2013 10 22 Game Review Pokemon Y 500

The Pokémon franchise has always been highly accessible, but it has also been highly repetitive. For the first fourteen years of the franchise’s history, each game looked identical to its predecessor. So, when Nintendo announced they were going for a fully realized 3D version of the Pokémon world, it raised some concerns, especially for the visual accessibility of this historically barrier free franchise.


Happily, however, these concerns were utterly unfounded. Pokémon X and Y is as visually accessible as any other Pokémon title, neither relying on fine detail nor using color to communicate anything exclusively that would damage a colorblind player’s experience. It is true that certain items found in the world are yellow while others are red, but since there is no penalty for picking up items, a player has no reason not to pick up every item they see. Therefore, color doesn’t really matter. This is the only area in which color is used at all to distinguish between elements in the game. Likewise, the art style (though updated to include the 3D representations of buildings, characters, and Pokémon) actually enhances the experience, since instead of relying on fine detail it takes obscure shapes and features that may have been hard to distinguish in previous games and fleshes them out beautifully.


The basic mechanics of the game have not changed. And while there are some features that require the use of the touchpad, other reviewers such as Kyle Hilliard at Game Informer, have called these mini-games “forgettable.” The core mechanic is still turn based and is executable with a single finger if needed. Players still take turns commanding their Pokémon to execute different moves in battle. The only difference is now they are treated to hundreds of gorgeous battle animations that really show off the graphical power of the 3DS and make the Pokémon adventure that much more real. As a result, timing is not needed since the game will wait as long as necessary for the player to execute commands, and accuracy adds nothing to the gameplay since all players do is select commands from a list and watch them unfold. Because of this turn-based nature, the game is also extremely forgiving for all types of disabilities, which means that even young players will be able to play this game since they are not heavily penalized for mistakes they make. But perhaps the most refreshing thing about this game is that it doesn’t require use of the 3DS’s shoulder buttons, which can be hard for gamers with fine motor impairments to access. All of the important commands within Pokémon X and Y can be executed using the easy-to-reach buttons on the front of the system.


Gamers with hearing disabilities will also have no problems accessing this title. Truthfully, I played through about 80 percent of the game’s storyline with the volume turned down to save others from the repetitive music. I could do this because sound is merely an add-on in most Pokémon games, and X and Y are no exception. Also, since absolutely all of the game’s dialogue is communicated using boxed text that is both easy to read and comprehensive (even going as far as to include certain inflectional cues and non-verbal modifiers such as “sniff”), players with hearing disabilities don’t need to worry about missing any of the game’s story.


The bottom line is, both Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are completely barrier free for all types of physical disabilities. Pokémon represents one of the few franchises in which a disabled player can always find full enjoyment no matter what or how severe their disability is.


Please feel free to leave comments below the article that address your particular accessibility challenges with this game. If you feel there is a major omission in this review, please feel free to e-mail dagersystem@gmail.com with the word “revision” in the subject line. Please include specific details regarding anything we may have missed. If necessary, we will update our review based on your feedback.


Overall Rating: Barrier Free
Visual Rating: Barrier Free
Fine-Motor Rating: Barrier Free
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: 3DS
ESRB Rating: E
GameInformer Score: 8.75



Find us on Facebook or on Twitter @dagersystem. 






The Bottom Line for Disabled Gamers: Pokémon X and Y

Disability Pros Cons


– Art style makes everything easy to see.
– Nothing relies on color alone to communicate.
– Text is displayed in large boxes with readable font.


Fine Motor


– Game can be played with a single finger.
– All of the buttons used are on the face of the system and easy to access.
– Gameplay is extremely forgiving due to its turn-based nature.
– Timing is not required to enjoy this game fully.
– Accuracy is not required.




– All dialogue is communicated using text including cues for non-verbal communication.
– Sound is only used as decoration in the game.



Overall Rating: Barrier Free
Visual Rating: 
Barrier Free
Fine-Motor Rating: 
Barrier Free
Auditory Rating: 
Barrier Free
Released For: 
ESRB Rating:
GameInformer Score:

Share This
Skip to content