Best Pokemon Games for a Water Type Run

Without a doubt, the Water type is among the best types in Pokemon for a Monotype Run.  A Monotype Run is a run where you only train one type of Pokemon throughout the whole game.  Water is perfect for this as, with very few exceptions, you are bound to have a Water starter in your game.  Water is also the best starter type because it has only two weaknesses (unlike Grass) and it’s quite abundant (unlike Fire).  As such, you can pick a random Pokemon game and you are more than likely to have a great team.  Let’s find out which games are the best though (and the worst) and which Pokemon you should look out for!

Rules

  1. Only Pokémon of a certain type may be caught and trained.
  2. You must catch the first Pokémon available of that type if your starter does not match that type (you’ll then have to disregard that starter).
  3. You may train a Pokémon that evolves to said type as long as you do it ASAP.
  4. No trading allowed.
  5. Mega Pokémon count as long as you Mega Evolve them as soon as they appear on the battlefield.
  6. Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.

Pokemon Monotype Chart Version 2.02

Worst Games

There’s really only one “bad” game out there and that’s Pokemon Yellow.  Obviously, you have that Pikachu starter so that’s a setback but the real kicker is that your first Pokemon is after the first gym AND it’s Magikarp!  You buy it from the shady guy at the Pokemon Center near Mount Moon.  So you basically have to train with a Magikarp until level 20 so if you’re up for the challenge then go for it! Haha.  Honestly though, if you want to play in Kanto just pick RBY or FRLG and you’re in for a fun time.

Best Games

Yeesh this is tough.  Just look at the chart above and you’ll see what I mean!  So many perfect scores.  I got a personal favorite but before I say it check out XY, USUM and SWSH as you can catch over 30 Water Pokemon!!!  XY also has the highest abundance of Pokemon for a Monotype Team for any type (and it has Greninja which is super ballin’)!  So if you want variety go for those!  Generation VII also introduced Pelipper with the Drizzle Ability so if you want to make it rain then those are the games to do it!

But me?  I have to fall back on my tried and true Sapphire, Emerald, and AlphaSapphire for this amazing reason.  Your starter is a Mudkip, who can take care of your Electric problems, and then catch a Wingull, for your Grass problems, and then catch a Lotad for further diversity.  Boom, three Pokemon ready to help you and get you up and running by the first gym!  And if you don’t like Wingull then you get the Old Rod in Dewford Town and fish for a Magikarp!  From there, you can catch a beautiful collection of Water Pokemon that range from Crawdaunt to Tentacruel and the likes of Slowbro and Jellicent in ORAS.  ORAS is also always nice with its cool catching feature so you can find Hidden Abilities and Egg Moves easily! (I love Crawdaunt with Adaptability).

 

Water Teams in Pokemon Games

RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Blastoise, Slowbro, Poliwrath, Lapras, Tentacruel, Vaporeon
Optional: Starmie, Gyarados, Omastar/Kabutops, Cloyster, Dewgong
First available Pokémon: Squirtle via starter or Magikarp via the Pokecenter just before Mt. Moon in Yellow
Covers weaknesses? No, Electric is not neutralized

GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Feraligatr, Gyarados, Quagsire, Slowbro/Starmie, Tentacruel, Lanturn
Optional: Lapras/Dewgong/Cloyster, Vaporeon, Seaking, Golduck, Azumarill, Kingler, Corsola, Poliwrath, Octillery (S, G, HG, SS), Mantine (G, C, HG), Suicune
First Pokémon: Totodile via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

RSE and ORAS
Ideal Team: Swampert, Gyarados, Ludicolo (S, E, AS)/Lanturn, Tentacruel, Sharpedo/Crawdaunt, Starmie/Slowbro (ORAS)
Optional: Pelipper, Azumaril, Milotic, Whiscash, Relicanth, Walrein, Wailord, Vaporeon (ORAS), Jellicent (ORAS), Seismitoad (ORAS), Gastrodon (ORAS), Kingler (ORAS), Clawitzer (AS), Lumineon (ORAS), Alomomola (ORAS), Dewgong (ORAS), Barbaracle (ORAS), Kyogre (Sapphire and AS)
First Pokémon: Mudkip via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

DPP
Ideal Team: Empoleon, Quagsire/Whiscash/Gastrodon, Gyarados/Mantine, Tentacruel, Octillery, Vaporeon (Platinum)
Optional: Golduck, Milotic, Octillery, Azumarill, Floatzel, Lumineon, Palkia (Pearl)
First Pokémon: Piplup via Starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Black/White and Black2/White2
BW Ideal Team: Samurott, Seismitoad, Carracosta, Swanna, Alomomola, Jellicent
Optional: Simipour, Basculin
First Pokémon: Oshawott via starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

B2W2 Ideal Team: Octillery, Walrein, Jellicent, Vaporeon, Swanna, Starmie
Optional: Samurott, Simipour, Basculin, Azumarill, Mantine, Wailord, Golduck, Pelipper, Lapras, Floatzel, Corsola, Dewgong
First Pokémon: Oshawott via starter
Cover weaknesses? No, Electric is not neutralized

XY
Ideal Team: Greninja, Clawitzer (X)/Cloyster (Y), Gyarados, Slowbro, Quagsire, Ludicolo
Optional: Simipour, Bibarel, Crawdaunt, Seaking, Sharpedo, Golduck, Blastoise, Pelipper, Swanna, Wailord, Tentacruel, Starmie (X), Qwilfish, Lapras, Seadra, Relicanth, Vaporeon, Mantine, Octillery, Lanturn, Corsola, Gorebyss, Huntail, Alomomola, Whiscash, Poliwrath, Floatzel, Barbaracle, Azumarill, Wash Rotom
First Pokémon: Froakie via Starter
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one, you can interchange some of these Pokemon for others and still be fine.

Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Primarina, Gyarados/Pelipper, Slowbro/Starmie/Bruxish, Gastrodon, Golisopod/Aquachnid, Lanturn
Optional: Whiscash, Poliwrath, Milotic, Lanturn, Sharpedo, Corsola/Relicanth/Caracosta (Sun), Azumaril (scan), Feraligatr (scan), Cloyster/Lapras/Walrein(scan), Golduck, Vaporeon, Politoed (S.O.S. by any Pokemon in the rain at Malie Garden)
First Pokémon: Popplio via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes. Also, heads up, Pelipper now knows the ability Drizzle. Take that into account if you want to make a rain team.

USUM Ideal Team: Primarina, Gyarados/Pelipper, Slowbro/Starmie/Bruxish, Gastrodon, Empoleon (scan), Golisopod/Aquachnid
Optional: Whiscash, Poliwrath, Milotic, Lanturn, Sharpedo/Crawdaunt/Greninja (scan), Tentacruel, Corsola/Relicanth/Caracosta(US), Omastar (US), Kabutops (UM), Jellicent, Clawitzer, Blastoise (scan), Swampert (scan), Cloyster/Lapras/Walrein(scan), Golduck, Vaporeon, Slowking (S.O.S. by Slowpoke in Kala’e Bay), Politoed (S.O.S. by any Pokemon in the rain at Malie Garden)
First Pokémon: Popplio via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes. Also, heads up, Pelipper now knows the ability Drizzle. Take that into account if you want to make a rain team.

Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Inteleon, Gyarados, Gastrodon, Dracovish, Araquanid, Ludicolo (Shield)/Cloyster
Optional: Crawdaunt, Drednaw, Quagsire, Seismitoad, Golisopod, Qwilfish, Toxapex, Whiscash, Wishiwashi, Pyukumuku, Barraskewda, Milotic, Wailord, Lanturn, Mantine, Basculin, Vaporeon, Pelipper, Kingler, Seaking, Octillery, Wash Rotom, Cramorant, Lapras, Jellicent, Arctovish
First Pokémon: Sobble via Starter
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it can be taken care before the first gym!  Which is good because the first gym is Grass.  You might want to consider a Rain team with Pelipper’s Drizzle ability.

