Pokémon Design Ranking, Generation 8 (Initial)
There's a new Pokémon game, and this time that means new Pokémon, and I feel like I should review the designs of Generation 8, just happening to finish this right before I've borrowed a copy of Sword to see if there's any fuss to fuss about. Regardless of how that goes, if I can still like one thing about the series, I'll go with the monsters themselves, even if all the games from the one before this one on leave a bunch out. To try to give the designs a fair chance, I'll have to see them in motion given the whole everything using models thing with the tendency for "default" resting poses, plus if I get to find any official 2D art I'll factor that as well. Of course, since this counts as spoilers for Pokémon Sword and Shield, anyone wanting to avoid those should probably get to a point where they know about all the new monsters on their own accord before continuing to read.
I'm going to rank these on a scale of 1-5, higher being better.
5: Love it, new favorite to add to the many
4: Like it, nice design which appeals to me
3: Fine, middle of the road, not great or bad but just average
2: Dislike it, doesn't sit well for some reason but not the worst either
1: Loathe it, just don't make me catch one unless I'm dead set on completing a Dex
I'm also not going to look at Gigantamax forms at this time, but I'll take a look at regional forms. Shouldn't bear repeating but the following is my opinion at the moment and it can change.
First as usual would be the starters, and as always it's Grass, Fire, and Water, in that order.
It's a monkey. This monkey is Grass and has a stick for drumming. Cute as a starter, but I haven't typically gone for monkey character designs.
The way this taller Grookey looks, I thought it was a Shiny, but apparently not because there's an actual Shiny that's more different. This time the monkey is taller and has two sticks. That's mainly it.
A big hairy gorilla, with extra hair, that just has a tree drum thing now. Actually pretty cool design, but nothing I'd jump at. I just haven't been into the monkey designs much.
A cute bunny, but covered in bandages and involves a bunch of kicking to scare everyone into thinking it's going to become another Fire/Fighting. Still cute as a starter, but not a stand-out for me.
A bunny, still cute, now with some kinda mask hiding thing going on because I guess it's a ninja now. Or at least thinks it's one. And that's adorable. Probably the best out of the middle forms this time around, not just for the lack of "suddenly different palette" either.
This looks like some kind of Chinese or bootleg or Chinese bootleg soccer mascot they attempted to submit to some kind of sports tournament thing. I don't hate the design but it could be better.
I've counted this one as what I'd pick if I played. I've called it Sadpole despite it being a lizard but it's a bobble-headed cute. I like chameleons, as well as lizards in general, and Kecleon being about the only chameleon up to this point, though a great one, has been resolved somewhat.
A weird partial theme of having the middle evolution look like a Shiny when it's not just to confuse people. In the terms of awkward middle evolution, this checks all the marks, since it also is going through some kind of phase.
This outright twig of a lizard is somehow a spy that points with a finger gun. Not bad, and I actually kinda like this design, but it's incredibly, and even worryingly, skinny, like its arms might fall off if you looked at it funny. Maybe it could use some milk to drink to at least strengthen the bones. I'm not even sure if it has bones or if it's kept upright by a series of some kind of bladders. Not that I'm saying it should be like the absolute unit of Blastoise or Swampert, but even Greninja wasn't this level of concerning slenderness. Unless this is just the "ideal image" perpetrated by the Pokédex photographers and actual average examples aren't so noodly.
Next, the regional rodent, bird, and bug, again as usual.
It's a squirrel. Hello squirrel. Cute, but pretty much the rodent as usual and not sure it has the memetic power of Bidoof.
Chunky squirrel. Some say it looks like Peter Griffin. I more think it's one of those classic type designs from the days of 2D hand drawn animation being feature films. It's also just so happy.
It's bird. Hello bird. Bird looks angry but that's just the pattern on its face. Like real birds. That's adorable.
The bird is enlarged and still looks angry but not. Edgier but not brooding.
Say hello to Skarmory 2, now carrying entire cars because that's just a normal and not scary thought in the Pokémon world. A nice giant bird that would probably love being pet and scratched like pet birds might like. Just watch the fingers. Or entire limbs.
Why is this bug's face stretched out? Is it looking over in one direction or maybe that's supposed to be some kinda cartoon shiny effect? I mean Bugbus in last gen did look a bit like it was looking over for whatever reason too, and I don't really have a problem with that aspect, but overall I like Bugbus. If they were going for the "egghead" look by shoving an egg into its head, that happened.
It's a Mario enemy made of triangles in a round format and also mustache whiskers. Almost like a crab without big claws. Kinda cute.
