Pokémon games may be marketed to kids, but they’re actually full of challenges for even the most seasoned video gamer. Tests of thoughtful preparation, strategic mastery, and sheer completionist dedication await those who want to get hundreds of hours of play out of these popular Japanese RPGs.
Think you’re ready to set these games aside, Pokémon Master? Think again! These in-game and fan made achievements will keep you playing long after the credits roll.
Attempt A Specialized Run
If you’re not too attached to your save file, specialized runs are a fun way to replay a title you’ve already completed. Here are some of the more popular options.
The Nuzlocke Challenge
The Nuzlocke Challenge has been around for quite a while, and it’s one of the most popular self-imposed challenges in video gaming. You can do it in any Pokémon title, and while many players add variations or clarifications to the rules, the core idea is very simple.
- You may only catch the first Pokémon you encounter in each zone.
- You must release any Pokémon that faints in battle
These two rules do a lot to enrich the Pokémon experience. The first rule forces you to adapt to monsters you might otherwise never use. The second raises the stakes on battles. You’ll rethink every choice you make in your fights when the wrong move could lose you your favorite Pokémon forever.
The Monotype Run
In each game, you advance through the story by defeating a series of Pokémon gym leaders, each of whom dedicates their time to training one specific type of creature, like fire or electric. Limiting your own Pokémon team in the same way can be a fun way to make the games harder.
Many Pokémon have two types, so you can offset weaknesses in your team composition. For example, Swampert is a Water type and a Ground type, so it could provide critical electricity immunity to a vulnerable Water type team.
The Speed Run
The rise of Twitch has made video game speedruns into popular spectator events. Just check out some videos of blazing fast records to see why.
You may not be as fast as these Pokémon players, who hold the standing world records for beating their chosen games as quickly as possible, but you can still participate in the fun! You don’t have to play perfectly to shave a few minutes off a personal record, or just compete for the fastest run among your circle of friends.
Face The Extreme Endgame
Pokémon games have to be easy for kids to beat in the most basic sense, but the developers at Game Freaks squeeze plenty of post-game challenges into every release to please the hardcore strategist, too.
The majority of Pokémon games feature special Battle Facilities for expert players. Whether it’s an imposing tower, an opulent club, or even a subway system where you fight while you ride, all offer a varied competitive formats that award rare and powerful items.
You can’t just conquer these competitions by fielding a more experienced party than your foes. All monsters who participate are scaled to the same level, so you’ll have to learn competitive team composition and advanced tactics to win.
Fill That Pokédex
When the games first came to North America in 1998, collecting all 151 creatures was already considered a feat of pretty intense dedication. Today, catching them all is a way more extreme effort! You’d have to amass a veritable zoo of over 700 Pokémon to have one of each registered in your encyclopedic Pokédex, and that includes some that are only released during promotional events.
Those looking for a slightly less intense challenge could just try to collect every monster of a particular type, or a specific game generation.
On the other hand, if you want a challenge that’s punishingly masochistic, you could try to build a complete Shiny Pokédex. Shiny Pokémon are color variant versions of almost every monster that have an extremely low spawn rate. There are special methods you can use to increase the likelihood of finding or breeding them, but you’ll likely have to engage in lots of trading with other players to collect every monster on the list.
Become A Ribbon Collector
None of the above are enough for you, huh? You need a challenge that is so obnoxiously elaborate that you’ll have to play core and spin-off games across multiple consoles and handhelds to get the job done?
Looks like you’re about to join the world of Ribbon collecting.
Ribbons have been in the Pokémon games since the Game Boy Advance versions of Ruby and Sapphire released in 2002 in Japan. Your goal will be to load down a single monster with as many of these ribbons as possible before trading it forward to a new generation of games.
In some cases, trading forward can lock out the ability to trade monsters back to previous games again, so be thorough before you move on!
This task will have you purifying Shadow Pokémon found in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness on the Gamecube, coordinating your team in the Pokémon Contest Spectacular and even shelling out a ridiculous amount of in-game funds to buy the Gorgeous Royal Ribbon.
Some ribbons are commemorative rewards from real world Pokémon tournaments long past, so you won’t be able to get every single one short of hacking. Still, a Pokémon with a packed Ribbon box can be as much a point of fond memories and pride as pulling off any of the hardest achievements in all of gaming.
The Endless Journey
In a world where so many games strand your fondest memories on a save file when they end, Pokémon games let you transfer every meticulously trained monster and hard fought ribbon forward to your next adventure. Face down the hardest challenges in the franchise, and you’ll be well on your way to building a fun and rewarding legacy of gameplay memories.
Can you recommend anymore extreme Pokémon challenges? Post them in the comments so our community can find new ways to play!