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Top 6 Water Starters in Pokemon | LevelSkip

Your Starter

With over 100 Water Pokemon available, it would be overwhelming to list a whole bunch of Pokemon so I’m going to limit it to five key roles that’ll include multiple Pokemon.

By far, the most valuable member on your team is your Water Starter!  Excluding Yellow and the Let’s Go games, you are guaranteed a Water Starter at the start of the game!  Because of this, the Water Starters are the principal reasons why the Water Type is the best type to do a Monotype Run.  They are quite formidable and rank among the strongest non-Mega, non-Legendary Water Pokemon.  The starters come in many different flavors whether it’s their dual typing, stat distribution, Mega forms, or unique moves.

They’re all great but there are some that stand out to me.  Swampert’s Ground typing gives it a nice immunity to Electric moves and a STAB Earthquake attack.  Empoleon’s unique Steel/Water typing gives it a basket of resistances.  Greninja is fast, knows Water Shuriken, and is very cool looking.  And Blastoise can Mega Evolve and learns a a diverse set of moves.  The other four are amazing as well; pick one and have at it!

Quagsire Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Water/Ground

You only have two weaknesses to worry about; Grass and Electric.  Thankfully, you gain a necessary Electric immunity with Water/Ground Pokemon who are super popular and can be found in almost every game!  Not only can they act as a necessary wall but they also have those sweet STAB, Super Effective attacks against your Electric foes!

There are five familes of W/G Pokemon; Quagsire, Swampert, Whiscash, Gastrodon, and Seismitoad.  And the nice thing is they all range from decent to great with some bringing unique abilities or moves to the table.  The OG Quagsire can learn Earthquake naturally since Gen 2 and has the Water Absorb Ability.  Swampert is a starter and can Mega evolve in ORAS.  Gastrodon has the highest Special Attack among the five, naturally learns Earth Power, and knows Water Drain. Seismitoad is ugly and has Swift Swim.  And Whiscash is there.

Of course, the biggest thing to worry about is that 4x weakness to Grass, just don’t even think about facing an Oddish!  Thankfully, you’ll have another team member that will spot you…

Swanna Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon Database

Water/Flying

There since Generation 1, you are guaranteed to find a Water/Flying Pokemon in every game.  That’s awesome!  Sure, there are other Pokemon out there that can wall Grass types like Tentacruel (who is most excellent) but they are nowhere near as common as these flying bois.  They are one of the main reasons why your weaknesses are covered in throughout the games.  They’re pretty much the antithesis of their Ground brethren who lose a weakness but gain a 4x weakness; in this case to Electric moves.

Okay, so Gyarados is incredibly popular, strong and very common!  So when you’re fulfilling your dream role of being an amazing Water trainer then have this sucker on your team!  Biggest thing to think about though is Gyarados has a dismal lack of Flying moves and, imo, doesn’t really become useful until Gen 4 when the Physical/Special split happened.  Still, he can learn a lot of strong physical moves which is great!  If you want Flying moves consider maybe Cramorant or Swanna who can learn them naturally and easily by TMs.  Also, Pelipper, in later generations, has the Drizzle Ability which is super sweet.  Mantine is alright but at least has some decent bulk.

Slowbro Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Move Diversity Learners (e.g., Slowbro, Clawitzer, Octillery, Ludicolo)

This is a relatively broad category but basically, many Water Pokemon are kind of limited in their movesets.  99% of them can learn a strong Ice Move, which is incredible, and over half can learn a strong Ground move like Earthquake.  But finding a Pokemon that knows a Fairy, Grass, Fire, or Electric move can be challenging.  You’ll need a Pokemon that can fill in gaps for you!

Slowbro is probably the best example of a multi-talented Pokemon!  Some Pokemon can learn a diverse set of moves but aren’t able to fully utilize them (like Golisopod).  But Slowbro has a high Special Attack AND can learn Flamethrower, Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, and of course Psychic.  Meanwhile, Clawitzer has the Mega Launcher ability so be sure to have it use Dragon Pulse, Aura Sphere, and Water Pulse (and maybe Flash Cannon or Sludge Wave).  Then you have Octillery who can learn Energy Ball, Flamethrower, Flash Cannon, Sludge Wave, and Psychic.  Finally, Ludicolo can learn the Grass attacks, Elemental Punches and potentially learns Zen Headbutt and Drain Punch.  You should also consider other Pokemon like Lanturn, Tentacruel, and Jellicent for move diversity.

Ludicolo Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...

Rain Users

Our last group includes all the Pokemon boosted by the rain.  Of course, Water attacks are strengthened while it’s raining and Thunder is 100% accurate but there are Pokemon whose abilities make them much better while it’s raining.  This is definitely beneficial if you happen to have a Pelipper from Gen 7 onward who has the Drizzle Ability.  A lot of Water Pokemon have Rain Dish, Swift Swim, or Hydration abilities which are activated in the rain.  Hydration and Rain Dish will be the rarest for you but quite a few Water Pokemon know Swift Swim so if you want to have a fast team then look out for these guys!  For me, I like the idea of having a Rain Dish Ludicolo who can keep chugging along with HP recoveries in Leech Seed, Giga Drain, and Drain Punch.

Andy

March 17, 2020

Hey everyone, I updated the Monotype Chart to version 2.02, all the corrections on it were small but numerous and mainly include adding the number of Pokemon you can catch in a game.  Some of these mistakes were caught by me but a lot were from you so thanks so much for your corrections!

3t019f

Here’s the corrected chart below; again if you see any corrections let me know and thanks again!

Monotype Chart 2.02

Best Pokemon Games for a Steel Type Run

I think out of all the Pokemon types out there the Steel type looks the most intriguing for a Monotype Run.  A Monotype Run is a run where you train only one Pokemon type throughout the game, similar to being a gym leader.  And with the main issue being that you have to watch out for your weaknesses…a Steel type run looks pretty stellar!  After all, there are a lot of Steel Pokemon with dual typings and quite a few of them neutralize their weaknesses!  Steel has also seen a boom in early availability which makes them prime and ready for a Monotype Run.  So let’s take a look which Pokemon games you should play, and which you should avoid, and which Pokemon you should have on your team!

Rules

  1. Only Pokémon of a certain type may be caught and trained.
  2. You must catch the first Pokémon available of that type if your starter does not match that type (you’ll then have to discard that starter).
  3. You may train a Pokémon that evolves to said type as long as you do it ASAP.
  4. No trading allowed.
  5. Mega Pokémon count as long as you Mega Evolve them as soon as they appear on the battlefield.
  6. Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.

Monotype Chart 2.02

Best Games

Fans of the DS, 3DS, and Switch can breathe a sigh of relief as you are more than likely to find a team that can fit you.  Platinum, Sun/Moon, and B2/W2 are great but XY, Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon and Sword/Shield are stellar.  What these latter games have in common is a high abundance of Steel Pokemon, early availability, and notable stars that will carry you to victory.

It’s hard to pick which one of these is my favorite in all honesty.  Even Platinum and B2W2 I like a lot despite the less-than-common Steel Pokemon.  USUM has Empoleon and Metagross which are quite rare, SWSH gives you Rookidee from Route 1 which neutralizes two of your weaknesses (and of course the Wild Area), and XY gives you a Riolu before your first gym and then later a Lucarioite which is fantastic!  However, if you were to twist my arm, I would pick XY because of that sweet Riolu but you also get the likes of Honedge early on (nice), and later pick up Pokemon like Steelix, Aggron (X), Skarmory, Durant, Klefki, and Ferrothorn.  It’s such a nice, diverse team and it’s a shame that neither Bronzong or Metagross are in those games because it would be perfect.

