There have been many nostalgic franchises for handheld consoles that managed to hold to their timeless reputation. Till nothing was quite as appealing and generation-defining as Pokemon. If you think about it, it’s incredible how the franchise seldom failed with a release. While surprising fans with plot changes and functionality improvements, Pokemon titles always had steady progress and stuck to their traditions.
This is perhaps precisely what makes Pokemon games so appealing for emulation. You can start from any title in the series and still don’t feel let out. Returning to Pokemon titles always feels like coming back home.
So, to help you get back into Pokemon gaming and bring back some of that childhood nostalgia, we made our list of 6 best releases for Nintendo releases, which are also available as Nintendo DS ROMs.
6. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Exploring of Darkness/Time
This game has a unique style that you won’t see in other franchise releases. For one thing, the design is definitely something else compared to what you might have played before. The plot takes place in the dungeon, so be ready to darkness and haunting colors. Due to this special setting, the game has almost a horror vibe to it – and haunting music really adds to the feels.
The game play presents a variation of bright and dark motives depending on the location
The game might feel slow every once in a while, and some fans were missing typical Pokemon’s colorful interface. If for some the title was hit-or-miss, others define it their absolutely favorite Pokemon experience, precisely because of its differences.
Also (and this can be somewhat of a turn-off), this game is challenging. A lot of users can’t pass the graduation level while others find themselves stuck on tricky exploratory missions. If you are an unexperienced Pokemon player, there will be a grind.
Still, the challenges make the result really rewarding. In a way, it’s also like a Pokemon game play academy – if you pass this one, you are basically a pro.
5. Pokemon Platinum
This release is somewhat similar to the previous titles – Diamond and Pearl. It takes the best features of both predecessors and combines them in a unique gaming experience. The game introduced some new mechanics, and the game play became even more comfortable as a result.
Pokemon collections remained basically unchanged which is not the most appealing aspect of the game
The game expanded the game, adding a dark 3D dimension. Although the set of available Pokemon and overall functionality are really similar to those in Diamond and Pearl, the game has its unique contribution to the franchise. Our favorite ones were an improved quest, expanded battle functionality, and a new legendary Pokemon.
Also, the Elite Four in this game is almost undefeatable. The level of difficulty of this game still remains one of the highest in the entire franchise. Granted, those who played Diamond and Pearl versions before might be a bit bored, but overall, the experience is much better than on previous games.
4. Pokemon Black and White
This is one of the most ambitious releases of Pokemon. The developers implemented an absolutely new Pokedex, enriching Pokemon collections to unseen before levels. As if that wasn’t enough, the game also offers entirely new fighting and training systems.
This was the time when we were introduced to a bunch of new Pokemon
Still, Pokemon, as ever, remains loyal to its classic traditions, and many beloved features remained. The interface still has the same typical-Pokemon feeling to it, and even the soundtrack brings you back to the older themes. Still, the game play changes were perhaps the most drastic ever – sometimes you even forget that it’s Pokemon that you are playing.
The versatility makes the game perfect to an experienced Pokemon fan. If you have tried dozens of titles with the exception of this one, you will find plenty of room for surprise.
On the other hand, we would not recommend this game to someone who is new to the franchise. You might get an entirely wrong idea of Pokemon, and it might not deliver that legendary classic experience. Still, it’s an enjoyable ride with missions of A-level of difficulty.
3. Pokemon Conquest
An underrated masterpiece with fantastic world building thought out writing and excellent fighting system. You need to complete the first campaign – and from that point on, the entire new opens.
This is the interface of the main menu where your progress throughout the game is displayed
The player receives access to plenty of new warlords. You are thrown into 33 stories with their goals and differences. The game is supported by an excellent Pokemon emulator online that connects you to the international community., almost entirely bug-free.
Our favorite aspect of the game is that developers removed old Pokemon from old releases, and replace them with 156 new additions. This gives the game a sky-rocketing collection value and makes it very engaging to play.
2. Pokemon Black and White 2
We’ve already reviewed the original title, but the sequel is just so good that it absolutely should make it to the least. Still, don’t fall into the trap of comparing the first and second versions – they are both good in their way. You’ll have a lot of new content compared to the original edition, but the interface and functionality largely the same.
If that isn’t one of the best Pokemon interfaces, then we don’t know what is
All reasons that there were to love the original Black and White release are still present in the re-edition, some are slightly emphasized. The different visual and fighting styles embraced so bravely in the original release, are being explored further, and the second version feels even more innovative than the previous one.
From a technical perspective, the game is almost perfect. You’ll have to work hard to find at least several bugs – the interface and functionality are glitch-free. The core of typical Pokemon experience is fully preserved – all our favorite functionality has remained almost entirely unchanged. The story and game play are one of the best of the entire series. The visuals are amazing and have a lot of cues to the story.
1. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver
This title is proof that gaming and art can easily be the same things. The game combines almost perfect fighting graphics, detailed region design, and chilling soundtrack into a breathtaking RPG adventure. To us, this game was truly unique because of the way it combines all the best achievements of the franchise.
Different location, amazing music score, and elaborate writing – these aspects earn HeartGold and SoulSilver the first place
Some users even call these releases the definite versions of the series. The release combines best Pokemons from third and fourth generations, and keeps the best functionality, too. However, the game isn’t entirely resting on the legacy of previous releases. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver has a lot of unique surprises to offer (only Pokewalker makes this game absolutely worth installing).
The game is perfectly synchronized with previous versions, and just like the classic Red and Blue editions, the world building has a lot of underlying layers. We love that this game can be linked to GBA, although you have to make sure that your remake offers this ability.
Also, there are great online versions of this title out there that allow fighting players all over the world for free. So, no reasons not to try.
DS console has brought an entirely new era to Pokemon, making the experience more versatile than ever. We’ve seen a bunch of fantastic releases that still keep us hooked. The interface, functionality, and Pokemon’s abilities have grown tremendously, compared to old titles. The best part is, despite all these changes, the franchise has remained loyal to the standards set before.
No matter which title from the list you start with, you’ll be able to appreciate the decades of the progress that the franchise made. Even now, when older releases are no longer being officially distributed, emulation and re-editions keep these amazing experiences alive. So, now you know where to start exploring (or re-exploring) Pokemon. You are in for some crazy rides, and sleepless nights, but it totally deserves it.