Throughout the nine generations of the Pokémon series, many different features have come and gone. From ones that affected the actual evolutionary lines of the titular Pokémon to the various gameplay mechanics that you could do, there have been so many over the years.
That said, The Pokémon Company is dedicated to letting go of older features and promoting newer ones as time goes on. Some of the better Pokémon features and mechanics never returned after going away. It is time for some of these to make a comeback, and here are our picks for the 25 best Pokémon features and mechanics that have been missing for far too long.
25. Battle Royale
Sun & Moon came out at an intriguing time in the gaming industry as the battle royale craze was just kicking off. With its own battle royale mechanics set, players could compete in events involving four trainers with one Pokémon each. The battles were crazy, with each trainer getting one move per turn.
In the end, only a single trainer and their Pokémon would remain standing as the winner. The implementation was awkward on the Nintendo 3DS, but the idea was exciting. Bringing this back and adding online multiplayer while treating it as a much more extensive experience with 100 trainers at once, possibly divided into groups, would be extraordinary and chaotic in all the right ways.
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24. Difficulty Options
Black 2 & White 2 showed that it could do more than just reinvent the series as the first-ever canonical numbered sequels. One of the craziest additions that were a one-off in these titles was difficulty options. Like other games, including RPGs, these Pokémon games allowed the user to make the battles easier or more complicated if they’d like.
Without the use of mods and officially supported, these difficulty options, especially the harder ones, were immensely welcome for a series often criticized for its breezy nature. Bringing back difficulty options and having them baked in from the moment you start the game would be one way to show some love to the older fans and those who like to replay the story.
23. Rematch Phone Calls
Part of the issue with some Pokémon games, especially in recent generations, has been how to keep players interested. Sure, raid battles and the like are nice, but what about rebattling NPC trainers you’ve already defeated? This was a mechanic way back in Gen 2, and it is high time for it to return.
The ability to call or even text random NPCs you meet throughout the story and challenge them to matches would be fantastic. Seeing their Pokémon gain levels and evolve would be a fun way to gain XP for your own Pokémon and get more out of the usual storyline without resorting to multiplayer or raids.
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22. Rideable Pokémon
The Let’s Go games might have been problematic and not the best, but they did offer a few intriguing mechanics, like riding your Pokémon. The giant Pokémon in those games, like Charizard and Onix, were so huge that you would ride them instead of having them follow you like smaller Pokémon.
This feature needs to return, especially given that following Pokémon seems to be a permanent feature now. Sure, Scarlet & Violet let you ride Pokémon like Miraidon, Koraidon, and Cyclizar, but it’s time to include other more giant Pokémon simultaneously.
The Underground in Gen 4 never returned outside of the remakes for Nintendo Switch, and that is a darn shame. The massive dungeon area was a gold mine (literally) for online players. The option to run around and catch Pokémon not seen in the main story while exploring a vast cavern with other players was a blessing.
The Underground is the exact postgame content that the Pokémon series is aiming for these days, so it’s disappointing that it hasn’t returned. Being able to take on raids in this area and create home bases to hang out with your friends would be one way to extend a game’s playtime significantly.
20. Triple Battles
Single battles and double battles are staples in the Pokémon series, with double battles never looking like they’ll ever leave. That said, triple battles were a minor stint in the Pokémon series that never returned. Having three Pokémon you can command at once is wild but the sort of chaos that deserves a second chance with the power of modern consoles.
Plus, the return of triple battles could even see modes where you could tackle these notable fights with up to two other players. We already see this in four-player raids, but that is one-sided. Competing with your two friends against another team of three players online would add such an insane strategy.
19. Safari Zone
It’s surprising how long the Pokémon games have gone without the Safari Zone, given how ingrained it is in the series. Dating back to the first games, the Safari Zone represented the special place you could visit for Pokémon not seen anywhere else. It’s honestly bonkers that it hasn’t returned in this era of open-world Pokémon games.
After all, the Safari Zone could be an area on the open world map that unlocks after beating the main story, for instance. This could be where you find older Pokémon or even legendaries that weren’t available before. It could even act as a special area with unique Pokéballs or bug-catching contests for you to engage in.
18. Surprise Trading Eggs
Surprise trading, wonder trading, whatever you want to call it, this mechanic is here to stay as a gimmicky but fun feature. Being able to trade with a random person in the world and be surprised at what Pokémon you receive is incredible. However, one element removed was the ability to surprise trade eggs.
