Pokémon vs. Zelda: Which game should you get?

If you are an avid gamer like myself, then you are aware of the fact that Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda are the top three big games on Nintendo😊. While I enjoyed playing Mario, as a kid, I’ve always been consistent in playing Pokémon and Zelda to date. I, therefore, have over a decade’s worth of experience.

Given that the two games are so popular, like many players, I often found myself wondering whether I should get Pokémon over Zelda and vice versa😕. As such, there has always been an ongoing debate among players and fans, over which franchise had a better game. Obviously, this is not a question I can simply answer by picking one game over the other.

That is why I came up with this article 😌. In it, I will apply my vast knowledge of both franchises and my extensive experience playing a great deal of their games to compare the two. Keep reading to understand my detailed analysis and the final verdict I offer at the end of the article.

Pokémon vs. Zelda – How They Compare.

First, however, here is a summarized table of how the two games compare and the differences will be discussed in further detail, later in the article:




Gameplay concept

  • Adventure centered RPG
  • The goal is to become the Pokémon Champion
  • The focus is on battling and capturing Pokémon
  • Action-packed RPG
  • The goal is to rescue Princess Zelda and save the Hyrule kingdom
  • It is more puzzle-centered with many trials to complete.

Game mechanics

  • Fairly static in terms of core mechanics
  • Has more multiplayer features
  • Better saving system
  • More adaptive to new technology
  • Focus on single-player features
  • Better open-world concept


  • Not the main focus of the game
  • Can be repetitive
  • More captivating
  • Involves better twists in the plot

Replay value

  • Higher
  • Lower

What are the differences between Pokémon and Zelda?

Pokémon vs. Zelda
Pokémon vs Zelda. Image source: Pokemon

Being the big wigs that they are in the world of gaming, especially on Nintendo, both Zelda, and Pokémon have a lot to offer. But I must admit, it hasn’t all been rosy, both franchises have had their moments. While there have been impressive ones, there have also been moments of utter disappointment, for example, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and Zelda’s Skyward Sword.

Overall, they both have certain perks that make them great RPG (Role Playing Games) choices. The following are the aspects I think are worth considering when deciding on these perks:

Gameplay Concept

Based on the concepts adopted into the game, the two are completely different. On the one hand, Zelda is an action-packed, single-player RPG. In the game, you would assume the role of the main character Link, and go on a quest to save Princess Zelda and ultimately the Kingdom of Hyrule. Aside from fighting off different creatures and enemy troops, the game is also riddled with puzzles that you need to complete.

On the other hand, Pokémon is mostly an adventure-packed RPG, that mostly focuses on battling trainers and capturing Pokémon. In the game, you would also assume the role of the game’s protagonist and go on a journey to become a Pokémon Champion, by filling the Pokedex and defeating Gym leaders🏋️. Although the game does incorporate combat and a few puzzles in some generations, the main focus is mostly on capturing and training Pokémon.

While both concepts are great, I personally prefer Pokémon’s concept. I feel like it’s more fun encountering and capturing different Pokémon to train them and use them in battle. But that’s just my biased opinion, plus I’m not the best at solving puzzles 🥲. It’s also worth mentioning that the rules of the game are very different. For example, in a lot of grass is highly appreciated whereas in another it’s perceived as quite dangerous.

Pokémon vs. Zelda

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Overall, however, I would say, it’s a tie. Both games have great concepts that present a unique gameplay experience. It’s just a matter of whether you refer to medieval action-filled content or more of an adventure fiction kind of person.

Game Mechanics

The mechanics of a game are also an important consideration when trying to decide the best. Having played both games for the longest time, I’ve always felt that Zelda was much better at adapting its features to new technology and the capabilities of the DS. Pokémon on the other hand has felt fairly static, with its core mechanics remaining the same for over a decade😑.

Still, I can confidently say that when it comes to the saving system, Zelda has yet to reach Pokémon’s level in that regard😌. It has, however, successfully included the open-world concept into its games, giving players more freedom when exploring. Pokémon only recently fully integrated the open-world concept in Scarlet and Violet. Based on the numerous bugs and glitches it was clearly an unsuccessful attempt🚮.

But even so, Pokémon has also come a long way from the first generation, making improvements to its graphics, visual style, and so on. It also has certain perks that Zelda doesn’t have, like multiplayer features. In Pokémon, players can battle and trade online making the game more interactive. In Zelda, however, the game is primarily a single-player game. It only recently introduced some multiplayer features that allowed players to share screenshots and tips about the game.