I tell you, when those Sinnoh remakes do come out it’s going to be great for you Steel fans.  So many great Steel Pokemon with Piplup as your starter, I think it’s going to be a wonderful ride.  I haven’t done a Steel run yet, but if I do it will probably be when the remakes come out.

Worst Games

Yeah…not a shocker that Kanto games just straight up suck.  Hope you enjoy that Magneton!  It’s available halfway through the game!  Johto is also not the best as Scizor and Steelix is acquired by trading so you’re limited to just three Pokemon and even then Skarmory is found in just Silver, Crystal, and SS.  Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald are incrementally better as you can neutralize your weaknesses but it’s not a whole team and your first Pokemon is after the first gym.

Image result for Ferrothorn

Pokemon Teams for Each Game

Red/Blue/Yellow and FireRed/LeafGreen
Ideal Team: Magneton
First available Pokémon: Magnemite via Power Plant through surfing (need the Soul Badge)
Covers weaknesses? No, Ground, Fighting, and Fire not neutralized.

 

Gold/Silver/Crystal and HeartGold/SoulSilver
Ideal Team: Magneton, Forretress, Skarmory (S, C, SS)
First Pokémon: Pineco via headbutting trees after the second gym or Magnemite in Suburban Area at 1000+ steps via Pokewalker.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized

 

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald and OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire
Ideal Team: Aggron, Skarmory, Magneton/Magnezone, Mawile (R, E, OR)/Klefki (ORAS), Bronzong (ORAS), Excadrill (ORAS)
Optional Pokémon: Forretress (ORAS), Klinklank (ORAS)
First Pokémon:  In RSE, Aron via Granite Cave shortly before the second gym.  However, in ORAS, the second floor basement is blocked off and you need a Mach Bike to access it.  As such Aron is acquired after the second gym (as well as Mawile in OR).  The earliest Steel Pokemon you can catch in ORAS is a Magnemite via Horde Encounter on Route 110, also after the second gym.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

 

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
Ideal Team: Empoleon, Bastiodon (Pearl and Platinum)/Probopass (Platinum), Bronzong, Lucario, Steelix (Platinum), Magnezone (Platinum)
Optional Pokémon: Dialga (Diamond), Wormadam
First Pokémon: Piplup via starter
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, provided you get a Bronzong that has the Levitate Ability.

 

Black/White and Black2/White2
BW
Ideal Team: Excadrill, Klinklang, Ferrothron, Cobalion, Bisharp, Durant
First Pokémon: Drilbur via Wellspring Cave after first gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized.

B2W2
Ideal Team: Lucario/Cobalion, Metagross, Excadrill, Aggron, Ferrothorn, Skarmory
Optional Pokémon: Klinklang, Probopass, Bisharp, Magnezone
First Pokémon: Riolu via Floccesy Ranch before first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

X/Y
Ideal Team: Lucario, Probopass/Aggron (X), Aegislash, Mawile, Ferrothorn, Durant
Optional Pokémon: Wormadam, Klefki, Bisharp, Magnezone, Skarmory, Steelix
First Pokémon: Burmy via Route 3, before the first gym.  Don’t worry, you’ll get a Riolu soon after via Route 22, also before the first gym.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one. Ground is covered by Ferrothorn, Durant, and Skarmory.  Fire by Probopass/Aggron. Fighting by Mawile, Durant, Wormadam, Aegislash, and Skarmory.

 

Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Metagross, Skarmory, Dugtrio, Bastiodon (Moon)/Probopass, Aegislash (scan), Klefki
Optional Pokémon: Sandslash (Moon), Togedemaru, Magnezone
First Pokémon: Magnemite near the Trainer School, before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Metagross, Skarmory, Empoleon (scan), Dugtrio, Bastiodon (UM)/Probopass, Aegislash (scan)
Optional Pokémon: Sandslash (UM), Togedemaru, Klefki/Mawile, Forretress, Bisharp, Magnezone
First Pokémon: Magnemite near the Trainer School, before the first trial
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Sword/Shield
Ideal Team: Corviknight, Lucario, Bronzong, Ferrothorn, Aegislash, Duraludon
Optional Pokémon: Perrserker, Steelix, Klinklang, Stunfisk, Bisharp, Mawile (Sword), Excadrill, Copperajah, Durant, Togedemaru, Escavalier (Sword Raid)
First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) via Route 1
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Image result for metagrossImage result for bronzong

Metagross and Bronzong

Honestly, I was going back and forth among three different Pokemon who was the top MVP but I landed on our Psychic bois for these principal reasons; their commonality in late games, the handy resistance to Fighting moves and, in particular, Metagross’ stellar stats and Bronzong’s defense.  Starting with Metagross, this is the strongest non-Mega, non-Legendary Steel Pokemon and it has an amazing moveset.  The stellar Attack and the good Special Attack give Metagross the potential to dish out such attacks as Earthquake, Meteor Mash, Ice Punch, Thunder Punch, Shadow Ball, and Hammer Arm.  Pretty sweet.

Bronzong, meanwhile, really leans into its defensive Steel typing with impressive Defense and Special Defense stats but the real reason why you want this bell is its abilities.  Levitate is pretty incredible making it completely immune to Ground moves which is fantastic.  And Heatproof halves Fire damage making it a potential switcher when you’re facing the likes of say a Magmar.  It doesn’t have anything too stellar for attacking but Psychic, Rock Slide, and Grass Knot would be good against the Ground, Fire, and Fighting types.  And it can do a lot of status and defense buffs which is great.

Available in: DPP (Bronzong), B2W2 (Metagross), ORAS (Bronzong), SM and USUM (Metagross), SWSH (Bronzong)

Image result for Lucario

Lucario

Lucario was recently voted as the second most popular Pokemon, behind my frog Greninja, in a 2020 Official Pokemon poll.  And I don’t find this surprising!  Lucario is wonderful and is definitely the cool and stoic mascot of Generation 4.  In our case, Lucario is a fantastic addition for your team as it has so many great things going for it.  The biggest thing?  It’s movepool.  Just scroll through its list of TMs, TRs, Move Tutors, and Level Ups, and its apparent Lucario can learn a lot.  Some simple highlights include Blaze Kick, Dragon Pulse, and Aura Sphere.  Fantastic.

Also, surprisingly, Lucario can be caught early in quite a few games, sometimes before the first gym like XY and B2/W2.  Lucario is the prime reason why these games are great in the first place.  You have on your team a versatile Pokemon with great stats.  Only flaw?  No crucial resistances.  You’re exposed to all three weaknesses.  Whoops.  Welp, at least you can get a Mega Lucario before the Championship in XY.

Available in: DPP, B2W2, XY, SWSH

Image result for aggron

Aggron (along with Bastiodon and Probopass)

Finding a resistance and even immunities to Fighting and Ground moves are easy for your Steel team, for Fire moves…not so much.  Empoleon is a rare starter, Heatran is a legendary, and Duraludon was just introduced.  So that leaves our Rock team members.  Although they’re 4x weak to Fighting AND Ground attacks, the resistance to Fire is so helpful especially since Fire Pokemon are weak to Rock attacks.  You need some sort of counter to them and these guys can do it.

All three of them really embody their Steel/Rock combo and have super high Defense stats.  Additionally, Bastiodon and Probopass have a really high Special Defense stat while Aggron’s is pretty small.  So if you need a wall, it’s these guys.  Unfortunately, Bastiodon and Probopass are really bad attackers so stick to their defense moves if you use them.  Of the three, Aggron, is the strongest and has a really good Attack stat so I suggest him.  Aggron can learn the elemental punches, Dragon Claw, and Aqua Tail so you have a nice variety of moves against your opponents.  Aggron has the ability Rock Head which is supeeeeeer niiiiiiiiice for Head Smash which you can easily get in ORAS.  Also…GET THAT MEGA AGGRON IN ORAS!  Super strong and its Filter Ability halves super effective attacks which is EXCELLENT.

