Originally a game with 151 creatures to catch and collect, some big and some small, but still loved by many. However, in recent games, less Pokemon have been introduced. Pokemon X and Y introduced only 76 new Pokemon, and the most recent games brought in only 81. This leads to the questions, why aren’t there new Pokemon in Pokemon games?
The first possible reason could be one that many critics of the franchise have said for a long time now, that being that Nintendo and Game Freak (the developers of the Pokemon games) are running out of ideas for new and interesting Pokemon. In some areas, this could be seen as true, as in previous games, such as Pokemon Black and White, 156 new Pokemon were released, which is the most Pokemon that have ever been added to any Pokemon game since the very beginning, with highlights like an ice cream cone, a couple of cogs coming together, and a living pile of trash. However, this likely isn’t a fault of their own. With so many Pokemon introduced, not every single of them is going to be a winner. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, though. For every boring deer Pokemon, there’s an epic samurai/otter Pokemon that uses shells as swords with blades made of water. For every average pigeon Pokemon, there’s a cool and interesting cell Pokemon that evolves through forming cells together.
Pokemon X and Y, while having only 76 new critters to call your own, had some great additions as well. The first one that comes to mind for a lot of people is Aegislash, which is a possessed sword and shield which were previously used by a powerful king. It has two forms: A shield form, for defensive purposes, and a blade form, for offensive purposes, and it sits at the top of the tier for all Pokemon from the Pokemon X and Y lineup. Another highlight is seen in Talonflame. What once started out as a small, seemingly normal bird Pokemon becomes a fiery falcon with an ability called “Gale Wings”, which allows it to use certain moves before most Pokemon and can almost guarantee it to use it’s most powerful attacks right when it hits the arena. This doesn’t keep it safe from it’s fair share of duds, though. For example, Klefki is just a living set of keys. Pumpkaboo is just a possessed pumpkin. Avalugg is just an iceberg.
So how do Pokemon Sun and Moon fair? Although it has more than Pokemon X and Y, a lot of them aren’t nearly as memorable as we know them to be. A lot the best Pokemon of the generation involve the starters and whatever can make headway in the competitive scene. Examples of this include Toxapex, which is considered the biggest defensive wall in the game with it’s destructive Poison typing, Salazzle, who’s menacing speed and potential to poison anything it touches puts it at the top of the charts. The only exception to this rule comes from Alola’s basic rodent Pokemon, Gumshoos, and the only reason that happened is because of his similar look to Donald Trump. Admittedly, those connections are understandable.
Pokemon Sun and Moon introduced more than just regular Pokemon, though. They also introduced Ultra Beasts, Island Guardians, and Alolan forms, which put cool new spins on old Pokemon. Marowak had its typing changed from Ground to Ghost and Fire, giving it added power and strength in a competitive landscape. Raichu gained a Psychic type, which allows it to levitate and surf around on it’s tail, making the evolved form of the Pokemon mascot, Pikachu, even more adorable. As for the Ultra Beasts, most of them are fun and exciting to search for, catch, and use in battle. Whether you’re using the surprisingly versatile move-set of Celesteela, Harnessing the insane electric power of Xurkitree, or pummeling through enemies with the raw strength of Buzzwole, they dominate not only competitive scenes but stick in the hearts of Pokemon fans. The four Island Guardians are another formidable force, and are all extremely memorable. Tapu Koko is cool enough to compete with Lucario, Tapu Lele has insane special attack with its Psychic abilities, and Tapu Fini and Tapu Bulu can do some great damage while also supporting the rest of their team in big ways. These are all really cool Pokemon to find and catch for your team, but with only 7 Ultra Beasts, 4 Island Guardians, and 18 Alolan forms of old Pokemon, the game still feels a little bit bare of new Pokemon.
Overall, while the Pokemon franchise is starting to run low on a number of Pocket Monsters, it seems like Nintendo and Game Freak are looking for a ‘quality over quantity’ policy, and it seems to be succeeded, even if it’s only a little bit. For now, wait and see what the company has in store for the franchise, and you might see some large memorable surprises around the corner.