Analyzing The New Pokémon Of X & Y
The recent release of Pokémon X & Y introduced
fans to the sixth generation of Nintendo's pocket monsters, bringing the total
roster to approximately 700 billion. Are the new beasts really worth tracking
down? Game Informer's resident Pokémon expert is on the case.
I haven't played either of the new Pokémon games, but I have a long and storied history of evaluating Nintendo's fantasy creatures on a professional level. I analyzed the new Pokémon of Black and White, rebutted Kyle's terrible choices for the best Pokémon of Black and White 2, and have already sized up X & Y's Mega Pokémon. Now that Pokémon X & Y have been out in the wild for a bit, it's time to critique some of the newest entries to see if Game Freak has still got it.
Talonflame is clearly just a hawk, but at least he's an awesome hawk. Not only does he have a great name, but Game Freak has obviously learned the age-old design lesson that flames make everything better. Additionally, Talonflame is classified as a Scorching Pokémon, and one of his abilities is called Flame Body. We get it, Game Freak – the bird is on fire. You had me at "Talonflame."
Official Pokémon Rating (as decided by me): 9
Well, it didn't take long to arrive at the other end of the Pokémon spectrum, did it? Litleo looks more like a stuffed animal than a wild beast destined for Pokémon's cruel gladiator arenas. Litleo is technically a fire-type Pokémon, but unlike Talonflame, he's only got a cute little red mohawk – not quite as intimidating. He's also classified as a Lion Cub Pokémon, which is a nice way of saying he's still just a baby. Unless Litleo is going to cuddle opponents to death, he's not much of a threat.
Official Pokémon Rating: 4
Ahh, now I get it – you have to put up with baby Litleo's worthlessness until it evolves into a Pyroar. Everything about Pyroar is amazing. Its name is one of Game Freak's better puns, it looks bad-ass, and it's classified as a Royal Pokémon, so you know it's objectively better than everyone else. According to the Pokédex, Pyroars can breathe fire in excess of 10,000 degrees Farenheit. I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure that's hotter than the sun. If that's not enough for you, the mane of a male Pyroar is shaped like the Japanese kanji for fire. That's almost too clever for a Pokémon; Game Freak really hit it out of the park with this one.
Official Pokémon Rating: 10,000°
These juxtapositions are killing me; how can Game Freak create something as cool as Pyroar and then follow it up with Flabébé? Classified as a Single Bloom Pokémon, Flabébé is just four inches tall, and has a terror-inducing ability called Flower Veil. According to the official Pokémon X & Y website, Flabébé "clings to a flower early on, and then cares for it for its entire life." How the heck is it supposed to fight when it's preoccupied with caring for a stupid flower?!
Wait, I see what's going on here. This must be another one
of those Litleo/Pyroar situations, where the first form is a dumb weak baby
and then it turns into something amazing. I'm on to you, Game Freak.
Official Pokémon Rating: Setting Us Up For Awesome
Nope. It's just as dumb.
Official Pokémon Rating: Good For Gardening, Not Much Else
Coming Up Next: Things Get Weird...
Now this is how you do a cute Pokémon. Pancham is already my favorite Gen VI addition; despite being adorable, he looks like he's got a mischievous edge to him. Pancham is classified as a Playful Pokémon, which is a good sign that he doesn't take himself too seriously – but he's also a fighting-type Pokémon and has the Iron Fist ability, so he isn't a pushover, either. Pokémon aren't known for their personalities, but I bet Pancham is a ton of fun at parties. Chewing on a leaf is his trademark, which I find a little weird – but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Official Pokémon Rating: Cute And DEADLY
I normally appreciate Game Freak's puns, but Spewpa just sounds gross – definitely not something I'd want to carry around in my pocket. It's not just Spewpa's name that's disgusting; one of its abilities is called Shed Skin, and it's classified as a Scatterdust Pokémon because it spews powder at people when it feels threatened. That might not sound too bad, until you realize the thing is actually a foot long and weighs almost twenty pounds. It's like something out of Naked Lunch.
Official Pokémon Rating: Shudder-Inducing
I'm guessing the design process for Slurpuff went something like this:
Pokémon Designer #1: "Oh
no! Our design deadline is almost here and we've wasted the entire day eating cupcakes.
What are we going to do?"
Pokémon Designer #2: "I've got it! No, wait, that's just stupid. Surely we can come up with something better..."
*Five minutes of dead silence pass*
Pokémon Designer #2: "Cupcake Pokémon it is!"
Official Pokémon Rating: Looks Delicious
Oh brother. I'll be honest, I'm only including Pumpkaboo on the list because it's almost Halloween – otherwise this thing a total abomination. Pumpkaboo is classified as a Pumpkin Pokémon, which raises all kinds of questions: Does the world of Pokémon have pumpkins? And if so, what the hell mated with one to create a Pumpkaboo? Are pumpkins sentient beings in Pokémon lore? What happens when you carve one for Halloween? I don't think I want to know the answers to any of these questions.
Official Pokémon Rating: Product Of Illicit Gourd Groping
Holy crap, this little guy is freaking me out. Look at his dead eyes! Espurr has clearly seen some disturbing sh-- in his life. Espurr is classified as a Restraint Pokémon, as in he constantly has to restrain himself from killing everything around him. Think I'm joking? Here's his Pokédex entry:
"It has enough psychic energy to blast everything within 300 feet of itself, but it has no control over its power."
