Pokémon Violet and Pokémon Scarlet are two of the most creative and immersive Pokémon games to date. With a format that expands on the Pokémon Legends: Arceus format and a heap of new features, this duo of entries in the iconic franchise are a lot of fun.
As with any Pokémon generation, though, it’s hard to know which game to pick up out of the two. This is especially true if you play Pokémon with a loved one and want to trade game-exclusive Pokémon with them to complete your Pokédex.
There are a few key differences between Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet that you need to know as a Pokémon fan. Here’s my answer to the question “should you get Pokémon Scarlet or Violet?” to help you pick out the game that’ll fit you the best.
They both stand out as two of the best casual games on the Switch by a mile, and they’re worth picking up even if you’ve never played Pokémon before.
Pokémon Violet vs. Pokémon Scarlet
Before this game came out, there were a lot of fan theories that there would be overarching themes of time travel in these two games. Some folk even think thought that Pokémon Scarlet would take place in the past and Pokémon Violet would take place in the future.
I won’t be spoiling anything in this article, but it is worth acknowledging these fan theories nonetheless. If you play through the games, you’ll see why.
Part of the reason for this is the difference in aesthetic between the two Professors.
Professor Sada, from Pokémon Scarlet, dresses with lots of older-looking motifs, like a tooth necklace and buckles made of teeth. Professor Turo, however, has a modern looking haircut and a futuristic outfit underneath a lab coat. The contrast between them is quite stark.
There’s also a sharp difference between the box legendary Pokemon from these games, too.
The legendary Pokémon from Scarlet, Koraidon, looks quite like a feathered dinosaur. Ignoring the giant wheels, of course. The legendary Pokémon from Violet, Miraidon, has eyes that look like screens, a metallic face, and a robotic appearance.
These are purely aesthetic based differences between the games, and they don’t affect the story. There are some other key differences between the two to note, though.
One of the major differences that you’ll spot between Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet is the characters. Some characters feature in both games with the same appearance, but others differ based on which version of the game you have.
The major difference, as noted earlier, is the Professors.
Interestingly, Professor Turo does not seem to exist in the Pokémon Scarlet universe, and vice versa for Pokémon Sada. This is a first for the series.
The school director, Clavell, has a minor difference based on the game that you’re playing. He will wear the color of the relevant school for each game, wearing an orangey-red suit for Pokémon Scarlet, and wearing a violet suit for Pokémon Violet.
Your character will also have a school uniform with the appropriate colors for the school that features in your game, too.
Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet don’t feature as many ways to change your outfits as Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but the uniforms are well designed and there are lots of customization options.
This is a minor difference, but it’s worth noting anyway. The schools in Pokémon Violet and Scarlet are different, with different names, crests, and color schemes.
The school in Pokémon Violet is Uva Academy, and the school in Pokémon Scarlet is Naranja Academy. Uva Academy has a blue and indigo crest with a bunch of grapes on it, and Naranja Academy has an orangey-red crest with a slice of orange on it.
I’ve already mentioned that the legendaries differ between the two games, as is the case for essentially every Pokémon game in the franchise. There are other game-exclusive Pokémon that are worth knowing about, though.
There are two wicked new Pokémon that are tied to each game. Ceruledge can be found in Pokémon Violet, and Armarouge can be found in Pokémon Scarlet.
Ceruledge is a Fire and Ghost type Pokemon, known as the ‘Fire Blades’ Pokémon.
Utilizing the physical manifestation of grudges as a weapon, this Pokémon wields two blades and will do anything to win in battles. Alongside standard moves like Flash Fire, Ceruledge can use Bitter Blade and heal itself for 50% of the physical damage inflicted.
Armarouge is a Fire and Psychic type Pokémon, known as the ‘Fire Warrior’ Pokémon.
Armarouge wears the armor of a once fearsome warrior, and it always wants to fight fairly. Armarouge can also use the move Flash Fire and its signature move is Armor Cannon, which uses its own armor in a projectile-based attack. This attack lowers Armarouge’s defense.
There are other Pokémon that are tied to the games, too, with some intriguing new designs. The exclusives in Pokémon Violet include Bagon, Shelgon, Salamence, and Eiscue. The exclusives in Pokémon Scarlet include Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar, and Stonjourner.
If you’re someone who will be playing Pokémon with a loved one, you’ll be able to trade any exclusive Pokémon and play co-op with them no matter which version you decide to get. I’d suggest picking up whichever game you feel has the coolest specific Pokemon and most interesting Professor.
If you’re someone who wants to pick between Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet based on the strongest and most tactically viable Pokémon, it really will come down to splitting hairs.
Both legendary Pokémon are Dragon types, but one of the biggest differences between the games is actually between Ceruledge and Armarouge.
Based on the Pokémon types, Armarouge is slightly weaker than Ceruledge. Of course, that’s not the only thing that can make a Pokémon strong or weak, but it is worth considering if you’re looking for every tactical advantage possible.
As a reminder, Armarouge is a Fire/Psychic type and Ceruledge is a Fire/Ghost type.
Both Pokémon have Fire in their type categories. Fire is ineffective against Fire, Water, Rock, and Dragon. There are 3 types which are super effective against Fire, which are Water, Ground, and Rock.
Ghost is completely ineffective against Normal Pokémon and it is not effective against Dark type Pokémon. In contrast, Psychic is weak against other Psychic Pokémon and Steel types, and completely ineffective against Dark Pokémon.
Ceruledge, therefore, has one less type disadvantage than Armarouge. Of course, this could easily be overcome with some careful move selection, but it’s a notable difference that’s worth thinking about if you’re a data-focused player.
While I personally picked Pokémon Scarlet because I like the theming, it was not a shock to see a lot of people pick Pokémon Violet based on the exclusive Pokémon types and the legendary Pokémon, too.
Once you’ve decided which game you’re going to pick, brush up on common issues with the games (like the frame rate issue) and how to fix them, then start thinking about the real challenge up ahead. Picking your starter Pokémon.