Pokémon fever is back, thanks to the release of the latest game in the series Pokémon Legends: Arceus for Nintendo Switch.
Part-The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and part-Monster Hunter, Legends: Arceus sends you—a time-traveling trainer sent to the Sinnoh region back when it was known as Hisui—completing the world’s first Pokédex in a quasi-open world setting populated by 242 “terrifying creatures.”
Suffice to say, playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus is going to be a considerable investment, especially since you’ll have to catch every Pokémon in the Hisui region in order to secure Arceus, the Alpha Pokémon itself. Unless you have the flexibility to devote all your time and energy to catchin’ and battlin’, it could take months to reach Arceus’ true ending, even after the credits roll. In the meantime, you might as well rep your adventure with the best Pokémon merch for the moment, including some related to Legends: Arceus and others not.
Pokémon might be terrifying creatures in ancient Hisui, but many of them are considered adorable here in the real world. And while it’s up in the air still whether Legends: Arceus should be classified as such, no mainline Pokémon game is complete without a trio of starters to choose from. In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, those are Cyndaquil the fire type, Oshawott the water type, and Rowlet the grass type, each of which is from a different era of the 26-year-old franchise. All three are available in plushie form, perfect for snugglin’ or keeping on display as a desktop trinket.
You can also adorn your home with a deity in the form of this plush-ified Arceus. Or, as our own Sheilah Villari suggested, add a taste of terror to your living quarters with these Eevee-lution-inspired Mimikyu crossover cosplays, including Sylveon, Leafeon, and Glaceon.
Looking to brush up on your Pokémon knowledge? While you, fortunately, don’t have to catch ‘em all in Legends: Arceus, this Super Extra Deluxe Essential Handbook can help even a beginner catch up on the last two and a half decades of Pokémon—with information on over 875 characters. Since there are 905 Pokémon catalogued at the time of this writing, it won’t cover everything, but it does have enough Pokédex entries to help you learn the names and traits of most of the creatures found across the series. I have this one on my shelf, and my only complaint is that the Pokémon are listed in alphabetical order as opposed to the order in which they appear in the games.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is rife with lore connecting back to Diamond and Pearl versions for the Nintendo DS and their recent remakes, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. As such, it might make sense to revisit the manga based on the original Sinnoh-based titles. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure! centers around Hareta, a young boy raised by Pokémon who sets off to become a trainer after being given a Piplup by Professor Rowan. You can start with the first volume for around $2 or purchase the whole collection for $242. Although seeing as the subsequent individual copies retail for about $10 apiece, it does make more financial sense to order them a la carte.
Without delving too much into spoiler territory, I can promise new players will appreciate Pokémon Legends: Arceus after playing through its sequels, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (alternatively, you could pick up the originals on the DS, but there’s no benefit to doing so versus the remakes). Unless you use a guide, one rare Pokémon in particular will be difficult to find without reading a certain book in the Canalave City library. A lot of other references are made to BDSP’s Sinnoh region that you probably won’t get without playing one or the other first.
The only major difference between Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are the selection of Pokémon available in each. Kotaku has a rundown of both games’ exclusives, so give that a read before making your decision.
Hori has a couple of Arceus-themed cases for the Switch that are apt for the occasion. The more conventional vault case bears a hard shell with an intricate Hisuian-inspired design featured inside and out. It also has enough room for 10 games and a handful of small accessories. However, I’m partial to the shoulder bag, a padded soft fabric case with an adjustable strap so you can throw it on your back. It might look corny if you’re an adult walking around with a Pokémon-themed Switch case on your back in public, but this one can accommodate the Switch dock in addition to the console itself.
Whatever your style, both cases support all three Switch models and will be released on February 28.
For a more mature Switch-toting solution, the PowerA clutch case resembles a purse embellished with subtle artwork of Pikachu and Eevee lounging around being homies. The zipper pull tab is shaped like a Pokéball, but otherwise it’s an elegant, understated case you won’t be embarrassed to lug around in your travels.
Another accessory I’m fond of is the Hori Switch D-Pad controller, which not only adds some much-needed Pikachu flair to your console but also graces your Switch with a true D-Pad, unlike the separated directional button layout of the standard Joy-Con.
Funko! Pops aren’t for everyone, but if you’re into them, the Series 9 Pokémon collection is up for pre-order, including Alakazam, Lucario, and Sylveon. Of course, there are plenty of other Pokémon Pops to choose from, like classic Kanto starters Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. This latest series marks the first time a Sinnoh/Hisuian-based Pokémon, namely Lucario, has been available in Funko form. All three S9 Pokémon Funko! Pops are set to come out on March 15, 2022. Peruse the full selection, including the adorable Jolteon in the header image, on the Funko! Pokémon shop.
Not into Funkos? Understandable! I’m not either. The good news is there’s an endless assortment of Pokémon toys that have been dominating the market since 1996.
When I asked my Twitter followers about their favorite Pokémon merch, our former gaming editor Giovanni Colantonio reminded me of the Mega Construx Pokémon construction sets. Though you might think of Mega Bloks as low-rent LEGOs, Mattel has exclusive rights to the Pokémon license. So if you want to literally build your own powerhouse team, you’ll have to settle for these. On the bright side, they look pretty damn neat, with iconic characters like Pikachu, Eevee, and Charizard for sale in addition to newer ‘mons like Corviknight.
Among the nigh-infinite list of Pokémon toys you can buy, a few of my personal favorites are this cursed 4" Alien statue from Kelake, various bodybuilding beefcakes, as well as this official Arceus figure to accompany your new game.
For those whose last Pokémon movie memory was of the first feature film, Mewtwo Strikes Back, you might be disappointed in the direction that The Pokémon Company has taken since. The voice actors, for instance, were replaced in the mid-aughts with a cheaper cast. The writing, too, leaves something to be desired, until you remember these are kids’ movies that aren’t made for you anyway. Still, it can be exciting to see your favorite creatures duking it out on-screen while Ash, Dawn, and Brock do their thing. This Diamond and Pearl movie collection comprises The Rise of Darkrai, Giratina and The Sky Warrior, Arceus and The Jewel of Life, and Zoroark: Master of Illusions all on one Blu-ray disc for the ultimate Pokémon movie marathon.
Another option for the whole family is Pokémon Detective Pikachu, the first-ever live-action adaptation of the franchise that centers around embittered Tim Goodman, a once-aspiring Pokémon trainer turned insurance salesman who was abandoned by his father at a young age (his dad is a cop, so that checks out). After finding out his dad died in a car accident, he meets a talking Pikachu with amnesia. Because the police never found his dad’s body following the accident, the two set out together to investigate the case themselves. What unfolds next is an unforgettable adventure in Rhyme City.
If you’re looking for a bite-sized take on Pokémon Diamond and Pearl’s story, you can’t go wrong with the anime. Following the journey of Ash Ketchum, Brock, and a budding Pokémon coordinator named Dawn, Pokémon The Series: Diamond and Pearl is an action-packed portal to the past. In this series, Ash is joined by several Pokémon native to the Sinnoh region, such as Turtwig, Staravia, and Buizel as he trains for the title of Pokémon League Champion. Whether he gets there is anyone’s guess.