Tag Archives: video games

Best Monotype Runs in Pokemon Crystal Clear

In preparation for the upcoming open world Pokemon Scarlet and Violet games I want to go off the path and do a rom hack, specifically Pokemon Crystal Clear! A heavily modded version of the original Pokemon Crystal, the rom hack gives you a plethora of starters, an open world-start anywhere map, and every pokemon available to you before the Elite Four! This even includes Pokemon you’ll have to trade to evolve which is AMAZING. The play possibilities are endless but how do Monotype Runs fare? Let’s take a look at the winners and losers along with your teams but first, the rules!

Monotype Run 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 evolve it ASAP.
  4. No out-of-game trading allowed (not that it matters here).
  5. Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.

Best/Most Improved Types

Water, Flying, Normal are great yadda yadda yadda. Same as before in the regular versions. Even then these already splendid teams get further boosts like Flying gives you the Legendary Birds while Water gets the like of Kingdra and Blastoise so that’s neat! Also you can get a Snorlax now for my Normies which is quite delightful.

The more interesting question is which is the most improved type? Hard to say as every type gets a boost in some way. Honestly? Rock is hella good now. You can get all the fossil Pokemon (which covers your weaknesses) and when you add a Golem to the mix then this team is looking pretty good! And the holy grail? Motherflippin Tyranitar! Now you can get a Larvitar near the beginning of the game instead of waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay at the end which was incredibly frustrating. Going to be a pain tracking down all the fossils but that’s part of the journey!

Oh and seriously consider Ice as now you can get either a Seel or a Smoochum as a starter. Believe it or now you’ll have a team with all the weaknesses covered! Heck, Jynx, Lapras, and Articuno alone should be enough to convince you. Dark is now a contender thanks to the Houndour starter and a diverse team of Tyranitar, Sneasel, Murkrow, and Umbreon.

Worst Types

Even with everything available practically from the get-go not every type is a winner. Specifically, Dragon and Ghost. We have no starters for either of them and you have two different families for each as your team. And even then both have their own unique flaws. Gastly is just AWFUL in that early stage as you’ll basically Lick your opponents to death so be prepared for that! And Dratini you’ll have to surf around Dragon’s Den to find one and then raise the little guy which is also tedious. At least you can get a fully evolved Kingdra and Gengar! So it’s not…bad bad per say.

Type Teams

Bug
Ideal Team: Heracross, Venomoth, Shuckle, Parasect, Scyther, Scizor
Optional: Butterfree, Beedril, Ledian, Ariados, Yanma, Forretress, Pinsir
Starter? Nope
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Dark
Ideal Team: Murkrow, Umbreon, Tyranitar, Sneasel, Houndoom
Starter? Houndour
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, thanks to Murkrow

Dragon
Ideal Team: Dragonite, Kingdra
Starter?: None
Covers Weaknesses? No

Electric
Ideal Team: Raikou, Ampharos, Magneton, Lanturn, Raichu, Zapdos
Optional: Electrode, Jolteon, Electabuzz
Starter? Pikachu, Pichu, Elekid, Voltorb
Covers Weaknesses? Yep

Fighting
Ideal Team: Machamp, Poliwrath, Heracross, Hitmontop, Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee
Optional: Primeape
Starter? Tyrogue
Covers Weaknesses? Psychic and Flying not neutralized.

Fire
Ideal Team: Charizard, Magmar, Arcanine, Magcargo, Ho-Oh, Entei
Optional: Flareon, Rapidash, Ninetales, Typhlosion
Starter? Charmander, Ponyta, Cyndaquil, Magby, Growlithe, Houndour 
Covers Weaknesses? No; Rock and Water are not covered

Flying
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Dragonite, Gligar, Zapdos, Charizard, Xatu
Optional: Dodrio, Pidgeot, Spearow, Mantine, Crobat, Yanma, Scyther, Ledian, Butterfree, Farfetch’d, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Togetic, Jumpluff, Skarmory, Delibird, Murkrow, Articuno, Moltres, Aerodactyl
Starter? Togepi, Magikarp, and Charmander
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Ghost
Ideal Team: Gengar, Misdreavus
Starter? No
Covers Weaknesses? No, Ghost and Dark not neutralized

Grass
Ideal Team: Meganium, Jumpluff, Venusaur, Exeggutor, Parasect, Celebi
Optional: Tangela, Victreebel, Vileplume, Bellossom, Sunflora
Starter? Chikorita, Bulbasaur
Covers Weaknesses? No, Flying, Ice, and Fire are not neutralized.