Sure, receiving an egg means you’ll have to run around until it hatches, but this only adds to the shock of what you’ll receive. Plus, chances are, you’ll receive a better Pokémon than the regional rodent or bug since most eggs will be leftovers from someone breeding for shiny Pokémon. You might even end up with a shiny yourself this way.
17. Mythical Pokémon Events
Mythical Pokémon will forever be part of the series, but they don’t receive the treatment they once did. Nowadays, they are just a code you receive and input to get an instant gift. This is far from the olden days when there were entire side quests you would have to compete with and items you’d need to receive to gain the mythical.
It is high time for mythical Pokémon to get the events they once had, especially if there’s a new anime movie themed around it. Instead of just showing fans the story of that mythical Pokémon in a film, let players reenact it in the games themselves with a special event that culminates in them receiving that mythical.
16. Shiny Overworld Pokémon
Another Let’s Go underrated feature was the ability to see shiny Pokémon in the overworld. Sure, some games since have allowed this, but not all of them (looking at you, Sword & Shield). This needs to be a constant feature, not one that is hit or miss depending on the games that come out. Seeing a shiny overworld Pokémon and immediately knowing it is one saves the time of having to encounter every single Pokémon you find.
15. New Baby Pokémon
Baby Pokémon was one of the critical components of the Gen 2 games, offering baby versions of already existing Pokémon that you could only get through breeding and the like. It is a shame that this never returned or became a permanent feature in the series as it breathes new life into existing Pokémon.
This needs to come back, and not only for older Pokémon. There can be entirely new lines of Pokémon that revolve around this mechanic and require breeding to access the baby versions. At the same time, some of the Pokémon in great need of baby versions, such as Kangaskhan and Tropius, could benefit, too.
14. Game Corner or Minigames
In the early Pokémon games, the Game Corner was one way to extend your playtime with fun minigames and the ability to earn amazing prizes like rare Pokémon and moves. While the controversy surrounding this gambling-centric mechanic is understandable, there are likely ways to circumvent this.
Minigames are nice ways of letting players get the most out of games, so it’s time for this to return. For one, it doesn’t have to occur in a clear casino or Pachinko parlor-style place or involve controversial machines like slots. Instead, it can have simple minigames and optional content for players to interact with, leading to fantastic prizes.
13. Ultra Beasts
Though the Ultra Beasts are a sore subject for some, other Pokémon fans adore the creativity and uniqueness of these legendary creatures. Sun & Moon impressed with so many different new Pokémon for you to catch after beating the main story in a tale that was fun and interesting.
Ultra Beasts are aliens from another dimension, so it lets Game Freak stretch its creative muscles and show off designs that are unlike anything else in the series. The creatures have been a part of the games, at least in lore and occasional mention, since Gen 7, so it is high time for them to return with some new ones to catch.
12. Evolutions for Older Pokémon
Similar to the baby Pokémon, there are evolutions that players can and should get for existing Pokémon. Far too many single-stage and dual-stage Pokémon deserve an evolution but never got one. It is about time that TPC makes this feature a permanent one that happens at least once every single generation, if not more.
Some Pokémon that deserve evolution these days include fan favorites like Pyukumuku and Mawile. While we’re at it, where are all of the new Eeveelutions? Eevee hasn’t had a new evolution since Gen 6, and that was only a single one then. It’s time for Game Freak to step it up in this department, especially since it reduces the number of overall new Pokémon it needs for a new generation.
11. All New Pokémon in a Generation
Since Gen 5, players haven’t seen a set of games that feature all-new Pokémon in the main story. There was such a unique joy then and in Gen 3 when there were almost no older Pokémon until you completed the journey. For fans, this was the peak of excitement as it meant a new Pokémon around every corner.
It would be nice to see this become a permanent feature where all new games featured only new Pokémon until the postgame, or you transferred them in yourself. But that would require more new Pokémon each generation, of course. There didn’t have to be the yawn of seeing an old Pokémon you’ve seen a million times before, plus it forced players to flex their brains to figure out strategies around all-new Pokémon they didn’t know.
10. Rebattling Gym Leaders
In the same vein as rebattling NPCs, gym leaders are a crucial part of the main story in a Pokémon game. Since Gen 3, players haven’t seen the option to return to a gym and take on the leader once more, but with changed teams and the like. And, no, features like the tournament in Gen 8 don’t count.