Available in: RSE and ORAS (Aggron), Pearl (Bastiodon), Platinum (Probopass and Bastiodon), B2W2 (Probopass), X (Aggron and Probopass), Y (Probopass), Moon and UM (Bastiodon and Probopass), Sun and US (Probopass)

Image result for Aegislash

Aegislash

I kid you not, as of Sword and Shield, Aegislash has had a near perfect appearance record since its XY debut.  It also has a great habit of appearing relatively early in the respective games being available after the first gym in XY, on the second island via scanning in SM and USUM games, and Hammerlocke Hills in SWSH.  Okay, so why Aegislash?

A startlingly high Attack and Special Attack (150!) makes even substandard moves seem deadly in Aegislash’s sword.  Heck, Aegislash’s move distribution is alright but it doesn’t really matter when you’re packing stats like those right?  Honestly, teach it the likes of Sacred Sword, Shadow Sneak, Iron Head, and Shadow Claw and you’re good!  Biggest disadvantage is obviously that bulk as it’s offense mode has really low defense and HP and it’s quite slow.  So if you’re worried about survival you can keep it’s signature King Shield ability which is quite helpful.  Still though, that immunity to Fighting is freaking sweet.

Available in: XY, SM and USUM (Island Scan), SWSH

Image result for Empoleon

Empoleon

I debated whether to put Empoleon on here or not but I relented because despite its rarity, this starter has a lot of things going for it and is the reason why Platinum is good and USUM is stellar for a Steel run.  First, type combo.  Empoleon is, as of Gen VIII, the only Pokemon that is Water/Steel which is fantastic for your Fire foes but more importantly it gives you a crucial STAB against Ground and Fire Pokemon.  And second, amazing stats,  Empoleon has one of the higher Special Attacks among Steel Pokemon so this means you can use the killer combo of Surf and Ice Beam no problem.  And of course, if you’re playing DPP, or the eventual Sinnoh remakes, you will start off with Piplup as you’re starter which is such a blessing.

Available in: DPP (Starter), USUM (Island Scan)

Image result for skarmory

Skarmory and Corviknight

These two birds are important as they give you an immunity to Ground attacks and a resistance to Fighting attacks.  On the whole, you’re more likely to run into Skarmory, who’s surprisingly common, compared to the very recent Corviknight.  Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of their usefulness.  Their movepool selection is rather small so their Flying moves are appreciated but they won’t do much against your Ground opponents except stalling and whittling them down.  Skarmory also suffers from lack of physical Flying moves and it can only learn strong Special Flying moves by leveling up which it fails to use due to its low Special Attack.  Like, come on, Gamefreak, at least give Skarmory Drill Peck or something…TMs and Move Tutors are nice but doesn’t do much for Skarmory.

Honestly, Skarmory is a fantastic example of just because it blocks your weaknesses doesn’t mean it’s useful.   Skarmory may be great for a Flying Run but given the option I would go for Metagross/Aegislash and Ferrothorn/Durant before picking it up.

Available in: Skarmory in Silver, Crystal, RSE, SoulSilver, B2W2, ORAS, XY, SM, USUM.  Corviknight in SWSH

If Columbo Was Remade, What Would It Be Like?

I think it speaks volumes that Columbo remains one of the most popular shows from both the 70s and from the detective genre.  There’s just nothing else quite like it.  The style, the main character, the soundtrack, and of course, the reverse-whodunit story lines.  Whereas many tv shows older than 30 years may fall by the wayside, Columbo remains an oddly timeless piece despite its very dated setting.  You can sit back, watch an episode, and be enamored by this humble detective and his charismatic, murdering antagonist.  So in this age of reboots, remakes, and sequels, I’ve been asking myself the question: What would a Columbo remake be like?

Columbo’s simple and surprisingly still unique premise can be easily adopted to modern television.  A perpetrator murders their victim and Columbo has to figure out how they done it and how he will catch them.  Through a humble, often forgetful approach, the perpetrator will let down their guard and allow Columbo into their lives even to the point of helping him.  But through slip ups and confusion, they will spiral further and further into Columbo’s figurative trap where he nabs them.  It’s such a splendid show that it works very well despite the formula repeating (almost) every episode.

So I think the Columbo series would fit very well as a miniseries similar to Sherlock.  Instead of producing 22 or even 13 episodes, we can produce maybe 7 or 8 episodes that are about an hour and a half long.  An episode being more than an hour long will definitely help us connect to a new villain and give us time with them which is very valuable.

Additionally, Columbo has two persistent themes that continue from season to season that I think can be adopted very well for the 2020’s; cutting edge technology employed in the murder, and, more importantly, a lower class man outwitting upper class murderers.

That cutting edge technology I think has so much potential.  Sure, it would make our modern Columbo dated within 10 or 20 years of its time but so did the show from the 70’s!  Those ancient computers, subliminal messaging (which is debunked), and, weirdly, Robby the Robot are so humorous to watch nowadays.  Technology shouldn’t stop us here.  This can be anything from a newly developed app, to medical devices, drones, mechanical ingenuity (Battlebots anyone?), smartphones, self-driving cars, AI, virtual reality, and 3D printing.  And this is just off the top of my head!  The use of any of these for murdering people can be done with excellence.  I would love to see the use of that self-driving car, btw, I can totally imagine the murderer be like “Perhaps the car didn’t “see” the victim when it accidentally ran over it.”  Pick any of these and it’s bound to be a fun story.

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Love this episode (from “Mind Over Mayhem”) 

But I think the more important reoccurring story element is the lower class man outmaneuvering the egotistical upper class individual.  The original Columbo show always had hints and elements of this.  Columbo’s car is rusty and on the verge of a breakdown, he smokes cheap cigars and his trench-coat looks old and ragged.  Meanwhile, his antagonists’ homes are large and lavishing, they pursue expensive hobbies, they run large corporations or enterprises, they’re big-time actors, high ranking generals, scumbag politicians, notable doctors, and even a lauded matador.  They may be repelled by Columbo’s cigar or amused by his forgetful and humble mannerisms.  They see themselves as above him and are increasingly frustrated by his persistence and ingenuity.  This iconic symbolism definitely needs to continue in the new series.  Columbo can now go after Bezos or Zuckerberg-esque archetypes.  He can take down greedy bankers, careless oil tycoons, gluttonous Hollywood producers, and insufferable Pharm leaders.  It would be so satisfying to watch.

There should also be a few episodes with a sympathetic villain.  There are several Columbo episodes with likable villains like “Try and Catch Me” or “Bye Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case” and I think a modern audience would really connect to that.  I can real quickly list several murderers that can easily connect with the audience; an abused wife of a rich CEO, a veteran damaged by a corrupt officer, or a scientist whose funding has just been terminated.  Columbo was also not afraid to get political, as seen in “The Conspirators,” so it would be refreshing to see a take on maybe police brutality or immigration.  Again, the well for these villains is deep.

This segues into the big question, who would play Columbo?  The great Peter Falk, God rest his soul, had passed away in 2011, and left a noticeable void in our heart.  His death does make the show’s revival tricky as when you think of Columbo, you think of Peter Falk!  The man and the character are one and the same!

And to a point this is true, but here’s the thing.  Columbo was adopted from the play “Prescription: Murder.”  This play had gone on showings long before Peter Falk took on the role.  The play still continues to this there and there are other actors who’ve played Columbo since Peter Falk’s passing.  They may not have the exact same mannerisms but they still pull of their own interpretation of the character.  So the thought of someone else playing Columbo isn’t that surprising.

