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Every Main Pokemon Game, Ranked From Hardest To Easiest

Updated October 14, 2020 217 votes 50 voters 1.8k views8 items

List RulesMain games only (Remakes and spin-offs not included).

Ever wondered what's the hardest Pokémon game ever made? As the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, the Pokémon series includes some of the biggest and most popular games ever made. First released in the States back in 1998, Pokémon Red and Blue single-handedly revolutionized the RPG genre. Now, more than 20 years later, the series is still going strong. And while we've already covered which releases are the greatest, this list ranks all the hardest Pokémon games, with your votes. 

The older generations are often considered some of the more challenging games, but is that simply because the mechanics were still new? While remakes like Let's Go Eevee! aren't included, all the other mainline games are featured. Whether you had trouble collecting all the new Pokémon, were stuck trying to grind your way up to a higher level, or were simply a challenge to beat, vote up all the hardest Pokémon games in the series, and vote down all the ones you thought were a bit too easy breezy.

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  • Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
    Photo: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl / Game Freak

    Generation: IV 

    Number of new Pokémon: 107

    Released for the DS, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl upped the ante in almost every sense, and Platinum expanded upon them both to bring even more boss battles than ever before. The gym leaders usually have stronger Pokémon, and making your way through the game becomes significantly harder as you progress.

    All three starter Pokémon all have their strengths and weaknesses, but being able to take advantage of Starling early in the game helps give you a leg-up on your opponents.

    • Release: 2006
    • Developer: Game Freak
    • Platform: Nintendo DS
    27
    10
    Had a hard time catching them all?

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  • 2

     Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald

     Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald
    Photo: Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire / Game Freak

    Generation: III

    Number of new Pokémon: 135

    Ruby and Sapphire didn't sell as well as Red and Blue (or Gold and Silver, for that matter) but it still has its share of fans. Released on the Game Boy Advance, it featured an entirely new roster of Pokémon as well all the returning favorites. One of the biggest changes these games introduced was the new double battle system, which let parties use two Pokémon at the same time.

    But while the previous games were compatible with each other, Ruby and Sapphire was released on the Game Boy Advance, meaning these games couldn't be linked with the previous generations. 

    • Release: 2002
    • Developer: Game Freak
    • Platform: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 3DS
    18
    4
    Had a hard time catching them all?
  • Pokémon Black and White, Black 2 and White 2
    Photo: Pokémon Black and White 2 / Game Freak

    Generation: V 

    Number of new Pokémon:156

    With the option to play on both easy and hard difficulty settings, the Generation V games featured some of the most memorable battles in the series. In addition to adding a host of new Pokémon, Black and White also sprinkled in a handful of original gameplay features, including real seasons, animated sprites, and a new triple-battle system.

    Black and White tended to deviate more from the traditional platforming elements of previous games in favor of a more traditional RPG format. These games also featured an arguably higher learning curve, as all the new editions meant there were more features to master. Additionally, the emergence of the Challenge Modes made the games even harder.

    • Release: 2011
    • Developer: Game Freak
    22
    12
    Had a hard time catching them all?
  • Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal
    Photo: Pokémon Gold and Silver / Game Freak

    Generation: II

    Number of new Pokémon: 100

    Expanding upon the original games and (finally) bringing the Poke pals into a fully-colored world, Gold and Silver featured many of the same elements as Red and Blue but expanded upon the gameplay and number of collectibles.

    While the linear gameplay is often considered on the lighter side, grinding and leveling your Pokémon was often found to be more of a challenge, which was a small departure from the previous games. Released as an enhanced version of Gold and SilverPokémon Crystal kept many of the same elements but added a few new additions to the mix.

    • Release: 2000
    • Developer: Game Freak
    • Platform: Game Boy Color, Game Boy
    18
    11
    Had a hard time catching them all?