Pokemon Scarlet and Purple are full of obvious technical issues, and it’s about more than just framerate.


The embargo on Pokémon Scarlet and Purple reviews has been lifted, and today is their release date. Which means that everyone can see a very unfortunate and obvious problem with games: they run very very poorly.

The frame rate is highly variable, dropping agonizingly even when there are only a few effects on screen, like flowing water or weather. Character models standing a few feet away appear and disappear, sometimes rapidly, or move at moving animation speeds. Everything has a strange bright blur to it, and shadows often disappear and reappear suddenly and illogically. Pokémon dart in and out of walls or the ground at odd angles, or get stuck in them entirely—I spent an entire gym battle with a Pokémon half-buried in the ground. The camera sneaks from time to time over the slopes of the mountains and gives a complete view of the void, sometimes ruining great moments (like, for example, the evolution of my Wooper). Everything is constantly lagging, from battles to menus and cutscenes. It is, by far, the worst working Pokémon game, and among the worst running AAA games I’ve played on Nintendo Switch so far. And yes, this is with the day one patch.

To be clear, based on my own gaming experience, the issues went way beyond frame rate. Aside from the aforementioned crashes, lag, frame rate drops, skipping, and clipping, I also ran into a handful of bugs. One of the areas that I explored did not allow me to pick up any of the objects that were on the ground. I’ve seen several wild Pokémon stuck on walls, unable to fight, and I’ve briefly been able to vertically fly down a waterfall.

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In fact, while I was writing this article, one of our guide writers informed me that this strange problem had just occurred to him:

A Pokemon trainer oddly bugged into the middle of a wild Pokemon battle, with a Pokeball being thrown through their legs. Image credit: Tiziano Lento
A strangely bugged Pokemon trainer in the middle of a wild Pokemon battle, with a Pokéball being thrown through his legs. Image: Tiziano Lento

Polygon, Eurogamer, The Guardian, and basically every other outlet cited the issues in their reviews. But overall, it seems like the pool of reviewers that got early access to test these issues was pretty small. So it stands to reason that now that the general public is also playing the game, even more problems will be discovered. Here’s a particularly egregious example circulating on Twitter:

And another, something similar:

It’s very probable that in the next few days let’s see even more bugs and weird glitches like this one, as more people get their hands on these games and break them by accident, or even on purpose. There is currently a day one patch that is supposed to improve performance, but since our entire review period was spent playing with that patch, we’re not optimistic for the rest. We’re going to need more patches.

IGN has contacted Nintendo to ask if there are any further improvements planned for Pokémon Scarlet and Purple, but have yet to hear back.