And if we really want to separate fans of the classic Columbo to our new one I think it would help to go off the beaten path and hire a female actor to play the lead role.

I want to emphasize that this is not “Mrs. Columbo;” this is “Lt. Columbo” who works in the police force.  After all, Columbo is just a last name and we were never confirmed what Peter Falk’s character’s first name is.  He always introduced himself as Lt. Columbo and everyone would refer to him as such.  This new Columbo would be the same.

I honestly think this can open a lot of cool and unexpected doors for our new female lead.  The most prominent of which is that underestimation that so many murderers have against Columbo.  A female lead would honestly benefit from this (which is an unfortunate truth about our society).  But can you imagine some douchey CEO who thinks he got away with the perfect murder and in walks this shabbily dressed lady who seems meek and polite?  He thinks he’s got this in the bag!  And then his whole world comes crashing down as she just brings him down, down, down, and down.  God I would pay to see that.

I think another thing that might strengthen our new Columbo would be making her Latina.  I can imagine her being the daughter of immigrants and growing up in a poor neighborhood.  In all the vague story recollections and character interactions we had with Falk’s Columbo, we are given the impression that this Italian man feels for his people and for the downtrodden.  He wants to make sure they are well and he understands their plight.  Our Latina Columbo could do this in spades; she can interact with folks who can help her solve the case (maids, drivers, construction workers, landscapers, and etc.).  Time and time again, Columbo has asked the help of the working class and the poor to help him and they oblige as his friendly and easy going nature really brings them to his side.  Latina Columbo can easily achieve this, especially if the series took place in California again.

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And they should definitely bring back a dog…maybe a French Bulldog?  

I think one thing this new series should definitely not change is Columbo’s mysterious personal life.  I know it would be tempting to give her a backstory, and show her family, and give her goals and challenges but honestly?  We already have plenty of that in other shows.  The new Columbo show should really hold firm on her mysterious backstory.  Focus on the murderer, the episode’s protagonist, and learn from them why we should care for them and even secretly hope they get away.  The murderers are the actual driving force behind the story.

Who would play our new Columbo?  Honestly, I wouldn’t know who to pick as I don’t really have an eye for that.  Really, I think it should be a nobody, somebody that hasn’t big on any major television or movie roles.  I think that may make some Universal execs feel uncomfortable with that but remember that a lot of the guest stars in the original Columbo series were relatively famous.  They were really recognizable back then and some are still recognizable today like William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Leslie Nielsen, Janet Leigh, and Dick Van Dyke to name a few.  I think it would be really fun if we had the likes of Bryan Cranston, Emilia Clarke, or Kumail Nanjiani play as guest murderers.  The previous series had plenty of Oscar-winning stars guest star so it’s not a stretch to see that high level of fame for here too.

The potential for our new Columbo series would be amazing given our current circumstances.  I think modern audiences would love the character relationships, the ingenious murderous plots, and of course, Columbo herself.  What do you guys think?  Would you like to see another Columbo series?  Who do you think should play her (or him if you want)?  Let me know!

Oh and one more thing, regardless of gender, Columbo needs to have her Misses Columbo.  That’s gotta stay!

Best Pokemon Games for a Flying Type Run

Would you be surprised if I told you that the Flying Type in Pokemon is among the best types ever to do a Monotype Run??  In fact, it’s so good, I’d rate it as the third best behind Water and Normal Type.  Why is that?  Well, you can find a plethora of Flying Pokemon throughout the games, with very few exceptions you can catch your first Flying Type before the first gym (and even as a Starter!), and it’s surprisingly easy to cover their weaknesses.  The diversity Flying Pokemon have is absolutely amazing and they were the first of the 18 types to be paired with every other type.  You will have a fun time with this often overlooked team of Pokemon.  Let’s take a look at the best and worst games in the series for a Flying Type Run and which Pokemon you should be looking out for!

Rules

  1. Only Pokémon of a certain type may be caught and trained.
  2. You must catch the first Pokémon available of that type if your starter does not match that type (you’ll then have to discard that starter).
  3. You may train a Pokémon that evolves to said type as long as you do it ASAP.
  4. No trading allowed.
  5. Mega Pokémon count as long as you Mega Evolve them as soon as they appear on the battlefield.
  6. Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.

Monotype Chart 2.02Best Games

Okay, so here’s the thing.  There’s quite a few Pokemon games that I would recommend for a Flying Type Run, in fact if you go to my game-specific articles, you will frequently find Flying as among the best types in each game.  So writing about every single game that does well would be time consuming and frankly bloated so let’s keep it short.

Old school games hold up well here but I really like the Kanto and Johto games as their Flying diversity is almost unparalleled and you can train the likes of the Legendary Birds, Charizard, and Aerodactyl in Kanto and Xatu, Skarmory/Gligar, Crobat, and Ho-oh/Lugia in Johto.  In both games you can also train Gyarados, Dragonite, a host of Normal/Flying Pokemon, and many bugs as well.  The Johto remakes, HGSS, also get a boost with the likes of Yanmega, Honchkrow, and Gliscor (all of which I love, love, love, love!).

If I had to pick one series of games that are the best it would be Pokemon XY.  No other games in the entire series comes close to matching the diversity of Flying Pokemon here as you can train over 30 unique families!!  This diversity means you can constantly switch in and out certain Pokemon and pick a whole host of favorites without feeling too constrained by type weaknesses.  The fact you can get a Charizard, Aerodactyl, Yanmega, Gliscor, and Salamence really sells it for me.

Worst Games

Pokemon Black/White are the worst games for a Flying Type Run.  What’s funny is that this team is not necessarily bad just not as good as other games.  The biggest drawback is that “late” first Pokemon which you can only get after the first gym (Black/White are the only games in the entire series to do this).  This is also the game with the lowest amount of Pokemon you can train and you’re exposed to your weaknesses.  Still though, you can get a full team of unique flyers and you can train the likes of Sigilyph, Archeops, and Emolga.  Ironically, Black and White are also the only games in the series where you can catch either a Tornadus (Black) or Thundurus (White) before the Championship and they’re really good Flying Pokemon.  B2W2 are so much better so you should go for those.  You can train a Gliscor, Skarmory, Vespiquen, and many others!

 

 

Pokemon Games and their Flying Teams

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Charizard, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Gyarados, Zapdos, Articuno
Optional: Pidgeot, Fearow, Dodrio, Scyther (Red, FireRed, Yellow), Moltres
First Pokémon: Charmander via starter or Pidgey (Yellow) via Route 1.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Rock is not covered.

 

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Dragonite, Gligar/Gliscor (G, C, HG)/Skarmory (S, C, SS), Murkrow/Honchkrow, Jumpluff/Togekiss (HGSS), Xatu
Optional: Dodrio, Pidgeot, Spearow, Mantine (G, C, HG), Crobat, Yanma/Yanmega, Scyther, Ledian, Butterfree (G, C, HG), Farfetch’d, Ho-Oh (G, HG), Lugia (S, SS)
First Pokémon: Pidgey and Hoothoot via Route 29 before the first gym.
Via Pokewalker Pidgey (Refreshing Field at 0+ steps), Doduo (Refreshing Field at 2000+ steps), Spearow (Noisy Forest at 0+ steps), Hoothoot (Rugged Field at 0+ steps and Suburban Area at 0+ steps), Murkrow (Suburban Area at 1000+ steps), Zubat (Dim Cave at 0+ steps), and Dratini (Blue Lake at 5000+ steps) are available.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, regardless of your version

 

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and ORAS
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Salamence, Swellow, Ninjask, Skarmory, Xatu
Optional: Beautifly, Masquerain (R, S, ORAS), Pelipper, Crobat, Altaria, Tropius, Honchkrow (ORAS), Drifblim (ORAS), Togekiss (ORAS), Mega-Pinsir (ORAS), Mandibuzz (ORAS), Chatot (ORAS), Unfezant (ORAS), Pidgeot (ORAS), Braviary (ORAS), Rayquaza (Emerald)
First Pokémon: Wurmple via Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Vespiquen/Yanmega (Platinum), Drifblim, Honchkrow (Diamond), Gliscor (Platinum), Tropius (Platinum)
Optional: Staraptor/Noctowl/Chatot/Togekiss (Platinum), Pelipper/Mantine
First Pokémon: Starly via Route 201
Covers Weaknesses? Only in Platinum, in Diamond and Pearl the Electric and Rock types are not neutralized.

