Pokemon Battrio (Arcade)
When I say "Pokemon arcade game," two phrases should immediately come to mind: "Japan-only," and "That's awesome." Pokemon Battrio is one of those arcade oddities that lets you use physical object placement on a game board to affect virtual pocket monster fights. In this case, those objects are little, Pogs-like pucks with Pokemon on top and Pokeball designs on the bottom, including fancy-schmancy varieties like Luxury, Healing, and Repeat to denote puck rarity (two words I thought I'd never combine outside of a fever dream). And here's a fun fact: the name "Battrio" is just a mash-up of "Battle" and "Trio," since all the fights use three Pokemon. The more you know!
Could it be?! An officially sanctioned, downloadable ROM for classic Pokemon games straight from Nintendo? No--Nintendo still hates your guts for all those old games you pirated. The name is just a lame play on CD-ROM; PokeROMs were weirdly misshapen discs of randomly inserted (like trading cards) pieces of crappy edutainment. Excited kids expecting Pokemon-style gameplay were just moments away from having their dreams crushed, as all that awaits on these discs are quizzes about arithmetic, American history, and geography with cut-and-paste assets from the Pokemon anime.
Pokemon Art Academy (3DS)
The DS popularized a number of lifestyle games, including the painterly Art Academy titles. But for all the techniche the games taught, they never dealt with the most important lesson: how to draw Pikachu. Pokemon Art Academy rights that wrong on the 3DS, teaching folks how to recreate the form and figure of monsters from all six generations of Pokemon. Is there anything in the way of gameplay? Thats debatable, but seeing a Snorlax perfectly rendered via stylus is more satisfying than any Trophy or Achievement could be.
PokePark Fishing Rally (DS)
Furthering the assumption that mankind devours Pokemon on a regular basis, here's a game that simulates the act of fishing for Water-type Pokemon, presumably before you gut, debone, and cook them for your dinner. This Japanese-only DS Download Play demo was only available for a few short months way back in 2005, meaning it's rarer than a Shiny Mewtwo. That's fine, because it seems basically just as boring as any other fishing simulation.
The Thieves and the 1000 Pokemon (3DS)
If you're a 3DS owner, then you know that StreetPass games are pretty great--but imagine how much greater they would be with a heaping helping of Pokemon mixed in. Turns out, the Japanese eShop already got one as a limited-time download that earlier this year. This utterly bizarre minigame basically boils down to "Whoever has the most StreetPasses wins." Oh, and it was pretty much all a ploy to get kids in theaters for Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction--which, don't front, would be amazing for StreetPass fanatics.
Pokemon Picross (GBC)
If you're a Nintendo diehard, you probably have some familiarity with Picross, the take-all-the-time-you-need puzzler that involves chipping away tiles on a large grid. If you aren't familiar, it's a bit like Minesweeper, a numbers-crossword hybrid that creates a pretty little pixelated image when you're done. Pokemon Picross was planned as a pretty ordinary addition to the series with a Pokemon accompanying you instead of archaeologist Mario. Despite showing up in Japanese gaming magazines, it never got released--but its legacy lives on in a Japan-only series of Nintendo Power Picross carts. Crazy!
My Pokemon Ranch (Wii)
You know how the core Pokemon games have the PC box for storing your monsters? If you've ever wondered what that would look like with a folksy twist, check out this WiiWare title. My Pokemon Ranch is a virtual home for monsters caught in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Its mainly used as a way to sort through your collection of monsters as you hang out with ranch owner Hayley. Aside from some limited online interactivity, it was basically a screensaver starring your Pokemon, which is valuable enough for most fans.
Pokemon Trozei! (DS, 3DS)
Yes, Pokemon Puzzle League is a triumph in its genre. But why stop at one puzzle spin-off franchise when you could have two!? Trozei (exclamation point optional, but preferred) is the strangely phrased answer to that question: a match-four style block game using disembodied Pokemon heads and playing somewhat similar to Yoshi's Cookie. Like any frenetic puzzle game worth its salt, there's plenty of combo chaining and loud, slot-machine-like sounds to indicate that your score is shooting through the roof. It's all the fun of a modern mobile phone game, with none of the mainstream recognition!
Smell ya later
So now that youve seen the weirdest Pokemon spin-offs have to offer, just what can Pokken Tournament do to up the weirdness? Goofy CGI cutscenes? A guest appearance by Gon? Making Jigglypuff the secret final boss? Let us know in the comments!