It's a weird floating ladybug type with its butt on its head. And it has weird jaws. Maybe it's supposed to be like aliens.
And now the rest, things that might be recurring roles but I don't really care to point them out aside from Legendaries.
A fox. Extremely a fox. One with its tail stuck on the ground and looking like another foot. Pretty much just give a fox makeup I guess. And a fifth foot.
A fox. But this time with a mustache, a mask, and eyebrows. So if you give a fox even more makeup and additional facial hair, that's this.
It's a flower that's wrapped up like a chili pepper? Cute I guess.
Afro flower lady circus. It's like a grandma kind of.
I love sheep and goats. This is a round sheep. I love it. Also it rolls around for some reason. Sheep orb. Too precious, roll one up today.
Goat. What if goat was also fluffy. But also had more horns. Not quite the precious baby orb as Wooloo is but I still love this goat.
What a dorky turtle. No wonder they showed its evolution and not the previous form. But it's not terrible, it's a fine dork.
Snapping turtle here. It's big with a shell and has quite a jaw. That's pretty much exactly describing a snapping turtle. And that's just fine.
What a weird cute dog. Despite consisting of Y axis rotation like many other monsters, it's a weird cute dog. It was suspected of being the Pikaclone at one point for its cuteness and electricity, but this is just dog. Weirdly glowing, though.
An incredibly neon colored puppy dog. Still a cute dog. Just grown up so it's not quite the baby face a puppy would have. However I find real dogs cute just about anytime.
To figure out that this thing actually had a wheel, it had to be pointed out to me. Otherwise it's a rock lump with an eye. And also a wheel. Regional rock lumps haven't been the most appealing to me generally.
This looks like some kind of mine cart from a Rare game. Or maybe one of many other 90s platformers, like something from Gex maybe. It's a cart with a face on it. So that's fun.
Someone spray painted a Rhyperior black, then stuck a Bane mask and a pile of glowing stuff on it and called it a day. Could have kept going with the wheel themes but I guess they forgot.
It's a worm that's stuck in an apple. The designs keep getting more outlandish, perhaps desperate, but I don't consider an object-based design to be a bad thing purely by principle. They can work.
A weird lizard stuck in an apple shell. I don't feel strongly about this one either way.
It's an apple camel that's also sort of a pie? Decent enough I suppose, as long as it can support its own back and not be too weird with its special flappy eyes.
A sad but grumpy dirt snake with big nostrils. Dunsparce this is not, and not quite Ekans, but a snake regardless.
A long coiled up snake that inches like a worm, has a big donut behind its face, even bigger nostrils, and just looks kinda annoyed. I have to say, that's not a bad design at all. It's silly enough to work. And I like snakes.
A dorky bird that's potoo-ish just from the eyes, but also a stork that deep throats its prey before just vomiting it back at the opponent. Sometimes even Pikachu somehow because Pikachu always shows up in everything. It's good to be able to hurl Pikachu at someone.
It's a weird French mustache fish or something and that one bird keeps eating it.
It's kind of horrendous. Its face got weirder and covered in something brown and it's just overall spikier. And it looks like it has less of a mustache. Not my favorite by a long shot.
Looks like a weird baby. Probably because it is.
Comes in two flavors, apparently based on guitars and bass guitars. They're weird tall lizard demons sort of but not entirely lizard-y.
Angry flatworm? Is it bacon? Bacon bug? It's about the size of bacon I guess. Maybe it also has a mustache for weird mouth.
A really angry flatworm that's really wriggly. Its mustache is an X and is also eyebrows, and both are on fire. It's disturbingly flat.
It's not a squid but it's like a kid with big punchy arms. Kinda cute.
A bigger octopus that's more of a wrestler and has a weird mouth, not one that's under it though. Also a nice dark blue but with a weird fluorescent yellow for highlights. So it reminds me of bicycles for some reason.
Thirsty? Cup ghost. Actually, don't drink it.
A ghost that lives in tea and also is tea. But this time it's the whole pot. Interesting enough.
It's like Ralts 2. A shorter but pointier Ralts which is only legs on a face with a hat hair and also really pastel Easter colors.
Very tiny, supporting itself with its hat hair head that is most of its size. Still very pastel.
Now it's really tall, pretty much floats, but is still mostly hat hair. Complete with a tassel arm. Now it's fully a totally not Gardevoir.
I've called this one the Buttnoid since its name had technically not been revealed until the games came out, outside of some limited availability demo at trade shows. Also has kind of been the butt of the information wars regarding "this got in but your favorite didn't" and so on. I don't hate it but it's not my favorite.