 

Pokemon Black/White and Black2/White2
BW Ideal Team: Tornadus (B)/Thundurus (W), Sigilyph, Archeops, Emolga, Swanna, Braviary (W)/Mandibuzz (B)
Optional: Swoobat, Unfezant
First Pokémon: Pidove via Route 3 after the first gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Skarmory, Gliscor, Emolga, Altaria, Swanna, Sigilyph
Optional: Swoobat, Crobat, Unfezant, Drifblim, Mantine, Pelipper, Mandibuzz (B2)/Braviary (W2), Delibird, Vespiquen
First Pokémon: Pidove via Route 20 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Talonflame/Charizard, Gyarados, Gliscor, Salamence/Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Honchkrow
Optional: Ninjask, Mothim, Butterfree, Swanna, Pelipper, Swellow, Vivillon, Jumpluff, Swoobat, Crobat, Drifblim, Emolga, Hawlucha, Sigilyph, Staraptor, Mantine, Fan Rotom, Skarmory, Noivern, Pidgeot, Altaria, Scyther, Yanmega, Delibird
First Pokémon: Pidgey, Scatterbug, and Fletchling via Route 2
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one.  You can have several different team matchups and still have your bases covered.

 

Pokemon Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Toucannon, Gyarados, Drifblim, Aerodactyl, Salamence, Skarmory
Optional: Braviary (Sun)/Mandibuzz (Moon), Crobat, Talonflame, Masquerain, Honchkrow, Minior, Fearow, Staraptor (scan), Oricorio (4 forms), Dartrix
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Toucannon, Gyarados, Charizard (scan), Aerodactyl, Salamence, Skarmory
Optional: Braviary (US)/Mandibuzz (UM), Crobat, Talonflame, Masquerain, Honchkrow, Minior, Xatu, Tropius, Hawlucha, Noivern, Pidgeot, Fearow, Noctowl, Drifblim, Oricorio (4 forms), Dartrix
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Corviknight, Noivern, Sigilyph, Togekiss, Gyarados, Hawlucha
Optional: Swoobat, Braviary (Sword), Mandibuzz (Shield), Xatu, Noctowl, Unfezant, Butterfree, Pelipper, Delibird, Ninjask, Vespiquen, Drifblim, Fan Rotom, Cramorant, Mantine
First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) and Hoothoot and Caterpie by random encounters (5% and 15%) via Route 1.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

MVPs (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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The Early Bird

In every single Pokemon game, excluding Pokemon Black and White, you can catch a Flying Pokemon on the first route.  These birds are the primary reason why the Flying type is amazing for a Monotype Run.  They evolve into a strong final form who can pack quite a punch!  Most of them can learn Dark, Bug, Fighting, and Steel moves which is nice.  Really the biggest thing that’s holding (most of) them back is their Normal typing which doesn’t offer much for diversity and defense.

One thing I’m beginning to notice about these birds is that Gamefreak is making them more and more unique in later generations.  Up until Generation 5 they were pretty similar but in Gen 6 we got Talonflame with its nice Fire/Flying combo, Toucannon has a super high Attack stat which goes well with Beak Blast, and now Corviknight offers an amazing defense with its Steel/Flying.  They really make those later generations that much better for a Flying run.

Available in: Every game’s first route except BW who only appear after the first gym.

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Gyarados (and other Water/Flying Pokemon)

There since Generation 1, Water/Flying Pokemon are rather ubiquitous in their occurrences.  Six out of the so far eight generations have introduced at least one new Water/Flying Pokemon and every game contains at least one catchable family.  The Water typing gives your team access to moves you may otherwise lack mainly Water and Ice attacks.  You also get a nifty neutralization from Ice moves and a STAB attack against Rock Pokemon with the trade off being that 4x weakness to Electric (which honestly, as far as problems go, this one is at least manageable).  Although Swanna and the others are fine the best one by far is also the most common and of course I’m talking about Gyarados.

I cannot stress how important it is to have Gyarados on your team, especially starting Gen 4 onwards.  The physical/special split really benefited Gyarados’ high Attack stats so it can use Waterfall incredibly well.  Although Gyarados’ Flying movepool is pretty poor, that’s okay as you have at least five other team members who can more than make up for this.  You can teach Gyarados anything from Outrage to Iron Head, Ice Fang to Crunch, and most delicious of them all, Dragon Dance.  I would say your biggest problem is its Magikarp stage but given that it evolves at level 20 it’s honestly not even that big of a deal considering you would be at your second or third gym by then.

Available in: Every game.  Gyarados can be found in every game except Black/White and B2W2.

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Gliscor/Gligar

So once you get your Gyarados the next question you should ask is, can I get a Gligar or Gliscor?  Gliscor pairs amazingly well with your Water Pokemon thanks to its immunity to Electric moves (which is really nice) and Rock neutralization.  Not only that, a STAB Earthquake attack is sooooo gooooooood and can really stick it to any Electric or Rock Pokemon that trouble you.  Gliscor also knows a variety of elemental fang attacks, Rock Slide (nice), Poison Jab (Poison is surprisingly rare for Flyers), and some very strong Dark and Bug moves.

Like Gyarados, Gliscor suffers from an okay selection of Flying moves and a 4x weakness, this time to Ice attacks (this is not too bad as Gliscor will already be avoiding Water Pokemon anyway).  Gliscor is also not that common so pay attention to that when you pick your games.  And finally, Gliscor did not become available until gen 4 so if you’re playing Gen 2 then you’re stuck with Gligar.  Thankfully, don’t fret about your Electric or Rock weaknesses as there are other Pokemon to help you out like…

Available in: Gold, Crystal, Platinum, HeartGold, B2W2, and XY

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Dragon/Flying Pokemon

Neutralizing your Electric problems (with a 4x weakness to Ice moves) are the Dragons who are amazing additions to your team.  The four Pokemon are really common and it would be hard to miss one for your team.  Salamence and Dragonite are the strongest, non-Legendary, non-Mega Flying Pokemon.  They can deliver powerful attacks both physical and special, they are fast, and they can take the hits.  You also have the plethora of moves they can learn which adds a lot of necessary diversity to your team.  They both can learn Earthquake to take care of your Electric foes.  They are frankly wonderful.  Your biggest downsides for these two are their late game appearances compounded by late evolutions which means you’ll have to be very patient if you want one on your team.

On the flip side you have Noivern and Altaria, who trade their lower stats for easier training and commonality.  Altaria…it’s alright…nothing too special, but it does learn Moonblast, one of the few Flying Pokemon that can learn a strong Flying move.  Noivern is definitely where its at though both with speed and design.  Its decent Special Attack stat means you can use some great moves like Boomburst, Flamethrower, Psychic, and Shadow Ball.  I also like how you can catch Noibat relatively early in Pokemon SWSH.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Dragonite), GSC and HGSS (Dragonite), RSE and ORAS (Salamence and Altaria), B2W2 (Altaria), XY (all four), SM (Salamence), USUM (Salamence and Noivern), SWSH (Noivern)

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Skarmory and Corviknight

Taking care of your Rock and Ice weaknesses (pairs nicely with your dragons…) are Skarmory and Corviknight.  Steel/Flying is one of those type combos that works so extremely well.  The Flying type is immune to Ground and neutralizes the Fighting weakness and the Steel neutralizes Ice and Rock attacks.  Of the two, you’re more likely to run into Skarmory, who’s surprisingly common, compared to the very recent Corviknight.  Your main advantage in carrying these guys is defense so if you have a tricky opponent you can throw them out to stall or to dish out status-based moves.  Admittedly, their movepool selection is rather small but they can still learn the standard Steel moves which is nice to have against Rock and, especially, Ice Pokemon.

