Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have a long history for bringing and end to third-party efforts.
If Pokemon and CookieClicker had a baby, it would probably look something like what PokeClicker has turned out to be. A strange adventure that tiptoes on the line of copyright law, forcing players to invest an inordinate amount of time to progress through its stages.
PokeClicker has been around since 2016 and has seen a jump in popularity around the time of main-line game releases.
What is PokeClicker?
PokeClicker is pretty self-explanatory. You click Pokemon, those Pokemon are then defeated and you move on. Just like in the actual Pokemon games, the general objective is to catch all of the Pokemon in the game.
Every single region of Pokemon, up until Generation VIII's Galar, is represented in PokeClicker. To be able to progress to the next region, players have to capture every single Pokemon in the regional Pokedex. We tried to play the game for a little bit to see if we could get anywhere beyond Kanto. It just wasn't to be.
Like CookieClicker, there is idle capabilities to PokeClicker. If you leave the game open on one of the routes containing Pokemon, then they will continually be knocked out, earning you in-game currencies.
You can also fight trainers in PokeClicker, whittling away their health bars with clicks. This goes directly along with the traditional storyline. Players need to defeat Blue at the end of the Elite Four in Kanto. Pokemon, like the actual Nintendo games, are limited to 100 levels in PokeClicker.
Is it... legal?
On the PokeClicker wiki (yes, it has its own wiki), there is a message that says: "Pokémon is the sole property of The Pokémon Company, and we do not claim any ownership of its title."
Be that as it may, that still wouldn't normally stop Nintendo from being incredibly abrasive with their anti-copyright tactics. Noting here that Nintendo are a company that once sued a set of scientists for naming a cancer "Pokemon"...
There are a couple of reasons why the game is still up and functional. The biggest one is that there is no monetisation in the game. Players cannot buy currency and it is not available to buy on any of the various mobile app stores, meaning that it's largely inconsequential to Nintendo.
Fair use obviously doesn't apply either, with this not being a case of commentary, criticism or reporting on Pokemon games. The Pokemon Company could easily send a cease and desist to bring down this project but they are yet to do so.
Perhaps it's down to the little traction that the game has received, possibly down to it's annoying time-commitment needs to even progress a little bit. It could also be down to the fact that it's really nothing like any official Nintendo product.
But with the amount of popularity that has come and gone for PokeClicker, the website and game remain. That's a good sign that it won't be going anywhere any time soon.
If you want to give your time to this random, weird yet strangely addicting version of Nintendo's top property, you can find it here.