The demon got edgier. It has longer hair, as in having hair at all, styled in some kind of emo hairstyle, and looks like an anime villain about early to mid season.
This looks like a mess. Like trying to wrap a bat hybrid devil in seaweed. As if its hair is somehow its muscles. Not a pretty sight at all.
A badger climbs into some Kiss costume and this happens, it goes full rocker mode. It kinda does look like a badger is in some sort of mechanical person suit because of the proportions and the way the neck is.
Now very definitely a Viking type design, complete with helmet and a more defined beard. Sort of also looks like a gorilla from just how hairy it is, especially around limbs.
A hell egg surrounded in hell fog that hatched from its own corpse. This region is insane and the monsters are destroying themselves.
It's a plain white duck that has a giant onion stick thing that's been cut in half to be a sword and shield because the game names. The design averages out to the middle ground in my thoughts between the plain duck and the weird weapons.
What an unsettling monster. For one thing this has a giant clown nose on what appears to be its torso, but that might be its real face given how its buttons act like eyes. So it's some weird false eye mimicry thing. So naturally it has a dead eyed staring face stuck on top of it. And not a scribbly cute one either. Not that it has to be cute for me to like it, but very unsettling.
At one moment, it's a piece of rock with a red snake painted on it. At the next, it's a bunch of ribbons holding those pieces together. In the middle is an eye. So if you just took a bunch of rocks and some eye stuck to one of the rocks, and tied them up with string, you'd be close.
A cream sprite that has that weird ball liquid slow motion splash thing going around it constantly. There are too many dirty jokes to make about this weird sorta cute but also unnerving being, and I'm not going to make any.
This one has grown on me. It's not just a copy of Slurpuff, though similar, and would probably go well with one. A cream monster with some hips, and it comes in many flavors depending on some weird conditions, which would make me concerned for future inclusion, but there are some neat opportunities to get a couple. Also just such an adorable face, between curious and joyful looks.
A reason to not let just idle model poses speak for a monster. At first glance it's a weirdly designed bright annoying centipede, but it's actually a line of six Kirby enemies that somehow got into the game, covered in armor and acting as one monster, kind of like Exeggcute and not having one with significant cranial damage. Those helmets must be pretty strong. But they're all pretty cute. Also they have tiny little feets.
A ball made of spikes with sort of a butt face but not as much as the next one. As if a Pyukumuku got really mad but still fairly cute and partly a bug but not.
This is a worm with a butt for a face. I'm calling it the Buttworm. I don't feel as strongly for this as others might. Cute in concept, but a bit off-putting.
A full on moth. Seems to lack legs but flying Pokémon never land anymore in their models by the looks of things. It also has a big puffy neck thing, but turns out those are its tiny wrapped up arms. With tiny little paws. To think this thing had a butt face, now it's all pretty like it's in a coat.
The skeptical expression on this living Stonehenge is about what I feel about the new games, and overall it's cute. I don't get into a lot of Rock types that aren't fossils. This one has attitude and is very rocky and moves as such.
A weird penguin that becomes a giant blockhead in snow. Without it, it just has a weird penguin face with a single hair strand. Not that terrible, though, still a penguin that's cute, at least when you can see its face.
There's two forms here, and neither is Audino. The male form has exaggerated hips and the female form is just rounded. Both are fairly cute, sorta looks like some kind of sinister Audino branch with a focus on the hips.
So this is the Pikaclone of this generation. It's okay I guess. And it keeps flipping states between Snickers and not Snickers. It's very Unity capsule-esque in shape. For getting effectively two Pikaclones last gen, I didn't expect this to top that anyway, even though this is kind of two in one, sort of.
It could stand for cute elephant. It's a bit cute, yes, as baby elephants are. Also very orange.
The most elephant-like monster and yet still weirdly different. It has two Hellboy cut-off horns up top and rectangular tusks. And kind of a brushy hand-like trunk? Also overall rectangular for some reason. Maybe it's like a living carving. Merged the geometric shapes into a monster.
In general I don't think I like how the fossils this time around were handled. Sure, they were taking the "old archaeology was really bad" angle for a joke, but then they decided to play Arceus since the actual Arceus isn't around in this region to pass some well-needed Judgement for when jokes might just go too far. This is one of the better ones, because funny big pants, but still not really the best way to have gone about it, because it's likely its intestines will just spill out at any moment.
This weird chicken is freezing just because it has an icy fish butt. Sometimes they need to ask if they should just because they could.