Even so, I would have to give the point to Zelda in this category. I just feel because of its better adaptation to new technology, it’s slightly a step ahead of Pokémon in that regard.


Pokémon vs. Zelda
Pokémon storyline. Image source: Pokemon

Although some players don’t care for the storyline in a game, I personally think, it plays an important role in immersing me into the game helping me enjoy it more. Therefore, I always think it is an aspect worth exploring when considering the worth of a game.

Starting with Zelda, I’ve always found its storylines to be more captivating with incredible twists. When you compare content like the expansion of Twilight and the conquest of the Sacred realm, to Team Rocket trying to steal Pokémon, it makes the latter look like petty schemes😄.

Even though, like Zelda, Pokémon has side quests in the form of minigames, its main plot is very repetitive. Not much is done to spice it up, although the third and seventh generation was a nice try. Otherwise, most Pokémon games involve defeating gym leaders, the Elite 4, and the Champion, on top of filling the Pokedex😴.

But as I like to say, whereas Zelda’s story can captivate you for hours, playing Pokémon is more of a lifestyle. Besides, the storyline isn’t the main highlight in Pokémon games. It comes out better in the anime.

Still, I would have to say, Zelda is the winner in this category since its game’s storyline is usually more intriguing compared to Pokémon ☺️. But this isn’t a big deal if storylines don’t matter to you when playing the game.

Replay Value

Pokémon vs. Zelda- Which game should you get?
The Legend of Zelda Hub. Image source: Pokemon

In both games, there’s quite a lot to do, especially if you are the kind of player who likes exploring the entire game. You’ll have side quests, mini-games, and post-game content in both Zelda and Pokémon. But at the end of the day, you may want a game you can go back and replay after completing it.

This is where I feel Pokémon shines. With Zelda, after completing the game, there isn’t much else left to do. While you can replay the game, you won’t be getting any new experience unlike in Pokémon 😐. In the latter, most of the mainline games offer 3 options for starter Pokémon. Depending on the starter you pick the plot of the game changes slightly to offer a different experience.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet take it a step further by diving the game into 3 story paths that you can pursue in any order. Each new order you pick changes the experience of the game. If the games had a smoother gameplay experience, they would have been the best ones yet to be released by Pokémon.

So, in terms of replay value, I would have to give the crown 👑 to Pokémon. Given that I can replay the game several times and get a new experience out of it, just adds more worth to its value.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon or Zelda?

All things considered, both games are great, but if I had to pick the better one it would have to be Pokémon. While Zelda has more adaptive game mechanics and a better storyline, Pokémon has greater replay value and I prefer its gameplay concept compared to Zelda’s (but that’s my opinion).

Yes, Pokémon still has a lot to improve on, especially in terms of game features like open-world concepts. But it is worth noting that Zelda is a Nintendo creation, therefore you would expect it to be better adapted to Nintendo devices. Even with that said, while Zelda dominates console devices, Pokémon dominates handheld devices. The ultimate question is which one do you prefer? An action-packed game that focuses on individual players set in medieval times or an adventure-packed fiction set in modern times?

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon or Zelda?

Although both Pokémon and Zelda have a big following, Zelda’s global recognition is nothing compared to Pokémon. Even though Zelda has been around for much longer, Pokémon has done a better job at marketing and boosting its appeal through different media other than video games.

Which is more successful Pokémon and Zelda?

Based on the sales, Pokémon is more successful than Zelda. According to OS Gamers, whereas Pokémon has sold more than 97 million copies on Nintendo Switch, Zelda has only managed to sell 42.99 million copies as a franchise.

Who came first between Zelda and Pokémon?

Zelda came first. The first Legends of Zelda game was first released in Japan in 1986. On the other hand, Pokémon came a decade later, with the first games being released in Japan in 1996.

Which one is easier to play Pokémon or Zelda?

Considering Pokémon is more focused on adventure and mainly designed for a younger audience, it’s safe to say that it is a simpler game compared to the complex action-packed content that makes up Zelda games. However, how challenging the game is will depend on how skilled you are as a player and how long you’ve played the game.

Which one should you play first Pokémon or Zelda?

The order doesn’t matter since both are completely different games and offer a different experience. Play one before the other won’t take away from that experience.

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