Ground
Ideal Team: Quagsire, Steelix, Golem, Nidoking/Nidoqueen, Piloswine, Gligar
Optional: Golem, Onix, Donphan, Sandslash, Rhydon, Marowak, Dugtrio
Starter? Nope
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Ice
Ideal Team: Piloswine, Lapras, Sneasel, Cloyster, Jynx, Articuno
Optional: Delibird, Dewgong
Starter? Smoochum
Covers Weaknesses? Surprisingly yes

Normal
Ideal Team: Pidgeot, Clefable, Snorlax, Girafarig, Porygon2, Tauros
Optional: Stantler, Urasaring, Fearow, Noctowl, Kangaskhan, Lickitung, Aipom, Persian, Furret, Raticate, Ditto, Dunsparce, Farfetch’d, Dodrio, Togetic, Miltank, Wigglytuff, Blissy
Starter? Igglybuff, Cleffa, Eevee, Togepi, Porygon, Ditto
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Poison
Ideal Team: Gengar, Venomoth, Tentacruel, Venusaur, Crobat, Nidoking/Nidoqueen
Optional: Muk, Weezing, Arbok, Ariados, Beedril, Victreebel, Vileplume
Starter? Bulbasaur 
Covers Weaknesses? No, Psychic is not neutralized.

Psychic
Ideal Team: Espeon, Girafarig, Lugia, Mewtwo, Mew, Starmie/Slowbro
Optional: Xatu, Alakazam, Hypno, Wobbufett, Mr. Mime, Unown, Celebi, Slowking, Jynx, Exeggutor
Starter? Unown, Slowpoke, Smoochum 
Covers Weaknesses? No, Dark is not neutralized

Rock
Ideal Team: Tyranitar, Rhydon, Golem, Aerodactyl, Omastar, Magcargo
Optional: Shuckle, Onix, Kabutops, Corsola, Sudowoodo
Starter? None 
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Steel
Ideal Team: Magneton, Forretress, Skarmory, Scizor, Steelix
Starter? None 
Covers Weaknesses? No, Fire is not neutralized

Water
Ideal Team: Feraligatr, Gyarados, Quagsire, Slowbro/Starmie, Tentacruel, Kingdra
Optional: Lapras/Dewgong/Cloyster, Vaporeon, Seaking, Golduck, Azumarill, Kingler, Corsola, Poliwrath, Politoed, Octillery, Mantine, Suicune, Lanturn, Blastoise, Slowking, Omastar, Kabutops
Starter? Squirtle, Totodile, Magikarp, Seel, Slowpoke, Psyduck 
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Pokemon Monotype Run Update

Hello everyone! I’ve been inactive on this blog for awhile but I want to stress that I’m still here and I see you all!

First, thank you for continuing to visit my site all these years! I appreciate that my Monotype Run articles still get use all this time.

Second, thank you for those who give me corrections to my articles. There are TONS of research that goes in them and inevitably things fall through the cracks. I try to keep them as accurate as I can and contributions like these go a long way.

Third, I’m planning on Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Monotype Run analysis! I have to say, I’m actually more excited about these games than I was for Sword and Shield. I’m ESPECIALLY excited for the open world aspect of these games. I believe Monotype Runs are going to explode in popularity as gyms are no longer required to go in a certain order. Although the work load will be daunting, I think it’s going to be fun figuring out the best strategies when determining your Monotype Teams.

Fourth, at this time, I do NOT plan on releasing an analysis on Pokemon BDSP and Arceus. For BDSP, they were straight up remakes of the old games and do not seem to have any variation (although I could be totally wrong here). At best, I’ll probably go back and update the old Diamond/Pearl/Platinum article to include BDSP but as it stands, what I currently have is good enough. Arceus is trickier as although I love love love the game, I don’t think Monotype Runs are a good fit for it given its exploratory/catching focused gameplay. But! If you think otherwise let me know.

Lastly, for the longest time I wanted an interactive webpage for people to select Monotype Runs. At this time I have nothing planned but if you have any thoughts or suggestions how I can achieve this goal I’m all ears.