This one's not even on right, it's a bootleg lizard chicken with a fish head taped to its butt. There has to be some kind of international committee to keep these from getting into the hands of kids, or at least keep fossil machine things away from people who haven't done the actual research into things.
This one's... closer? At least aquatic is paired with aquatic, but it's still apparently backwards. Overall, these fossil monsters aren't anywhere near the best, and I've seen better ways to handle chimeras. It's not any more or less fossils as before on average, since in other generations with them there were still four, but split between two evolution lines, though Generation 1 did have a fifth. Even if they were whole correctly, I'm not sure about the neon color schemes involved throughout.
Here's a weird lighter or chair or mining equipment that's a bootleg Tyranitar, pretty much. Maybe it's supposed to be a building. Its face is sort of a mess but I can kinda tell where the face parts are.
I'm still not entirely sure what constitutes a "pseudo-Legendary" but they generally seem to come before the box Legendaries.
A cute lizard... snake... ghost? I'm tempted to call it "droopy", but mostly it's a living dart pretty much. Hello, dart buddy.
A slightly larger lizard snake ghost that has a little dart buddy along for the ride. So it's part typical evolution and part adding stuff.
A big grumpy jet-faced lizard with missile launchers. But they hold tiny dart buddies. And that's just cute. The parent is going to hurl its kids at the enemy. Somehow that's become cute in this form, figure they would perform tiny lizard nibbles.
And now the Legendaries.
Dark Souls joke. Dog with a sword, pretty much. When it doesn't have the sword, it's made out of braids. Sort of a pastel blue and red for whatever reason.
Dog with a lion mane shield kinda thing going on. Sure. Without that, it's pretty much just red and blue wolf, in darker colors than its counterpart.
Here's a complex angular segmented seahorse that's also some kind of Satan spawn incarnate. The design strongly implies "this is bad guy Pokémon", even more than Giratina. So why not catch it yourself and cause hell.
Finally, regional forms, and this time they're not all originally from Kanto.
A very strange fuzzy cat, but turns out that's just the beard. Meowth from other regions are clearly good at shaving.
This horse is made of cotton candy. That's mainly it. Don't eat its tail off like in the preview videos though.
Yep, just a unicorn. That's exactly it. Put this in some animated 80s movie with a questionable budget and it would fit right in. It's obnoxiously that.
What if Farfetch'd had a bigger stick? That's this. Also slightly darker and edgier. It's like Shadow the Farfetch'd in contrast to the Sonic Farfetch'd of Kanto and anywhere else not Galar. It even drags its giant anime sword around for increased edge points.
This design works better in 2D given the whole "render smoke as some kind of smeared chunk thing" approach in the models. A weird design about old timey smokestack barons and such.
This looks more like a mime than usual, while also being a balding clown. And is still creepy. Which is probably intended as before.
A sad skeleton ghost of a coral that reflects the folly of mankind and raises questions on if people should even be inhabiting Galar given their weird approach to anything, between taping fossils together and using the coal from monsters made of coal.
A weird Kiss version of a raccoon that's not quite a raccoon and more of a weird dog. An interesting idea, though I think I would still more likely pick the spiky classic cute brown more raccoon dog.
An angry fast badger ferret that also came from Kiss. Not so outright and directly adorable as the regular fast badger ferret thing but still very cute.
A cute snow runt. But it's not Snorunt specifically.
Weird sorta fiery but mostly icy snowperson monster thing. It switches between afro yeti and flaming snowthing with bright orange hands.
What if this sad ghost was more sad and instead of carrying its face, it had some weird fragment?
The weird pancake fish became a bear trap. Interesting take on it, I guess every region needs its oddly Poké Ball-like mimic. Still, I have mixed feelings of this one in general.
Now to break down where all of these designs fall and what percentages we have in each category for an overview. Just because I'm a statistics nerd at times and I'm also doing this for my own figuring out of myself.
From this graph it's pretty apparent how I've decided most look "average" to me at the moment, and there's just a few more that I like or love compared to the ones I dislike or loathe. Things may change later on as more settle out of the "average" once I've sat on things as more monsters get added.
These are just the ratings for the base game when it released without any updates. There was an expand ass announced with new monsters and regional forms, plus there's going to be the Mythicals added, therefore I'll revisit this Generation later when all the new monsters are out there, adding and possibly shifting rankings as I feel by the point everything's out. I also plan to go back through the previous Generations and rank those for some context, which is probably easier since I've gotten to know those designs more.