We reviewed Pokkén Tournament back on the Wii U and found it to be a reasonably good entry point fighter. With no need for stories or adventures, the game goes straight for one-on-one battles. Rather than the turn-based fighting of the original Pokemon games, Bandai Namco's fighter focuses on a different brand of action, and while it may not be quite as fulfilling as the likes of Street Fighter or its cousin Tekken, it is incredibly easy to pick up and enjoy nonetheless.
Pokkén Tournament DX (pronounced Deluxe) is a combination of the original Wii U game and the arcade release, with a few extra characters and game modes thrown in for good measure.
The first new additional fighters are Croagunk, Empoleon, Darkrai and Sizor, which all make their way over from the arcade version along with the Switch-exclusive new character, Decidueye. These are all available from the start of the game along with all the original fighters including Shadow Mewtwo, which negates the need to unlock any characters as you progress through the game. There is also the new support Pokémon, Litten and Popplio, bringing the support roster up to 32 characters, albeit in pairs.
There is a small but noticeable upgrade to the visuals, while docked the Switch displays at 1280 x 720p with a frame-rate that runs almost perfectly at 60fps, making it not only look crisper, but it also runs much more smoothly. It's not quite as sharp and clear while in handheld mode though, a small amount of blurring and jagged edges can be seen during some of the larger hits and the background scenery also seems to suffer when undocked.
Local Battle is now available in Selen Island for you and a friend to enjoy some couch co-op; handily the Switch Joy-Cons can be used in this mode, instead of requiring you to own a second controller. The settings on can be adjusted for players of all skill levels, you can also change the number of rounds and the length of them too.
Split-screen has been added, something we had looked forward to, but ultimately we were disappointed with the way it was implemented. Rather than each player viewing half the screen, the battlefield is marred by a huge border top and bottom, reducing the size down to approximately a quarter of the original screen. This is passable while docked and playing on a 50-inch TV, but while in tabletop mode the screen size is so small, and coupled with the drop in visual crispness, it becomes more difficult to play.
While playing handheld and in single-player mode, the Switch offers you the choice of using the left analog stick or directional pad for movement. While most may find the D-pad best for fighting games, the spacing of the buttons made fluid movement quite difficult and we opted for the stick for more rapid changes of direction. For split-screen and tabletop play the Joy-Cons are perfect for those with smaller hands, but unfortunately most of the time we were using them the button combinations were ruined by fingers hitting nearby buttons. The right-hand Joy-Con was particularly annoying as the + button is so close to two attack buttons it constantly paused the game.
Playing Pokkén with the Pro Controller is pretty much perfect, we spent nearly all of our time using the Switch docked in single-player mode and found that the Pro not only had the best button layout, but it felt more natural for a fighting game than the Joy-Cons (unless, of course, you're using an arcade-style stick).
Wireless Battle is a new feature where local battle takes place across two nearby Switch consoles and it's ideal for tabletop play. It will require both players to own a copy of the game, though. Online Battle, on the other hand, introduces 3v3 team battles, online ranked play, and friend-only group matches. Unfortunately, at time of writing, we were unable to effectively test these modes due to the lack of players on the servers (if there are any issues we will update this text to reflect our experience, although our colleague did get to play these modes during a pre-launch event and everything seemed to be in order). One thing we did note is that if the servers can't find another player it will automatically put you in a standby CPU fight; these won't count towards your online ranking and win/loss totals but do stop you from sitting in empty lobbies.
Overall this is a good port of a good fighter, expanding on what has come before at the same time as utilising the versatility of the Switch. There are a few niggles but most of these can be overlooked, and Pokemon-loving fight fans have every reason to check out this action-packed crossover, especially if you never went toe-to-toe with the Wii U original.