Pokéfans – there's less than a week to go before the new game is upon us! Having hopefully settled on which of the three starters to go for (Go Team Chespin!), we now have a slightly less difficult matter to resolve - the dilemma of which version to pick up on Saturday. You see, Nintendo usually take a Noah's Ark-style approach to the increasingly popular series of critter-catching beast-battling games, sending them out two by two, with some subtle differences between each version. Not being made of money, we don't have the cash to buy both, so we need to whittle the decision down to one before the big day – which is usually easier said than done.
With the previous games, it's always been a lot easier to talk about each version's differences, as they were usually out in Japan for months before they made it to the West. But with Pokémon X and Y ushering in a new era for the series, Nintendo are planning a simultaneous worldwide release for the first time ever. Being an incredibly shallow Pokémon player, we pretty much always used to base our decision on which Pokémon game had the highest concentration of cute Pokémon – but with what we suspect is only a partial list of exclusive critters, it makes the decision that much harder. That said, we do at least have a few things to go on to help sway our decision one way or the other...
The Legendary Pokémon
Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two editions, besides the box art, are that each has their own exclusive 'Legendary' Pokémon. A super rare and super powerful 'mon that usually plays an integral role in the story, each game has a different star – and there's only one of them to catch in each game. For Pokémon X, you get the rainbow-antlered deer, Xerneas, who's one of the new dragon-proof Fairy types we keep hearing about, whilst those picking up Pokémon Y get the angry red bird thing, Yveltal, who's a deadly dual Dark and Flying type. Thing is, he looks more than a little bit creepy, with the ends of his wings and tail looking like massive hands – personally, we'd probably side with Xerneas for this one...
The other Pokémon
Usually, there's more than just the legendary Pokémon that are specific to a single version – to help encourage trading between players/sell more copies of the game to OCD completionists, Nintendo usually make it so a handful of critters can only be found on one or the other. So far, we only know of four Pokémon that will be divided up like this, with two on each of the games, although there are enough similarities between them you wouldn't feel particularly short-changed even if you missed out. Pokémon Y-ers can nab themselves the tiny pink bird Spritzee, a cute little Fairy-type described as the 'Perfume Pokémon' (pictured below, along with the rest), and a rather ugly beast, the dual Poison/Water type, Skrelp, apparently reminiscent of a rotting piece of Kelp – you can see why they chose to bundle him alongside a sweet-smelling 'mon, anyway. Meanwhile, the X folks get their own Fairy type in the form of the funny faced puffball Swirlix (the 'Cotton Candy' Pokémon), alongside the bright blue lobster Clauncher, a water type.
The Mega Evolutions
Kind of a continuation of the version-exclusive Pokémon from before, both Pokémon X and Y will also have their own special Mega Evolutions – a phenomenon that occurs when trainers and their Pokémon are in perfect harmony during a battle, which causes the Pokémon in question to transform into a much more powerful version. The main requirement for a Mega Evolution is that your Pokémon holds the relevant stone, which is where the versions differ – you see, certain stones can only be found in Pokémon X, while others are locked to Pokémon Y. So far, the only Pokémon with exclusive Mega Evolutions are Mew and Charizard, whose X and Y forms prioritise different stats – Mega Mewtwo Y has a bit of a quiff going on and boasts an increased Special Attack, whilst Mega Mewtwo X looks like a beefed up version of a regular Mewtwo with a beefed up Attack stat to match. In terms of Charizard, his Mega Evolution for Pokémon Y seems to be a slightly pointier version of his normal self with a boosted Special Attack, whilst Mega Charizard X however changes to be blue and black – to match the colour of the bruises he'll give you with that souped up Attack stat.
Given our current love for Swirlix, a preference for Xerneas and the draw of a blue Charizard, we'll probably plumb for Pokémon X when Pokémon X and Y hits stores on the 12th October – which is this Saturday! Which one will you choose?