astounding, and it feels like there’s always something new to discover, even if you’ve been there hundreds of times. From Torterra protecting baby Pokemon from an aggressive Dodrio to Beeheyem performing maintenance on a Golurk, the world of Pokemon has never felt so vast and magical as it does in New Pokemon Snap.

The original Pokemon Snap was a fan-favorite title, but it didn’t receive any sort of sequel for over 20 years. The wait was more than worth it, however, as New Pokemon Snap includes over 200 Pokemon in its roster and 15 stages, each with alterations based on your “research level” and whether it’s day or night. You can also customize your photos using an in-depth sticker system to keep the fun rolling. And although the game was brimming with content from the start, it even received a free update that added 20 new Pokemon and a handful of new areas, to boot.

New Pokemon Snap is by far the best Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch, and one of the best Pokemon games overall in the series’s storied history. It may seem odd that the best Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch isn’t a mainline title, but New Pokemon Snap easily earns this designation thanks to its polish and extensive amount of content.

The Best Mainline Pokemon Game on Nintendo Switch: Pokemon Legends: Arceus

If you’re looking for the best mainline Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch, you’re looking for Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Legends: Arceus plays a bit differently from the usual mainline Pokemon game, but that’s exactly what makes it so great.

You can capture Pokemon by battling them, but you also have the option to catch them while they’re on the overworld. You can toss Poke Balls at smaller Pokemon to nab them right away, or you can weaken or lure tougher ones with items first. You can also take advantage of the terrain or use smoke bombs to sneak up on especially rowdy Pokemon—and if you fail, you’d better hope your escape plan pans out, because wild Pokemon can and will fight back against you.

Battling is simplified in Legends: Arceus, with no Abilities or held items, but the introduction of “styles” (choosing between less strength but more speed or vice versa) keeps bouts strategic. Boss battles against Noble Pokemon are also very exciting, combining a “traditional” Pokemon battle with action segments that pit you against the Pokemon itself. Another fun feature of Legends: Arceus is its Pokedex, which requires you catch, battle with, and do other tasks with the Pokemon to complete entries and gives the feeling of really researching them. Other mainline Pokemon games on Switch such as Scarlet and Violet may have the better storylines and battle systems, but Legends: Arceus wins out on exploration and the thrill of catching and discovering Pokemon.

All Pokemon Games on Nintendo Switch

All Mainline Pokemon Games on Nintendo Switch

The following table lists each mainline Pokemon game available on Nintendo Switch as of 2024:

Mainline Pokemon GameRelease Year
Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!2018
Pokemon Sword and Shield2019
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl2021
Pokemon Legends: Arceus2022
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet2022
All mainline Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch

All Pokemon Spinoff Games on Nintendo Switch

The following table lists each Pokemon spinoff game available on Nintendo Switch as of 2024:

Spinoff Pokemon GameRelease Year
Detective Pikachu Returns2023
Pokemon Unite2021
New Pokemon Snap2021
Pokemon Cafe ReMix2020
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX2020
Pokemon Quest2018
Pokken Tournament DX2017
All Pokemon spinoff games on Nintendo Switch

To prepare for Pokemon Legends: Z-A coming to Switch in 2025, check out our list of Pokemon we hope get a regional variant in the game.

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Image of Niki Fakhoori
Niki Fakhoori
Niki’s love for video games encompasses a wide range of genres, but she is especially fond of RPGs, adventure games, visual novels, simulation games, and fighting games. Her favorite video game-related pastime is asking her unwieldy backlog why she doesn’t have any new games to play. When she isn’t playing or writing about video games, she’s playing with cats, journaling, painting, or obsessing over the latest news in the world of stationery and planners.