If I were to tell you that I wasn’t all that interested in Pokémon, this would be a lie of such unbelievably expansive magnitude that even the mere utterance of it would twist my conscience into such disrepair as to kill it entirely (poor Jiminy Cricket, he only ever wanted the best for me). I grew up with Pokémon – and by this I mean the games and not a psychotic imagining of the creatures themselves – and with each generation that passes I somehow love it even more than I did the previous. It therefore won’t come as a surprise to anyone that I am a fan of the various Pokédex-related products out there.
Two in particular have recently caught my eye since they appear to be a clear head and shoulders above the rest; these are Pokédex iOS and Pokémaster Pokédex for Pokémon. In my opinion these two apps represent the absolute pinnacle of Pokédex-style reference of Pokémon, but the problem is that my ipod touch doesn’t have enough room for both of them. This is not because I failed to buy an ipod with a large enough memory for my needs; I am simply over-dramatising the situation for effect in order to steer us towards a comparison of the two for the benefit of anyone who may be scratching their cranial appendage whilst deciding which Pokédex is best for them.
The Pokédex iOS (left) is the flashier of the two, but the Pokémaster Pokédex gives us more content at a fraction of the price
I’ll show you mine (Shiny vs 3D dilemma)
If you were to open up the apps simultaneously on two separate (but identical) iOS devices, most people’s first inclination would be to lean towards Pokédex iOS, since in terms of aesthetics, it initially appears to have the jump on its rival. This may be something to do with the fact that each and every Pokémon is represented with a three-dimensional model, which is bound to dazzle most people to a certain extent; it certainly had me convinced at first, as well. Clicking on each tiny creature brings up their stats in the usual Pokédex fashion, with an array of information spread across tabs at the bottom such as its abilities, type matchups, evolution progression and so on: there is nothing this app has that the Pokémaster version doesn’t at this point, but in spite of all this statistical info, what actually caught my fickle eye was the rotating three-dimensional model of the Pokémon that can be expanded and inspected from an almost free-roaming perspective. Also included is each Pokémon’s distinctive cry and a unique mini-animation to top it all off.
In spite of being rendered temporarily blind by the spinning 3D Pokémon models, it soon became clear that this feature is really more of a gimmick than anything else, and is probably included in order to justify the mountainous price of the thing in a ‘look at what we spend all that money on’ kind of way. In reality, when you strip away the 3D models and nonessential extras, the two Pokédexes are actually on equal playing fields. The Pokémaster Pokédex even possesses illustrations of the Pokémon that many fans may even prefer, since they are more representative of the creature’s in-game appearance, offering you the shiny and normal versions, as well as Ken Sugimori’s artistic rendering of the little critters. When it comes down to it, the Pokémaster Pokédex captures the true Pokémon style while the Pokédex iOS with its impressive-yet-soulless 3D models fails to do so.
I would say that comparing these two Pokédexes is akin to comparing two dictionaries of the English language from different publishers: for the most part, both are going to contain most of the definitions that its counterpart does, but with some minor deviations in content and more noticeable divergences in the style and presentation of the information. In the same fashion, each Pokédex when completed in its entirety (Pokédex iOS requires additional purchases while Pokémaster is complete from the start) possesses almost identical information: they both contain each and every Pokémon from generations I to V; each displays the vital stats of each Pokémon such as its HP, Attack, Defense and Speed; the evolution sequence, both possess a Movedex that lists the entire collection of moves that you will ever encounter in any Pokémon game, past or present. I would go on but I think you get the picture: playing these two games is to a certain extent like examining two sides of the same coin.
The Pokedex iOS (on the left again; always the same) is has some interesting multimedia but is more of a novelty than the reams of useful stats presented neatly by the Pokémaster Pokédex
While the two Pokédexes may be twins in some respects, they are far from identical in nature, with some noticeable differences between the two that go beyond their mere appearance. Though the Pokémaster Pokédex does have a Movedex, it falls short of displaying a type-effectiveness chart that is move-specific; this is probably the only content-related shortcoming of this unofficial app, and it is sadly something that the Pokédex iOS does have. In spite of this, however, the Pokémaster Pokédex still lords over its official counterpart with its content: it displays the locations of each Pokémon in every one of the main-series games; it displays accurate, quantifiable statistical data that uses numbers where its counterpart has merely used bar-graphs without actual values attached to them; the presence of an Itemdex in which all possible items like HMs/TMs and Pokéballs are listed is itself a feature in Pokémaster Pokédex that its rival is missing. All of these features serve to elevate the Pokémaster Pokédex slightly above its adversary in terms of its usefulness as a source of reference that gives you a tactical advantage in the main series of Pokémon games and/or Pokémon Tower Defense 1 and 2; even as a piece of pure entertainment and Pokémon novelty, the Pokémaster dex just has more to offer.
In one corner we have the flashy, officially-licensed Pokédex iOS with its three-dimensional models, AR-markers, and the official ‘Pokémon Company’ title (which also comes with the unwarranted price tag attached greedily to each region); in the opposing corner, we have the Pokémaster Pokédex for Pokémon that sports the classic Pokémon illustrations, an Itemdex, a compendium of numerically and visually-represented stats, and a comprehensive list of the actual locations where each and every Pokémon can be found throughout the core series of games. In addition to its abundance of useful information and statistics, that even when considered in isolation of price is utterly remarkable, the Pokémaster Pokédex is also available for you to own at the negligible price of £1.99, which puts the £26 that is required to fill the Pokédex iOS to absolute shame. The price to content ratio simply has to be the deciding factor in this fierce (yet entirely imagined and heavily dramatised) rivalry between the two Pokédexes.
As the referee of this figurative slugging contest, I am going to exercise my personal judgement and concede that although the two score pretty much equally on points as a result of their respective content (and also their relevance to helping players in the main-series of games as well as the Pokémon Tower Defense series), I am forced to hold up the hand of Pokémaster Pokédex for Pokémon due to the frankly astounding amount of content that you receive for such a comparatively low price, not to mention the fact that the Pokémaster Pokédex manages to out-content the Pokédex iOS by small but noticeable margin (Itemdex, Pokémon locations, numerically-indicated stats). Not contented with merely standing toe to toe with the official Pokédex iOS in terms of content, this incredible app also offers the same sort of functionality, smooth design features and most importantly, the entire national Pokédex at a fraction of the cost of its officially-licensed competitor. Come on, The Pokémon Company, Khalil SLIMI is making you look bad!