Available in: Skarmory in Silver, Crystal, RSE, SoulSilver, B2W2, ORAS, XY, SM, USUM.  Corviknight in SWSH

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Charizard

I don’t think you’ll need me to convince you to train a Charizard!  It’s Charizard!  Who wouldn’t want to train one??

But it goes deeper than just pure joy of having one on your team.  First, Charizard, of course, is a starter.  You pick Charmander in RBY or FRLG and you’re good to go!  You can also catch one just before Mount Moon in Let’s Go and get one from a trainer after Mount Moon in Yellow.  So Charmander can be found relatively early if not the start of your game.  But! It can also be found outside of Kanto!  You can train one in both XY (with the bonus Mega Evolutions) and in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon via Island Scan.  That’s nice.  But you know what’s also nice???  That movepool diversity is delicious.  Fire moves are stellar and all but you also have Dragon Pulse, Rock Slide, Earthquake, Thunder Punch, Shadow Claw, and Brick Break.  Excellent.  Biggest thing to worry about are Rock moves which are killer.  The Ice resistance is appreciated but a Pokemon that can learn an Ice move may be a Water type so that’s a bit rough.  Regardless, Gamefreak’s affection towards their favorite starter means you’ll have a nice time with your fiery buddy.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Starter), LG and Yellow, XY, and USUM (Via Island Scan), SWSH (via max raid battle but they are extremely rare, you can check it out here)

 

A Review of the 2020 Oscar’s Best Animated Shorts

I was pleasantly surprised by 2020 Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short.  In previous years, you see a deluge of American (and sometimes Canadian or British) shorts.  This year, not only do we see a surprising mixture of shorts from different countries but we’re seeing vastly different art styles telling intense story lines along a sliding scale of comedy and drama.  In previous years, it was rather easy for me to decide which was my favorite but this is the first time that I had to seriously consider among not two but three of the nominees!  They were that good.  Let’s go through each of the nominees and end with “Hair Love,” which is my pick for best animated short of 2020.

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Daughter

From Czech Republic, “Daughter” focuses on the story between a woman and her dying father and their strained relationship.  Right off the bat, we are tuned into the short’s art style which is probably the most distinct out of the five.  The stop motion combined with the jolting camera is one of the most surreal experiences I have ever seen and really makes you feel close and personal with the characters despite their obviously non-human like appearance (as a side note, this short’s art style reminded me of the 2007 Animated Short Winner, “Peter and the Wolf” which was produced in Russia).

I admit that I was slow to grasp the story’s message, handling death and our mortality, due to unusual shots and jittery editing.  It wasn’t until afterwards, when Mary and I were discussing it, that we landed on that mortality theme.  Part of the story involved the girl finding a dead bird, showing the bird to her dad (who didn’t know how to console her), running to her room, and then changing into said bird.  The daughter reminisced this as she was in a hospital room with her dying dad when a bird flew into the hospital’s window and died upon impact.

All of this coincided with the daughter’s internal struggle about whether or not her dad loved her.  The lack of fatherly affection eventually drove her away from him and the last she saw of him (before his death) was through a train window.  Thankfully, she receives an uplifting clue of his love as she found her bird mask underneath his pillow.  A sign that he remembers her fondly even after she left him.

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Sister

Family themes were very strong in this year’s shorts as demonstrated in this odd but thought provoking piece, “Sister,” produced by both American and Chinese collaborators.  This stop motion piece (involving very fuzzy set pieces), tells the story of a man talking about his younger sister during childhood.  Only it turns out, he doesn’t have a sister, due to China’s One Child Policy.  This reveal dramatically shifts the piece from nostalgic remembering to wishful thinking.  Where his parents instead of getting an abortion had raised a second child.

What stood out to me about this story was the very weird child imaginations of games and memories.  The enlarging of the sister-baby was humorous but I was uncomfortable of the belly button…noodle?…and the baby suddenly changing to a balloon.  I DID like the tooth tree though!  That was pretty great.  Although the reveal that his sister’s existence was fabricated, I do feel like we could’ve stayed on them longer and allow us time to care and grow with the two siblings and make the impact stronger.  Still, I love that critical message against the One Child Policy, it’s a subject that unfortunately doesn’t get talked about a lot.

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Kitbull

This year’s token Pixar short, “Kitbull,” is so delightfully different from Pixar’s usual style that I was really struggling whether or not to pick it for my overall winner.  It’s true, I think that Pixar gets a lot of credit for being a great animation but sometimes I’m like, let’s give someone else a shot!

Anyway!  “Kitbull” is so delightfully cute that it pains me.  The kitten is probably the best animated kitten I have ever seen and it really just carries this film.  I love the way that it freaks out, that it flips on the dime between playful and scared, and all its adorable kitten noises.  The pit bull, the second of our deuteragonists, is kind and playful but is scarred by emotional and physical abuse but acts as a soft foil to our feisty kitty.  I think this is one of the best representations of pit bulls in media and that’s awesome.  This short is further propelled by its soft art, it’s clean animation, and its easy-to-follow story despite the lack of a narrator.

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Memorable

“Memorable” hails from France and is actually not the first time we’ve seen an Animated Short from France about memory loss (2016’s “The Head Vanishes,” was submitted but not nominated) but this short was so wonderful that I broke down crying by the end of the credits.  The art style and story are very in-tuned with each other, its impressionistic style reflects upon the main character’s artistic talent.  And as the artist’s mind is slowly fading away leaving him a shadow of his former self, the art style degrades making the world more and more abstract and empty (I love that he himself is becoming rougher and rougher around the edges to demonstrate his memory loss).

Despite the very heavy theme this story carries, it manages to find room for levity whether it’s the funky, Tim Burton-esque characters or, more importantly, the husband’s sense of humor which gives this character depth.  You can honestly imagine what this man was like before he lost his memory and why his wife fell in love with him in the first place.  This comes to a dramatic ending of sadness and humor as he dances with his wife and her colors slowly float away leaving a blank canvas that is now his mind.

Hair Love

“Hair Love,” produced in America, is my pick for Best Animated Short and I’m pleasantly surprised it won it despite the heavy competition.  Honestly, everything about it was just so tight and focused.  The animation style was appealing, I fell in love with the characters (and I want to hang out with the dad), and the pacing was really wonderful.  But overall that story was just really good.

I just love how everything flowed together and we didn’t need any narration to help us along the way.  The young girl wakes up to and excitedly checks her calendar to realize it’s a big day, today.  What that day is we don’t know until the end of the short when we realize her mom is being released from the hospital.  That’s a great pay off.  But what’s even better is that twist that her mom was the same woman who guided her on the internet hair style videos.  Yes!  So good!

And this I think makes the short that much better on a second watch!  The dad’s struggles aren’t just to appeal his daughter but to connect with her and, by second-hand, his wife.  I love that animation bit where he’s struggling to control her hair and it turns into a full on boxing match!  So great.  It’s nice that out of the heavy themes and rather depressing stories we were given this year, the one that won was uplifting, optimistic, full of heart and “Hair Love.”  Well done!

