Arceus players criticize lack of accessibility options

Amid rave reviews for Pokemon Legends: Arceus, players with disabilities are expressing their frustration at being left out once again.

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As soon as Pokemon Legends: Arceus released, it became an instant hit both critically and commercially, changing the gameplay context in interesting new ways and creating a welcoming experience for newcomers and long-time fans alike. However, gamers with disabilities point to a massive oversight of the game’s lack of accessibility options.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is obviously a critical home run, with Game Freak finding its place after the previous Pokemon titles on Nintendo Switch were much more controversial. A common point that all Pokemon The part of Switch titles, however, is that their accessibility options are lacking or missing altogether.


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A post from user Apricot-Autumn points out that the game doesn’t even have a menu for accessibility, and from there other users have shared issues with both Arceus and previous Pokemon games that make them difficult, if not impossible, to play. Arceus seems to suffer the most from these issues, as its real-time gameplay outside of turn-based battles depends on the player having information about the environment, some of which – such as the cue for a Shiny Pokemon – is not available only through a single medium. The Shiny Pokemon audio cue is a particularly glaring oversight, as adding a visual or vibration cue would be a small change, but it’s only available in audio.

While Pokemon Legends: Arceus suffers a lot of accessibility issues, these issues are older. Other players have expressed frustration with the lack of control customization in the Pokemon Let’s Go games, as well as the small subtitle font size issue shared by many Pokemon Games. Even something as standard as a colorblind filter is missing in Arceuscausing some players to miss items on the ground.

The industry as a whole has seen improvements in making games more accessible over the past few years, so see Pokemon Legends: Arceus lagging behind even after so many years of other Pokemon games on Switch are disappointing. The Switch itself is already a difficult console for many gamers with disabilities due to its lack of per-game command remapping, and in a world where the Xbox Adaptive Controller exists, console makers have few excuses to continue to fail in accessible design. Fans have had the adaptive controller working on the Switch, but an officially supported option would be ideal.

Game Freak may fix accessibility issues in the future Pokemon Legends: Arceus updates, but it remains to be seen if the developers will take note of these issues. Nintendo-published games in general are well-known for their lack of accessible gameplay options, which is particularly disappointing when Nintendo-published games are also some of the most unique and inventive in the modern medium.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is now available for Nintendo Switch.

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