Pokémon-themed Wordle clones release in Japan

Why Pokémon and Wordle make for a surprisingly good combination

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2022-01-31 21:20 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier

In Japan, two Pokémon-themed Wordle clones were released at roughly the same time. First, Twitter user @chuprod released Pokedle on January 29, followed by @giga_yadoran’s Pokémon Wordle on January 30. And after playing them, it’s become obvious why Pokémon and Wordle make for a good combination.

The original Wordle is a simple word guessing game where a new 5-letter word is made available to guess each day. Depending on the letters you enter, the background behind the letter will change. Green indicates the correct letter is in the correct position and yellow indicates that the letter is included in the word. Players enter in 5-letter words in an attempt to deduce the correct one. Wordle can be played for free from a web browser, and players can share their results with one click making for a hit that’s become a worldwide phenomenon.

In addition to Josh Wardle’s original Wordle, other developers have been creating and releasing their own variations. Even just the other day, a Japanese version called Kotonoha Tango released (related article).

Pokedle and Pokémon Wordle give this popular word game a Pokémon twist. Before the release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, there were a total of 898 Pokémon, and these games have players guess at Pokémon names from those made up of 5 Japanese characters.

When I actually tried playing, I noticed 5-character Pokémon names were coming to mind pretty easily. That could be because I’ve been playing Pokémon since I was a child, or maybe because the number of 5-character names is surprisingly high.

The Pokémon series had a long-standing rule that names couldn’t be longer than 5 Japanese characters. All the way through the 5th generation, names were 5 characters or less (10 letters in English). Starting with Pokémon X and Y in the 6th generation, the rule was finally lifted to allow names of up to 6 Japanese characters.

But just how many 5-character Japanese Pokémon names are there? My curiosity was distracting me from other work, so I decided to get to the bottom of it.

Pokémon Red and Green
84 out of 151 (55%)

Pokémon Gold and Silver
51 out of 100 (51%)

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
76 out of 135 (56%)

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
73 out of 107 (68%)

Pokémon Black and White
98 out of 156 (62%)

Pokémon X and Y
45 out of 72 (63%)

Pokémon Sun and Moon
48 out of 86 (55%)

Pokémon Sword and Shield
37 out of 89 (41%)

And when you include Melmetal (メルメタル) from Pokémon GO, we can see that 513 out of 898 Pokémon (57%) have Japanese names made of 5 characters. We can also see that just because 6-character names were allowed in Pokémon X and Y, doesn’t mean a lot of them appeared. In fact, only 6 of the 72 new Pokémon from that generation had 6-character names. That did increase to 21 out of 89 in Pokémon Sword and Shield, though.

With over half of Japanese Pokémon names being 5 characters long, it’s a great match for the Wordle formula. But that does leave the selection of words limited to 510 choices, which is less than other Wordle versions. The positive being that answers could be easier to guess. If you know the names of Pokémon, that is. In these games, your Pokémon knowledge will trump even the biggest vocabulary.