Pokemon Showdown

This is a great FOSS web-browser game that simulates Pokemon battles with brilliant accuracy with every fine detail covered. An example is that the order that Pokemon feint is made perfect and the loser is the person whose Pokemon feints first.

It has battle animations, battle music and a matchmaking system with ladders for different battle formats (‘tiers’) built in. The game supports many different variation on the standard game played on the most recent iterations of Pokemon (X and Y – XY Battle Spot Singles) and has a format called OverUsed which is the format made by a community group called Smogon which attempts to make the game more balanced.

Other official community variations of the game include OU Monotype (which only allows you to use one type of Pokemon, like the Gym Trainers, Leaders and Elite Four in the games), STABmons (which allows any Pokemon to use any moves that match its type(s) in addition to its usual moves), 1v1 (where one Pokemon must be picked from a team of 3 and the first to feint loses) and Hackmons (where a Pokemon may have any ability and moves in the game).

Also around the game are chatrooms for everything you could possibly think of (depending on the server) which include support for tournaments (elimination and round robin), ranks/auth for moderation and bolding, strike through, declares etc… You can also PM other users and challenge them individually (off the rankings).

As it is FOSS, there are many variations of the base server and client code used on many different servers, the predominant unofficial server being Frost which is famous for its Leagues, many tournaments and bucks currency system.

All in all this is a fantastic, addicting game for competitive Pokemon fans and is FOSS and written in the fairly easy and very versatile JavaScript and so is unlikely to die anytime soon.

Usability: 8/10 (Generally very easy and pleasant to use, nice features like being able to press the left or right arrow keys while in a blank chat box to switch rooms; however the features aren’t always obvious. Most commands are accessed by /help and /[command] in chat which isn’t as intuitive as buttons. You also have to press a rather hidden-away register button to put a password on your account. The team builder is easily navigable by keyboard or mouse so there’s a scope for some flexibility among users there.)

Aesthetics: 7/10 (Rather pleasant with sprite animations and custom-made move animations and battle scenes. The buttons change appearance according to your operating system and browser configuration so that’s variable and there are some outdated-looking parts of the interface like the sprites in the team builder which are static Gen V ones not animated Gen VI. Also you can’t make the battle scene full screen or anything like that. The move animations and battle scenes aren’t fantastic as they are custom-made.)

Performance: 10/10 (There is virtually no loading time for anything at all. Sometimes there is some lag but this is down to the server more than anything else.)

Overall: 8/10 (Some flaws but a pristine example of a fanmade implementation of a commercial game. Will thrill competitive Pokemon battlers.)

Written by Adam.

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