A side note about nominee reactions

Hey ShortsTV, I have a favor to ask.  It’s fine to show the creators reacting to their nominations but can we NOT show it during the end credits?  It can really detract from the watching experience, especially after watching something heavy like “Sister” or “Memorable.”  Thanks!

Tangle Tower Review and Overall Thoughts

Spoiler-Free Review Summary: Despite no previous experience with Detective Grimoire, I was able to almost instantly fall in love with Tangle Tower thanks to its kooky characters, twisting story-line, hassle-free gameplay, and soothing music.  Fans of either Professor Layton or Ace Attorney would enjoy this point-and-click adventure game as time and time again I felt very happy and satisfied when clues came together and solutions arise.  The game’s art style is incredibly appealing and unique and I love each characters’ many expressions and voice acting.  The game’s main shortcomings stems from its shortness as it can easily be finished in just a few sittings.  Because of which, the ending left a lot of questions unanswered and made me yearn for more (in both a positive and negative way).  Nevertheless, I eagerly look forward to more Detective Grimoire and Sally games by the small but impressive video game company SFB Games.

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Overall Thoughts and Opinions (Spoilers): 

In the span of a few months Mary and I have played together two point-and-click (PaC) adventure games on the Switch; Thimbleweed Park and now Tangle Tower.  Of the two, I honestly think Tangle Tower does a better job with its concept and execution and left us more satisfied and less frustrated.  First, and foremost, Tangle cuts down on the frustrating pixel-hunting features that can plague PaC games including Thimbleweed.  It helps that objects are nicely drawn and recognizable which is further aided by Grimoire and Sally wry comments on said-object even when it has no relevant to the plot point.  This translates nicely to the puzzles (second), which did not feel frustrating as Mary and I fiddled with the gears, contraptions, and levers.  If we wanted a certain part to go in a certain place the part would snap to it without unnecessary fidgeting.  Finally, Thimbleweed was too full of itself and left an ending that was ultimately unsatisfying unlike Tangle which, despite some head-scratching unanswered questions (more about that later), overall left me satiated.

Overall, Tangle Tower was a fun and amazing time for Mary and I!  We loved it and found the game’s laissez-faire approach to let us do our own thing very rewarding.  The clues and mysteries definitely reminded me of Professor Layton but handled better as we were the ones solving these crazy questions.  The game’s intuitive approach of letting us mix-and-match solutions with nouns and verbs was a very fun process and something that was actually helpful if we weren’t sure how to solve the question.   The lack of a penalty for incorrect guesses may make the game easy for some but to us it was still a rewarding experience.

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But God, those characters are just the real selling points.  I just love the way they’re designed from Fifi’s squashed body, mass-of-hair, and single eye, to Professor Pointer’s melting face, rooftop hair, and squirming fingers.  And they all are just so beautifully animated with those squiggle lines and various dramatic poses.  You can tell that SFB Games has really placed a lot of love into this game further boosted by the years of programming experience they accrued.  Even our main characters have a sense of style to them and I especially like the sarcastic Sally with her three-sphere hair design and cute, tiny jacket.

Each character also has their own leitmotif and there are quite a few exploring themes as seen on the game’s website.  This helps reduce the repetition and really hone in on a room’s personality which is quite nice.  My favorite songs are ones that involved the piano with their slow and thoughtful tunes; part of me wishes the whole soundtrack was like that so I can listen to it while studying.  As a side note, the music and animation honestly remind me of the Microsoft computer games I grew up playing like Math Blaster or Magic School Bus.

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So one of the things I like about Tangle Tower is that you can show each character either a clue or a character’s portrait and with only a few exceptions out of the many combinations, the characters will respond with unique dialogue AND I LOVE THAT.  I’m so used to earlier PaC games, even Professor Layton and alike, to give generic dialogue when an irrelevant item is shown to a person (“I don’t know what that is” or “I can’t help you with that”).  It helps that there’s only like nine characters but still, the amount of dialogue in this game is tremendous.  And I like how the characters responses either reflect their personality, or give insight to a clue or another character, or point you to another character who could better assist you (it honestly reminds me of the Full Motion Video detective game “Contradiction!” which you all should check out).  One of the best examples of this is Poppy’s old photograph and how everyone kept lying who the girl is even though they know full well it’s Poppy.

These clues and character dialogue really make it fun to piece together the evidence and draw conclusions.  Mary and I would frequently bounce ideas and inferences off each other and usually by the time we had a great idea, Grimoire and Sally weren’t far behind.  This created an almost frustration-free environment as some games, like Ace Attorney, I’m just impatiently waiting for the detective to catch up to me when I have already figured it out 20 minutes ago.

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Unfortunately, many of the interesting plot points or character mysteries go unsolved or fall by the wayside at the end of the game.  I imagine that some of them acted as red herrings, to distract us from the bigger picture, and if that was the creators’ intention then it certainly worked but it still doesn’t explain some of the more pressing issues or confusing head-scratchers I felt should have been solved.

This includes but not limited to

  • Why did the lake rise and was that related to the new towers?
  • What was the other 10% of the Golden Beetle’s shell made of?
  • When did Penelope switch the red ink with the blood when she had very limited time to escape the attic and change clothes?  Was it before Freya started painting?  Also, WHO’S BLOOD IS IT???
  • What happened to that Inkdip bird?

And then there’s the other confusing evidence and plot points that I felt could’ve been straightened out a bit nicer like

  • Didn’t Grimoire realize during the statements review that Felix CLEARLY said he heard two people going down the stairs???  I felt like that should’ve been addressed by him or Sally during their review.
  • How the hell did Penelope/Hawkshaw manage to change in and out of costume without raising any kind of suspicion?  I feel like that should have been noted by the family members.
  • Why did Penelope have to kill Freya exactly?  Even though Freya found out the family’s secret was it going to jeopardize anything?

I think many of these problems stem from the game’s rather rushed ending which seems to be the biggest complaint a lot of people have for this game.  I think Mary and I finished it in like 6 hours or so?  It wasn’t very long that’s for sure.  It was actually kind of funny because the first couple of chapters or so were pretty long and then all of a sudden they just kept coming bam, bam, bam, one after the other!  The introduction of the mystids, the ambassadors, and the secret rooms, were fine but I felt like we could’ve stayed on them much longer.  I wish I heard what the other characters thought about the ambassadors and the secret room.  I also wanted to explore all four of the mystids including the amphibious creatures.  If the game added an extra hour of gameplay I felt it could’ve wrapped it up a bit nicer and not as an exposition dump in the end.

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I agree with you Grimoire, this was another minor thing that bugged me too

At this point though I am nitpicking a very fun and smart game.  You know that feeling you get when you play something and realize it was something you didn’t need until the moment you had it?  That was me for Tangle Tower.  It felt both new and familiar at the same time and I just love everything that made it for what it was.  I’m going to be playing “Detective Grimoire” after this but I got the sneaking feeling I won’t be enjoying the game as much as this one thanks in large part to the art style but we’ll see.  SFB Games, when you make another game, please include Sally in it as she really makes the game that much better.

Final thoughts and notes

  • I totally ship Fitz and Poppy, such a potentially cute couple
  • The creative puzzles were at the right level of difficulty.  That magnifying key puzzle was a bit of a pain but we got through to it in the end!
  • The damaged cassette tape was pretty creepy with the humming and all.
  • The map was amazing and definitely helpful to visualize where everyone was during the murder
  • Kind of disappointed that Penelope didn’t have bird arms in the end
  • So Felix just straight up didn’t carve a Fifi statue for Flora (her mom).  Yikes, poor Fifi.
  • Can we agree that Professor Pointer is a creep for peeping on Flora?
  • Love all the side conversations and settings of Tangle Tower, really hones in the history of the place.  I think this was most apparent for Freya’s storage-turned-bedroom.  Really shows how the family thought of her.