This is especially important as games move more into the open-world format with the ability to challenge leaders in whatever order they’re in, but they lack level scaling. With the ability to rebattle, you can face off against an early leader with a much more significant challenge that truly tests your skill.
9. Secret Bases
Part of traveling the region is visiting new sights and sounds, but sometimes you need a familiar place to rest and call home. Secret bases were just that, and it has been far too long since they last appeared in the games. They let you have great customization for your base to show off to your friends online.
If secret bases return, it would be nice to see them turn into a full-on house that you could customize from top to bottom and spend time with your friends. Perhaps you could even turn it into a pseudo-gym like before and set up NPCs for your friends to take on before confronting you as the final boss.
8. Sequel Games
Black 2 & White 2 shouldn’t be the only attempts to make sequel Pokémon games. With the era of DLC, the series is now in; it almost nips that idea in the bud for good. That’s a misstep, though, since the Gen 5 sequels allowed players to revisit the Unova region and see it brand-newly.
There were new eras, changed situations, and follow-ups to the previous storyline. While DLC is welcome and should continue, maybe it is time for a new spin-off experience to be the true sequel to every generation, much like what Pokémon Legends Arceus did for prequels.
7. Multiple Evil Teams
The evil teams in Pokémon games are almost a joke at this point, nowhere near the evil nature that they once had. Part of this lies in the fact that they are throwaway villains that typically distract from the real enemies in the region. One way to solve this problem is to bring back multiple evil teams.
Scarlet & Violet had the potential to do this with possible past and future-themed evil teams, but The Pokémon Company missed that opportunity. Bring back version-exclusive villains that could come together in a potential third version or sequel game. This adds immense value to replayability and buying the other Pokémon game from that generation while enhancing the overall plot.
6. Legendary Evolution
It is a shame that Cosmog and its evolution line remain the only legendary Pokémon evolution line in the entire series history. Even a Pokémon like Manaphy gives birth to Phione eggs but doesn’t evolve from them. There is so much underlying potential in doing this method.
For one, there could even be some games that feature you receiving the legendary baby Pokémon near the start of the game and having it part of your primary team the entire time, leading up to its story-based final evolution near the end of your journey. This would create a bond unlike any other with the legendary box art Pokémon.
Scarlet & Violet controversially got rid of one of the best and most essential features in the entire series: breeding. Ever since Gen 2, every mainline game allowed for this necessary feature. Getting rid of it was a mistake, and the replacement wasn’t worth the removal, either.
Breeding needs to come back in the future and never leave again. Breeding is far too crucial for quickly obtaining eggs to trade with others and for shiny hunting.
4. Battle Frontier
One of the most outstanding postgame content of all time is the Battle Frontier. It was like having more Pokémon gyms to visit, each with its unique gimmicks. There has been no endgame content like this ever since, and it is time for that to change. The Battle Frontier needs to make a comeback and in the grandest way possible with the ability to complete it with friends.
Have a Frontier facility that has to do with double battles? Let players team up with a friend online to complete it.
3. Pokémon Contests
Pokémon Contests showed that battles didn’t have to involve directly attacking your opponents but could let you show your artistic side with fashion shows and dance sequences. Contests also felt like a full-on side mode to the gym leader challenge players typically took on in the main story.
Fleshing out Contests into its optional campaign, complete with many different event centers in different cities and a storyline with rivals to compete against, would be one way to add to the sometimes short Pokémon main stories.
2. Mega Evolution
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the most popular and best battle gimmick to never return to the Pokémon series: Mega Evolution. The ability for a temporary ultimate or even fourth-stage evolution freshened up older Pokémon that would never see an enhanced form of them.
The Pokémon community adores Mega Evolution for a reason, and it is high time for it to make its long-awaited return with many new temporary evolutions for Pokémon. At the same time, this return must be for good without ever leaving again. There’s no reason the series can’t include new battle gimmicks for each generation and this one simultaneously.
1. Multiple Regions
The greatest twist in the entire Pokémon series was in Gen 2 when players were allowed to visit the Kanto region after beating the Johto story. Still, to this day, no other generation features more than one region in a single title. Not every game has to feature this, but it must come back at least once more.
The greatest way to pay homage to Gen 2 would be to feature a Pokémon game in Japan once more, such as in the Okinawa prefecture. As a twist at the end of the main story, perhaps players could visit Johto and have a nice callback to what the series did so many generations before.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.