There’s been overwhelming support around Pokémon for nearly 25 years, and it’s proven itself to be a versatile phenomenon and not just some empty fad. The Pokémon series has expanded in surprising ways that have helped make it more accessible to newcomers and non-gamers, but there’s still tremendous reverence towards the mainline series of games.
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet for the Nintendo Switch will kick off Generation IX for the franchise and dozens of new Pokémon for its Paldea region. Some of these new creations are already on Pokémon Trainers’ wish lists, but some of the fresh crop don’t inspire a lot of confidence.
10/10 Smoliv Can’t See The Forest For The Trees
Seasoned Pokémon players are accustomed to the starter areas in each game being filled with extraneous forest Pokémon that are more of a hassle than an exciting opportunity to build up the Pokédex. Generation IX reveals Smoliv, a Normal and Grass-Type Pokémon that is destined to be an early battle for all Pokémon Scarlet & Violet players.
A cute level of anxiety radiates off of Smoliv. However, it also reeks of a basic Grass-Type Pokémon that’s a means to an end and not the type of creature who headlines a Trainer’s party.
9/10 Lechonk Pigs Out On The Wrong Ideas
Lechonk is a tired, chubby Pig Pokémon, which should be more than enough to please audiences. This makes it quite a disappointing blow to see that this Pokémon’s design falls short. Lechonk is the least inspired of the franchise’s various Pig Pokémon and the fact that this new addition is simply a Normal-Type is also a disappointing development.
There’s not enough of a personality behind this Paldean Pig Pokémon to get excited about what it could offer. It feels like an idea that would work better several generations earlier.
8/10 Ceitan Is An Aquatic Creature That Sinks Rather Than Swims
There are nearly 1,000 unique Pokémon out there that pull from all corners of the world, but there’s always been a heavy representation of aquatic creatures. The addition of Ice-Type Pokémon allows for a little more nuance in Aquatic Pokémon, but that’s still not always enough to make a strong impression.
Ceitan is a new Ice-Type Pokémon from Generation IX that bears a resemblance to past seal and shell Pokémon designs. It’s possible that Ceitan turns out to be the start of an impressive evolutionary line, but as it stands, the Pokémon fails to impress.
7/10 The Paldean Wooper Variant Doesn’t Do Enough To Mix Up Its Formula
Wooper is a cute Water/Ground-Type Pokémon that first appears in Pokémon Gold & Silver. It’s become common for the franchise to reinvent old Pokémon through regional variants. Wooper is the perfect Pokémon to experience this change and Paldea’s version of the Pokémon is a Poison/Ground-Type hybrid that takes Water out of the equation.
This is a more exciting blend, but Paldean Wooper’s look is quite lazy beyond a drab palette swap. Considering that the original Wooper evolves into Quagsire, it should be interesting to see if Paldea’s Wooper experiences a similar transformation that also pushes Quagsire to new places.
6/10 Wiglett Is A Lazy Take On An Original Pokémon Classic
One of the most exciting elements in any Pokémon game is how new Pokédex entries can expand upon existing creatures from previous regions. Wiglett is a new Paldea addition in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet and even casual Pokémon audiences should be aware of its resemblance to the original Kanto Pokémon, Diglett.
There’s still a lot about Wiglett to learn, but it’s currently a Water-Type Pokémon that doesn’t evolve from Diglett despite the obvious resemblance. Beyond the silly spectacle, there are not enough new traits to this Pokémon.
5/10 Farigraf Fleshes Out A Generation II Favorite
Girafarig is one of the more memorable original Pokémon to debut in Generation II’s Johto region, but for decades, it’s remained a standalone creature that the series has left alone. Finally, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet return to this classic creature for a new link in its evolutionary ladder, Farigiraf.
Fans appreciate that the series builds upon this Pokémon, but the slightly more aggressive and economical design doesn’t bring enough to the table. It’s entirely possible that a third Girafarig form will also debut in Generation IX, which might be more of a substantial revision to the original.
4/10 Fidough Is A Dog Fairy-Type Pokémon That Lacks Bite
Pokémon received an exciting revision during Generation VI when Fairy-Types were introduced to help counter aggressive Dragon-Type Pokémon. Fairy Pokémon are still relatively rare and there’s a lot of territory to explore with this mystical Pokémon. A Fairy Puppy Pokémon seems like a guaranteed winner, which is what makes Generation IX’s Fidough a disappointment.
The chunky Pokémon is undeniably cute, especially with the whole pastry motif that it also embraces. However, it just doesn’t feel like enough for such a compelling idea. A Fairy Dog Pokémon needs to truly shine and Fidough just feels average.
3/10 Pawmi Doesn’t Do Enough With A Classic Combination
When it comes to Electric-Type Rodent Pokémon, a creature needs to be pretty striking to outclass Pikachu, the series’ beloved mascot. Other Electric Rodent Pokémon have come along, which makes Pokémon Scarlet & Violet’s Pawmi not a totally unique situation — but it’s definitely one of the more forgettable additions.
Pawmi looks slightly like a fluffy chinchilla, which should be a homerun, but the Pokémon lacks flair. It’s entirely possible that Pawmi evolves into stronger Pokémon and this creature is just a tease of greater things to come.
2/10 Gimmighoul’s Roaming Form Can’t Compete With Its Chest Alternative
It’s quite common for certain Pokémon in each game to have several alternate forms as opposed to evolutions. Some especially creative ideas come out of these versatile Pokémon and Scarlet & Violet include an intriguing Ghost-Type Pokémon known as Gimmighoul. Gimmighoul has already connected with audiences and made an early cameo in Pokémon GO.
The Pokémon’s Chest Form is a lot of fun, but the more simplistic Roaming Form doesn’t feel as fulfilling. This version of Gimmighoul lacks the iconic treasure chest, and it’d benefit from adding something else to the Pokémon rather than just subtracting elements.
1/10 Bellibolt Doesn’t Generate Enough Of A Charge
Bellibolt is an Electric-Type Frog Pokémon who would have been a standout back during Generation I or II. Now, the series has just come too far for a Pokémon like Bellibolt to feel as exciting. Bellibolt’s design doesn’t attempt anything revolutionary, and it’s clearly an electrical frog without having to be told as much.
There’s a dopey charm to Bellibolt, but it’s a slow Pokémon that also emits an annoying noise when it’s hungry. It’s not the most calming Pokémon and there’s no need to settle with it when there are so many other Electric-Type options out there.
NEXT: Every Pokémon Generation’s Region & Their Real World Influences