Pokémon games are fun. I enjoy playing them and probably always will. That being said, I do think that they can be a bit too easy. This is especially noteworthy in the more recent titles. Due to this I have spent some time researching ways to bring more challenges to these games without relying on the many rom-hacks available that do similar things. The main reason for that is because I don’t usually play emulators for these games seeing as I own pretty much all of them already. With all that being said, here are a few I found while spending my time watching multiple people play Pokémon instead of being productive for the past couple of weeks. Let’s chalk it up to a bit of a lazy spell and leave it at that.
- Change the game to set mode. I am not sure if everyone was aware of this particular feature already, but if there is someone out there that didn’t know this, then at least I wasn’t last. Set mode is pretty simple to explain. You see, there are two modes built into the game: switch and set. You know whenever you fight a trainer and after you defeat one of their Pokémon the game gives an option to have you switch out your Pokémon to better deal with their upcoming Pokémon? Apparently that is called switch mode and it can be turned off in the settings. You just have to change it to set mode so that prompt doesn’t come up and you don’t get the free switch during battle. It doesn’t revolutionize the game, but it add least spices things up a little bit by giving enemy trainers more initiative in battle.
- Give yourself a level cap. In some of the newer games it can be a bit harder to go with this restriction, but even so it might be worth a shot. Just simply designate a certain level cap that you don’t go over when facing certain challengers such as gym leaders, rival battles, and elite four members. I would say that you probably don’t want to be more than a couple of levels higher than the highest leveled Pokémon on the opponent’s team. Other wise you would probably just steamroll through. If you go past the cap by accident, just don’t use that Pokémon for that fight to keep yourself honest.
- Limit the Pokémon you use. You can take this in two different directions. The more extreme version of this is limiting the types of the Pokémon that you are allowed to use by banning certain stronger or more versatile types from your team, potentially even making it into a pseudo gym leader challenge run if taken far enough. If that is something that interests you than go for it. What I mean in terms of a more casual playthrough is that you should make it so you don’t rely on certain Pokémon. It is a fact of life that not all Pokémon were created equal. Some of them are just garbage while some are able to sweep teams by themselves without giving any party members room to breathe. I am not saying to use Pokémon that aren’t good, but rather try not to use Pokémon that are too good. Maybe steamrolling is fun the first time, but after that it becomes a bit boring. So just mix it up a little. What could go wrong? Okay a lot could go wrong, but that’s what makes it fun. I think.
- Limit usage of TMs. TMs or Technical Machines are a great way to ensure that certain Pokémon are able to have better movesets when they don’t gain anything from leveling up that feels useful for your current build. That is great, but there is always the danger of stocking up on good TMs to teach certain Pokémon repeatedly. There are many ways to do it in early games since you can buy them from stores or potentially get them through gambling. However, newer games make it so TMs are reusable and so this problem can become even more problematic. I am not saying not to use certain TMs, but try to limit how many Pokémon can use them on your team so they don’t end up with similar strategies. A little variety is nice after all.
- Limit item usage. Basically I just mean don’t heal stall with potions. It’s just sad. Either take your loss or get good. If you use other held items for strategic purposes then that is fine. It is also fine to heal during battle. However, instead of throwing potions at your Pokémon until your arm gets tired, why not try limiting your potion usage to your opponents so that it doesn’t become a war of attrition. Use the money for something else, like maybe some new clothes or something. I would also like to say limiting usage of status items should also be considered since when used properly X items can break the game.
- Attempt a Nuzlocke. You may have heard of this before. Typical rules are that you can’t use a Pokémon after it faints, you have to name them so that when they die you feel the pain of being a terrible trainer after having developed an emotional attachment with them, and limit yourself to catching the first Pokémon in a route that you encounter. It does sound scary, but it isn’t the worse so long as your prepare properly and have a good understanding of the game you are attempting to Nuzlocke. Truth be told, the suggestions before this one are all adapted from optional rules people incorporate into their Nuzlockes already. Does that make them masochists? Maybe. It is impressive nonetheless though what some of the hardcore ones are capable of pulling off (When I say ones I mean Nuzlockers, not masochists). However, clearly it might not be for you. There is a reason I put this last as this can be the hardest challenge for a Pokémon player. If it interests you though, maybe give it a shot. I do recommend doing some research in this field beforehand though. Just some friendly advice.
Use Chikorita as a starter.
Actually, that will be all for today. Hope some of this was interesting. Maybe you already knew about all of this, but it was a fun learning experience for me so I thought I’d share. Oh, and don’t worry. I promise that next week will not be about Pokémon. Anyway take care and thanks for reading.