Pokken Tournament (Review)


Still unsure about whether or not you should pick up a copy of Pokken Tournament? Well, I hope I can give you some more insight on the game to help you make your decision. In this review, I’ll go over many key aspects of the game, as well as my personal likes and dislikes. So just sit back and relax as I go over the pros and cons of this innovative new fighting game known as Pokken Tournament.

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Welcome to the Ferrum Region

So there are many things to do and places to visit in Ferrum. Lucky for you, Nia (your guide) will be there to show you around. Nia is a big part of this game, she will teach you everything you need to know about Pokken Tournament. However, Nia will give you advice even after you become more experienced. This can become a bit annoying, but no need to fear, you can turn her advice to low, or off test Screenshot 2016-04-08 11-09-37completely. Now you can battle in peace, thank goodness for that! This option is found in “My Town”, you’ll see this located on the main menu screen. But that’s not all you can do there, of course, there are many more things that you’ll want to take a look at in “My Town”.

My Town: This section of the game consists of many different things. You may select your partner Pokemon here, which will assist you in the “Ferrum League”, along with 3 different sets of support Pokemon. This is also the place to go in order to customize your trainer. They have lots of options to choose from, so I’m sure you’ll find something you like. Keep in mind, there are no age options, just like the normal Pokemon games. This is unfortunate, because I’d like to customize my character to actually look like me. It’s kinda weird having to test Screenshot 2016-04-08 11-08-13create a 10 year old version of myself. They really should have given the option of having facial hair, even if the avatar is only 10 years old. After all, I did have a mustache in 5th grade….. But anyways, you can unlock a lot of trainer customizations through battling and spending in-game currency.

There are lots of other things to check out here, like quotes that your opponent can see before a match, and also titles. I suggest taking some time to really look through these, there are TONS of options to choose from.

The other areas of Ferrum that you will see on the main menu involve battling, unlike “My Town”. They’re all really self explanatory for the most part. And hey, if you’re still not quite sure what to do in these modes, Nia will be there to help you out!

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I Choose You!

Now of course, you can’t have a battle unless you have a Pokemon to fight alongside you. Take a look at the image above to see who you will be able to choose from.

I personally love the roster for Pokken Tournament. I think they did a great job adding in very popular as well as very unique Pokemon into the game. Each character has a specific Archetype (Standard, Speed, Power and Technique). This may help a player decide which Pokemon to go with, depending on the style you like to play as. Now even though this archetypes give you an idea of the Pokemon’s style, I’m glad to say that each and every character plays very differently. So for example, Machamp and Chandelure are both Power types. Which means they can deal massive amounts of damage. However, Machamp is more of a melee character as opposed to Chandelure, who is more of a ranged character. I’m really impressed with the uniqueness and creativity of the roster. Not only who they decided to add, but how they all play as well. Now, let’s hope we can get some DLC characters to make things look even better.

test Screenshot 2016-04-08 11-11-08And of course, we can’t forget about the “Support Pokemon”. There are many combinations of support Pokemon to choose from. Each having their own unique abilities to assist you in battle. They also each have their own charge time, so you’ll have to wait until they are fully charged before calling them out to help. When a match starts, you’ll be able to choose one Pokemon from the support set you chose before the battle. You may change your support in-between rounds as well. Make sure you choose wisely, support Pokemon are very helpful and you’ll want to make sure you pick the support set that suites you best.

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Ready for Battle

So you already know that Pokken is a fighting game, however, the style feels extremely unique compared to your more traditional fighters (i.e. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter). Allow me to go over how a battle in this game plays out.

test Screenshot 2016-04-08 11-12-57Field Phase: While in this phase, you will be able to move around freely in any direction as you look for your opportunity to strike. However, there invisible walls, so you will be limited to that extent. But anything within those walls is free rein for you and your opponent. Oh yeah, and every stage has different parameters, so picking the right arena will prove to be very important as far as strategy goes.

Your objective in field phase might not be what you’d expect. See, what you want to accomplish while in this phase is to transition into duel phase. Field phase isn’t really meant to rack up damage on your opponent, that’s what duel phase is for. However, certain characters can deal lots of damage in this phase. So that’s where some strategy and game-planning comes into play. If you’re a character who has strong moves in field phase, maybe you should hold off a bit before transitioning. Now you may be wondering, if a character has strong options in field phase, why would they ever transition to duel phase?

