Pokémon games have a specific formula that has been used by the franchise since Red and Green first came out in 1996. You start with one Pokémon and travel across a region to collect more. Along the way, you challenge gyms, explore new towns, and eventually face off against the Elite 4. This same formula has been used in (almost) every Pokémon game since and has made the series one of the most popular in gaming history.
Unfortunately, while Pokémon games are incredibly popular, they aren’t particularly challenging. Luckily, fans have created ways to make the games more challenging. Here is our list of the best Pokémon challenges you can try to make the games more fun.
This challenge can be one of the most infuriating if you aren’t careful. Essentially your entire team must be made up of the same Pokémon. You can choose any Pokémon to use in the game, except Ditto. This means your team can be up to six Bulbasaurs, Squirtles, Charmanders, or Pikachus. To make it more difficult, you could use a random number generator to pick which Pokémon you will use.
This challenge can easily be the most heartbreaking of all the ones on this list. You can play the game as normal, but any time one of your Pokémon faints, you have to release it. This means that you could potentially lose an entire team if you make a poor choice or just have a run of bad luck. So make sure to train yourself well and be prepared for those unwanted moments.
For this challenge, you act as an unofficial gym leader as you travel the region with the only Pokémon of the same type. The difficulty of this challenge can vary depending on the game you are playing. Some games may only have a handful of the type you want. Diamond and Pearl, for instance, are famously known for the abysmal selection of fire-type Pokémon, which would make a fire-type run particularly challenging.
Players can include both single-type and dual-type Pokémon for this challenge. Using dual types make it easier, though, so players looking for some difficulty better use single types only.
This challenge is exactly how it sounds. You can’t faint. If you end up blacking/whiting out, you have to delete that save file and start over from the beginning of the game. This adds a feeling of “permadeath” to the game. Many hardcore players will combine this challenge with others on this list, like the Faint Release or Nuzlocke challenge. If you succeed, then you can pat yourself on the back because you just might be the very best, like no one ever was.
No Pokémon Centers
This challenge is exactly how it sounds. You can’t use Pokémon centers to heal your team. If you are a grass-type or bug-type trainer with access to moves like Giga Drain, this challenge might not seem like such a big deal. But if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a team with HP regenerating abilities, this challenge can get very difficult very quickly. Some players dial up the difficulty to 11 by banning the use of Pokémon Center alternatives like the Silph Rest Zone, or other areas that can help recover a Pokémon’s HP.
The most famous and possibly the most fun Pokémon challenge. This challenge originated from a comic series of the same name. Players can only catch the first Pokémon they encounter per area. If the Pokémon runs away or faints, then there is no second chance for that area. If the first encounter is a Double Battle, the player can only choose one Pokémon to catch.
For every captured Pokémon, the player must nickname it to “create bonds” with that Pokémon, eventually making it more painful in the event of a defeat. Some YouTubers like PurpleCliffe combine Nuzlocke with other challenges to make it more difficult and fun.
One Pokémon Only
As the name suggests, you can only use one specific Pokémon for the entire game. The only time you can use two is when the game requires you to use more than one Pokémon, such as in Double Battle tutorials and the like. To make it even more challenging many players choose not to evolve their Pokémon once they pick it out. This is a good challenge for newer players as you can choose one of the starters as your single Pokémon and still do fairly well with enough grinding.
This is a pretty straightforward challenge that is popular among fans of anime. Essentially you play the game as though you were a character from the series. You can play as Ash Ketchum, Gary Oak, or any other character in the games or anime series. The tricky bit is that you can’t just try to act as they do in the games; you have to use their team too, which can be difficult with certain characters. Just make sure not to retire too young IRL.
This type of challenge can be entertaining or a massive headache, depending on what you end up with. For a Scramble challenge, you use a random number generator to pick the team you use for the game. Each number corresponds with the number of a Pokémon in the international Pokedex. It’ll be fun to end up with a perfectly-balanced team, but a bother to end up with a team composed of Magikarp, Metapod, Kakuna, Pupitar… you get it.
This challenge follows the same rules as Nuzlocke but adds one important restriction: Players must assign partners to every Pokémon in their team, and Pokémon can only be switched out with their partners in the game. Selecting Pokémon partners might be more difficult than it sounds. Do you pair up two Pokémon of the same type? Or do you pair Pokémon of opposing types? This is a great challenge for those who understand the games’ battle and typing mechanics.