Pokemon Sword and Shield carries on the dark side of Pokemon

(Image credit: Nintendo)

I still remember the unease I felt as I ventured through Lavender Town in Pokemon Red and Blue for the first time. In the enchanting world of Pokemon (that I so desperately wished was real in my younger years), everything felt so wondrous. In my mind, I believed Pokemon couldn't be seriously harmed – they only faint, right? Well, Cubone and its mother truly changed my idyllic view forever. The ghost of Cubone's mother haunts the tower in Lavender Town, and the Pokemon itself morbidly wears the skull of its deceased parent on its head and cries. The tragic story of this lonely Ground type Pokemon broke my young heart, and it continues to haunt me all these years later. 

As I've grown up playing every version of Pokemon throughout the years, the dark, sad edge to the fantasy of the franchise has remained – be it in the stories told or through the Pokedex entries of certain Pokemon. It's not lost on me now that the entire premise of Pokemon is a little dark in its own way. I mean, it essentially involves you commanding little creatures to fight each other. As unsettled as it made me as a child, I've become more and more fascinated by the dark side of Pokemon as an adult. Growing up, you learn that nothing is perfect, not even Pokemon, and sadness may be found in the happiest of settings, but that just makes the fantasy of it feel more real

When I got stuck into Pokemon Sword and Shield, I was unconsciously looking out for this dark side like a shadow at my shoulder just waiting to appear. And, of course, it materialised as I always knew it would. In the Pokedex entries of the Pokemon native to the Galar region, just like each generation before it, Pokemon with some seriously disturbing or sad descriptions cropped up. Carrying on the somewhat disturbing tradition of previous games, the Gen 8 Pokemon aren't always as they first appear – some have natures, moves, and motivations that make you linger on their Pokedex entries for just a touch longer than you otherwise might.  

So without further ado, I've gathered together some of the most memorable and striking Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokedex entries I came across in the Galar region. Whether that be because of how sad their origin story is, or because of the unsettling vibes the Pokedex entries emit. 

 Impidimp thrives off of negative energy 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Perhaps one of the most obvious new Pokemon that stands out in this regard is the Dark Fairy Type, Impidimp. With abilities like Pickpocket, Frisk, and Prankster, you can already tell at a glance this Pokemon is mischievous, but the Pokedex entries from both Sword and Shield make it all the more unnerving. Impidimp thrives off of negative energy, and will sneak into people's homes and steal their belongings to feast on the negative energy of the frustrated occupants. How cruel. And fancy getting a rise out of stealing people's belongings just to see how upset they get. It thrives off this negative energy by sucking up emotions from people and Pokemon through its nose, too. No, thank you. 

Hattrem will silence you violently 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Hattrem might look like an adorable little pastel creature drowning in an oversized witch hat, but the way it uses its deceptively sweet-looking braids to pummel foes to get them "to quiet down" really gives this Psychic-type Pokemon an unexpected edge. Its Pokemon Sword entry takes a dark turn too. "No matter who you are, if you bring strong emotions near this Pokemon, it will silence you violently." Good grief… you better leave your feelings at home if you're hoping to try and befriend this Pokemon. 

Hatterene will give you a headache

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Hattrem's evolution Hattrene also has some equally disquieting habits. Also known as the Forest Witch, Hattrene will literally tear you apart with the claws on its tentacles if you're too loud around it. In other words, this Fairy Psychic Pokemon has a very low tolerance for noisy neighbours. Oh, and it uses its strong psychic powers to cause headaches to deter anyone from getting too close. How friendly. 

Sinistea is a cold cup of tea possessed by a lonely spirit 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Is there anything more horrifying than a cold cup of tea? I always feel sad when I go to take a sip of my tea, only to realise it's gone cold. As an avid tea drinker, I was very on board when I first encountered this cute little teacup Pokemon, and I hastily caught one as quick as I could. The Pokedex entry did make me warm up to this cold cuppa, but it also left me feeling sad. Sinistea is said to have been born from a lonely spirit who possessed a cold, leftover cup of tea. Where it gets a little more disturbing, though, is that it will absorb the life-force of anyone who tries to drink it. The lonely spirit aspect does tug on my heartstrings just enough to counteract the life-force absorbing aspect. 

Polteageist's tea will give you strong chills

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Sinistea can evolve into Polteageist using a cracked pot, and again, it's best to avoid drinking the tea of this Pokemon unless it trusts you. When this little teapot gets angry, it will launch tea at the mouth of whoever angered it. The tea is said to cause "strong chills if swallowed," which is the last thing you want when you drink tea. Unless, of course, it is iced tea… I need to stop talking about tea.

Dreepy the ghost Pokemon wonders its usual haunts 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

I really like Dreepy, but when it comes to ghost Pokemon, I'm always reminded of the Cubone's mother. The cute little amphibian-looking Pokemon was reborn as a ghost, and is said to wonder about the areas it used to inhabit in prehistoric seas. It's like the little green dragon can't let go of its past, and something innate within it compels it to return to the place where it was once alive. As a Pokemon that's actually quite hard to come by in the Galar region, Dreepy's Pokedex entry immediately caught my attention, and it just feels so macabre since it concerns death and the past life it once had. 

Coalossal incinerates vandals 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

For the most part, Coalossal is supposed to be a peaceful Pokemon. It's essentially just a heaping pile of coal, and it doesn't necessarily look too threatening. But would-be mine vandals better beware. This Pokemon will straight up incinerate you with flames that reach up to 2,700 degrees fahrenheit if it gets enraged by offending vandals who wreck its precious mine. Geez. That's gotta hurt. 

Centiskorch is "excessively hostile" 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Any Pokemon that's described as "excessively hostile" isn't going to be good news for trainers, but Centiskorch sounds like the kind of insect you would never want to find lurking in your bathtub. As a very hot Pokemon, it will launch its entire self at enemies to make them feel the burn. It also has very sharp fangs. Bad news all round. It's easily the most menacing Pokemon I came across in the Galar region.  

Despite this long held tradition, it still catches me off guard when I read some truly unsettling Pokedex entries. Pokemon Sword and Shield is yet more evidence that the Pokemon series doesn't shy away from including a darker streak, and my fascination with it will no doubt continue as the series goes on.

What are some of the Pokemon you've come across in your adventures that left you feeling a little unsettled? And were there any standout Pokemon in the Galar region for you?

On the flip side, check out our pick of the cutest Pokemon from the series. 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.