Transitioning Phases: So what is the purpose of shifting phases? Well, when a “phase shift” occurs, the player who initiates it gets a few perks. They can replenish some potential health, gain synergy and also be in good position to start pressuring their opponent. So even if you do well in field phase, it may just be worth it to go for that “phase shift” attack at some point.

test Screenshot 2016-04-08 11-13-16Duel Phase: This is where you will be dealing most of your damage. Once in duel phase, you’ll only be able to move left and right. Your movement will become a bit more restricted, but you will now be able to do combos. There are lots of combos to do in Pokken, complex ones for fighting game veterans, or basic ones for beginners. You can create your own combos, or simply use the ones listed in your characters “move list” section. Once you deal a certain amount of damage to your opponent, they’ll be knocked away and it will transition back to field phase.

syn again 2Synergy and Burst Attacks: Every Pokemon has a synergy gauge, once full, they can go into burst mode. When you enter burst mode, you become a lot stronger. Attacks deal more damage and some special moves gain additional properties, like an extra hit added on at the end. Another ability gained while in burst mode is something called a “burst attack”. Burst attacks are extremely strong, some can be hard to land, but if you manage to pull one off on your opponent, its gonna hurt.

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Final Thoughts

Casually: Pokken Tournament is fun…. really fun, there’s really no other way to put it. I find myself addicted to the gameplay and compelled to unlock the overwhelming amount of hidden content. The main thing I’ve noticed about this game though, is how they created it with fans of the Pokemon series in mind. This game is truly a dream come true for Pokemon lovers like myself. I’m constantly test Screenshot 2016-04-09 13-24-01looking in the backgrounds of arenas trying to see some Pokemon  that I’ve yet to see before. Oh yeah, and let’s talk about the arenas for a second. I’d say the arenas are the highlight of this game for me. They look AMAZING, you can see the attention to detail they put into making each and every stage. Oh yeah, and of course there’s the music, which is also great. There’s nothing like having some epic music playing during the heat of a battle. And before I forget, this game has an opening cinematic intro when you start up the game. I actually was unaware of this the first time i played. I’m so used to games just neglecting all the cool and fun additional content, pokken good jobthat I had no idea to even wait for an intro to play. The cinematic cutscenes, along with everything else I listed in this section, are definitely things that will make casual players happy. Since they didn’t just focus on the gameplay, but the entire Pokken Tournament experience as a whole.

Competitively: Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail here. The reason being, I’m going to do a separate write-up discussing my thoughts and opinions of the competitive side of this game. However, since this is a review, leaving this section blank just wouldn’t seem right. So, I’ll give you the quick version.

Pokken revolves around a “rock/paper/scissors” style system. When I first saw this it looked really cool, and figured it would be a nice touch for the rest of the gameplay. But…. then I realized that, well, there really wasn’t much more to the gameplay outside of this system. Now, of course there’s combos, zoning, playing defensively and all that good stuff. But they simplify it all so much that it just feels like a watered down version of a true fighter. Once again, if you want to know what I mean by all of this, please check back for my post where I’ll go over everything in more detail. But until then, yeah, I kind of don’t really know what to think of Pokken as far as the competitive side of it goes. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose. After all, the game is still very new and it takes time to truly establish a new fighter into the competitive fighting game scene. So yeah, stay tuned for more on this topic.

So there you have it, Pokken Tournament, a brand new and unique fighting game for Wii U. I truly love this game, even if I’m still not sure what to think about it competitively. And I definitely recommend picking up a copy of this game if you haven’t already, especially if your a fan of Pokemon. The game is easy to learn, and like I’ve been saying, it’s fun. And that’s all you can really ask for from a video game, something you can pick up, play for a while, and walk away happy.

I’d like to thank everyone who stayed and read my review of Pokken Tournament. This was a tough review for me because I like so many things about it. But then there are some key things that I really dislike and am not quite sure what to make of just yet. But regardless of all that, I hope you enjoyed the review and took something from it that will help decide whether or not you want to purchase the game or not. Please leave any feedback and or questions you may have in the comment section below. And as always, please stop by AZBros.com again real soon for more things Pokken and a whole bunch of other content too. I’m Lockjaw, and I’ll see you next time!

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Co-Founder, Streamer & Editor at AZBros.com
I've played video games pretty much my whole life. And I'd say I love them just as much now as I did back then. I really enjoy fighting games and I'm always looking for new ones to try. I really like the competitiveness of fighters, and love testing my skills against other players. However, I also like to just sit back and relax with more casual games, too.

Latest posts by Lockjaw (see all)


I've played video games pretty much my whole life. And I'd say I love them just as much now as I did back then. I really enjoy fighting games and I'm always looking for new ones to try. I really like the competitiveness of fighters, and love testing my skills against other players. However, I also like to just sit back and relax with more casual games, too.

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