I would definitely want one of these things on my team, even
if it means living in constant fear of getting mind blasted.
Official Pokémon Rating: It's Still Staring At Me...
Coming Up Next: Game Freak Runs Out Of Ideas...
I don't get it – this is just a goat with some leaves on it. I mean, he looks tough enough, but so do real goats. His abilities are rather underwhelming too; his main ability is Sap Sipper, and his hidden ability is Grass Pelt. On the plus side, Gogoat is classified as a Mount Pokémon, which makes him quite the stud.
Official Pokémon Rating: Name Sounds Like Gogurt
Game Freak is obviously padding out Pokémon X & Y's roster now. Furfrou is just a dog – it's not even a cool dog, it's a dumb poodle. In fact, it's even classified as a Poodle Pokémon, raising more disturbing questions: Are all dogs considered Pokémon in the series' lore? If so, what the hell happens to them when they evolve? Also, aren't we just fighting dogs at this point? People go to jail for that...
Official Pokémon Rating: Where's PETA When You Need Them?
This is just a cheap Pikachu rip-off! Apparently Game Freak ran out of real animals to copy, so now it's rehashing its own creations. It's like a snake eating its own tail. Wait a minute...I think I just invented a new Pokémon: Tailchomp! His abilities could be Spin Dash and Endless Cycle, and he'd be classified as a Regurgitating Pokémon. You're welcome, Game Freak.
Official Pokémon Rating: Not As Cool As Tailchomp
Well, this is a depressing downward spiral we're stuck in. Now they're copying inanimate objects? Unsurprisingly, Honedge is classified as a Sword Pokémon, because – if you haven't figured it out – it's a freakin' sword! You'd think it would at least have some cool abilities, but it only comes with No Guard. What is that? If you catch one of these things, you might as well melt it down and make a toaster.
Official Pokémon Rating: Bottom Of The Barrel
(image courtesy of Bulbapedia)
Are you kidding me?! Klefki is a ring of keys! Someone literally just looked at their table, saw their keys, and made it a Pokémon! The image above isn't even official art, because Game Freak was probably too embarrassed to make any. I'm not even going to tell you what kind of Pokémon Klefki is classified as, because you already know the answer. Just when I thought Klefki couldn't get any stupider, I read its Pokédex entry:
"It never lets go of a key that it likes, so people give it the keys to vaults and safes as a way to prevent crime."
That doesn't even make sense – if you give it your key, you'll
never get it back! Is there no approval process whatsoever for designing Pokémon?
Official Pokémon Rating: It's A Ring Of Keys, For Crying Out Loud
Coming Up Next: Can Game Freak Return From The Brink Of Insanity?
I'm a little torn on Binacle. On one hand, it's not a ring of keys. On the other, I don't see how two puppet hands sticking out of a rock is supposed to be a Pokémon. What's so dangerous about this thing, anyway? As long as you don't stand close enough for it to slap you, you're fine. Confusingly, Binacle is classified as a Two-Handed Pokémon, even though there are plenty of other Pokémon that also have two hands, but aren't categorized as such. Binacle also looks pretty grumpy – then again, I probably would be too if I was stuck in a rock with another moron. Still, those things are more likely to fight each other than an enemy, which makes their threat level pretty low.
Official Pokémon Rating: Why Are You Hitting Yourself?
This poor little guy looks miserable. Skrelp is a Mock Kelp Pokémon, which proves once and for all that Pokémon's classifications are completely worthless. However, despite its appearance, Skrelp sounds like a surprisingly formidable foe; its abilities are Poison Point and Poison Touch. I'm guessing it just appears, leaks poison on its enemy, and then goes back into his Pokéball to take a nap.
Official Pokémon Rating: Needs Therapy
It appears Game Freak isn't completely out of new ideas. Amaura is what the Loch Ness Monster would be if the Loch Ness Monster was also a cutie-pie. Amaura is a Tundra Pokémon, and its main ability is Refrigerate; according to the Pokédex, it's an ancient Pokémon that was frozen for 100 million years. None of that makes it sound like a good fighter, but it would make one heck of an adorable pet.
Official Pokémon Rating: Guaranteed To Make Your Friends Go "Awww!"
Wow! Somebody knows they got it, and isn't afraid to flaunt it. Aromatisse is classified as a Fragrance Pokémon, and its abilities include Healer and Aroma Veil. Based on its picture, Aromatisse ain't exactly lacking in self-confidence, either. While its abilities don't sound particularly threatening, Aromatisse might be worth keeping around in case a battle ever devolves into an impromptu dance competition, which I could totally see happening in the Pokémon universe.
Official Pokémon Rating: Workin' It
Finally, a Pokémon that puts the "monster" in pocket monster! Tyrantum has the coolest classification I've heard yet: Despot Pokémon. It also has the ability Strong Jaw, and is a mix of rock and dragon types. Here's its Pokédex entry:
"Nothing could stop this Pokémon 100 million years ago, so it behaved like a king."
Yeah it did – and rightfully so when it's hanging out with
the likes of Flabébé and Spewpa! Game Freak clearly put every awesome idea it
had for Generation VI into Tyrantrum, which explains what happened with the
rest of them.
Official Pokémon Rating: Jurassic Bad-Ass