Pokémon X and Pokémon Y bring the popular franchise to the Nintendo 3DS for the first time, welcoming aboard a long-awaited suite of visual upgrades and enhanced features. The flat pixel art has been replaced with 3-D character models, enabling much-improved animation.

In both X and Y, you'll play a young Pokémon trainer out to prove he or she has what it takes to conquer the competitive world of cross-species animal combat. Your character is part of a team of kids, each with their own favorite thing about Pokémon. Naturally, your character's specialty is battling, and you will travel back and forth across a small continent, catching Pokémon and challenging everyone you see to a fight.

Pokémon improve and evolve over time, learning new attack moves and changing forms. X and Y introduce "mega-evolutions," which amount to a new way to make your favorite fighters look even cooler during a battle. As you work your way from town to town, eventually you'll have a hand-picked team of Pokémon strong enough to defeat the world's League Champion.

When connected to the Internet, you will get a live list of not only your online friends playing Pokémon but a fresh selection of players from all over the world. Your communication with other players is extremely limited, so parents need not worry.

It's a shame that the interface is so ugly and baffling. The game's menus and buttons take time to master, but when a series is so crushingly popular, interface issues are not something that stops most gamers. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y set another high-water mark.

RATING E for Everyone

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PLOT You say you want an evolution?

DETAILS Nintendo 3DS, $39.99

BOTTOM LINE These Pokémon battles are revolutionary.