Thanks again and see you later.

Need Input for New Pokemon Challenge Run Articles

Hello everyone!

Last month saw the release of my (at this time) final Monotype Article, “Best Pokemon Games for a Dragon-Type Run.” Now, all 18 Pokemon Types and every main line game (as of this post) have Monotype articles! I wrote these articles whenever I could and it took me several years to complete.

These articles have been amazing for my blog and I frequently get compliments and referrals to them. I appreciate all of you for your love, your corrections, and your input! Now that I’m done writing the articles (besides small corrections here and there), I’m ready to move on to other projects. My question to you all is what other type of analyses or articles would you like me to do for Pokemon? I’m already looking into Monolocke Runs, which has been interesting and more complicated than I thought it would be but I’m up for other ideas as well. You all know I put a lot of love and effort into them so rest assured if there’s an idea that I like I will give it my all.

Anyway, thank you everyone for reading and contributing to this blog. I love you all very much and fingers crossed for a Diamond and Pearl remakes! Lord knows those games could go for an ORAS-like adrenaline shot for Monotype Runs.

Best Pokemon Games for a Dragon Type Run

I think a lot of us growing up wanted a full team of unique Dragons in Pokemon because Dragon Pokemon are awesome! But Dragon Pokemon usually appear very late in the games and when they do you can only select a few of them. But with the recent games, that Farfetch’d dream is now a reality! The Dragon type is one of the hardest types to do a good Monotype Run but believe it or not there are a select few games that you can choose from. Tally ho!

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 out-of-game-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.

Best Games for a Dragon Run
The hardest part about doing a Dragon Run are their late availability and ESPECIALLY their exposure to weaknesses. As such, without a doubt, the best games for a Dragon run are Sword and Shield. Once you get into the Wild Area go to this den and throw in a Wishing Piece if it hasn’t spawned yet. This is probably the most frustrating part of this run as you may spend a good amount of time getting the likes of Noibat, Trapinch and Axew. But after that it gets much easier. You’ll slowly capture other Dragon Pokemon and by the end of the game you can get a Duraludon who takes care of all three of your weaknesses! Trust me, it’s really great.
I would also consider UltraSun/UltraMoon and even though your Noibat comes right after the first trial, you’re pretty set from then on (a Bagon comes right afterwards). You get a nice variety of Dragon Pokemon and sure you are exposed to your weaknesses but you’ll have a strong team to handle it for the most part.
Finally, XY would be the other games I recommend as you get a splendid variety of rare Dragon Pokemon like Tyrantrum and Hydreigon. Dragalge (Y) and Charizard-X are version exclusives though so you can’t get both naturally which is a big shame. Regardless of the version your first Pokemon is still after the first gym.

Worst Games for a Dragon Run
God, there’s a lot of bad games here. Seriously, Dragons just have a horrible time for a Monotype Run. I can be forgiving for low diversity (they are super strong after all) but man that late appearance is just killer. The worst game is probably Crystal as you can only catch a Dratini when you have seven badges. And don’t forget that Dratini evolves late and Johto is not a good place for grinding. Absolutely terrible. It’s only slightly worse than Gold and Silver which you need 2100 coins in the game corner to get your Dratini and by then what’s the point???? That doesn’t sound fun to me. Kanto games are in the same boat with just Dragonite but at least for there you can catch one after the fourth gym or so.
Similarly, Diamond and Pearl are straight up awful as your first (and basically only) Pokemon is a Gible after the sixth gym. Platinum is better because you can get one after the second gym but it’s still bad. Yeah…just stick to Gen 6 and on and even then be picky.

Dragon Teams in Pokemon Games

Red, Blue, Yellow, and FireRed, LeafGreen
Ideal Team: Dragonite
First Pokémon: Dratini via Safari Zone
Covers weaknesses?  No, Ice and Dragon not covered

Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, SoulSilver
Ideal Team: Dragonite
First Pokémon: Dratini via Dragon Den after the eighth gym or bought at the Goldenrod Game Corner after the second gym. Via Pokewalker in Blue Lake at 5000+ steps.
Covers Weaknesses? No

Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and OmegaRuby, AlphaSapphire
Ideal Team: Salamence, Flygon/Garchomp (ORAS), Mega Sceptile (ORAS), Dragalge (OR), Lati@s (ORAS), Hydreigon (ORAS)
Optional: Altaria, Druddigon (ORAS), Haxorus (ORAS), Rayquaza (Emerald)
First Pokémon: Besides Teecko in ORAS, you can catch a Swablu in Route 114 after the third gym
Covers Weaknesses? No, Ice is not neutralized and, unless you have a Mega Altaria, Dragon is not neutralized.

Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
Ideal Team: Garchomp, Dialga (Diamond)/Palkia (Pearl)/Giratina (Platinum), Altaria (Platinum)
First Pokémon: Gible in Wayward Cave. In Diamond and Pearl you need strength which is after the 6th gym. In Platinum, strength is not required and you can catch one after the second gym.
Covers Weaknesses? Only in Diamond thanks to Dialga but in the other two versions, Pearl has a Dragon weakness and Platinum has both a Dragon and Ice weakness

Black, White, B2W2
BW Ideal Team: Haxorus, Druddigon, Hydreigon, Zekrom (W)/Reshiram (B)
First Pokémon: Axew, via Mistralton Cave, after the sixth gym
Cover weaknesses?  No, neither version neutralizes Dragon moves.  Pokemon White has an additional weakness to Ice.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Flygon, Haxorus, Altaria, Druddigon, Hydreigon
First Pokémon: Trapinch via Desert Resort after third gym
Cover weaknesses? No, watch out for Ice and Dragon attacks

XY
Ideal Team: Goodra, Dragonite, Mega Charizard X (X)/Dragalge (Y), Tyrantrum, Garchomp, Hydreigon
Optional: Flygon, Noivern, Haxorus, Salamence, Altaria, Druddigon
First Pokémon: Axew via Connecting Cave after the first gym or Charmander in Lumiose City after the first gym for Pokémon X.
Weaknesses Covered? No, X is weak to Dragon.  Y is weak to Dragon and Ice.

Sun, Moon, and USUM
SM Ideal Team: Komomo-o, Garchomp, Exeggutor, Drampa (Moon)/Turtonator (Sun), Salamence, Hydreigon (scan)
Optional: Flygon, Haxorus (scan), Goodra
First Pokémon: Bagon via Route 3 (south of the bridge), shortly before the Melemele Grand Trial
Cover weaknesses? Pokemon Sun is weak to just Dragon moves. Pokemon Moon is weak to Dragon, Ice, and Fairy moves.

USUM Ideal Team: Tyrantrum (US)/Dragalge (UM), Komomo-o, Garchomp, Exeggutor, Drampa (UM)/Turtonator (US), Salamence/Noivern
Optional: Flygon, Haxorus (scan), Goodra
First Pokémon: Noibat in Verdant Cavern after the first trial is completed.
Cover weaknesses? Pokemon Ultra Sun is weak to just Dragon moves.  Pokemon Ultra Moon is weak to Dragon and Ice moves.

Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Flygon, Dracovish, Turtonator (Sword)/Haxorus, Kommo-o (Sword)/Drampa (Shield), Duraludon, Dragapult
Optional: Goodra (Shield), Flapple (Sword)/Appletun (Shield), Dracozolt, Hydreigon (Sword)
First Pokémon: In Rolling Fields, you can always find Dragon Pokemon by Max Raids at Den 37/64.  These include Noibat, Trapinch, Axew, Jangmo-o (Sword), Goomy (Shield) and sometimes Applin and Dreepy.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, thanks to Duraludon who’s unfortunately catchable near the end of the game.

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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

Duraludon
Avid readers of my articles may raise an eyebrow to this but Dragons are a special type so they deserve special circumstances. Despite only appearing in TWO GAMES so far, Duraludon is the must have for your team. Dragon teams consistently fail in covering all their weaknesses (especially to other Dragons) but having Duraludon on your team takes care of all three at once! And it’s great! Just carrying a STAB Steel and Dragon move can do some quality damage against Fairy, Dragon, and Ice types. Duraludon is also powerful so this is a great Pokemon to have on your team.
Obviously, Duraludon has only appeared in two games so far, Sword and Shield, and even then it appears near the end of those games which stink. Regardless, as more and more Pokemon games continue to be release you can bet that if you can catch a Duraludon then you have taken a big step forward in making a fantastic Dragon team.
Available in: Sword and Shield

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

Turtonator and Mega Charizard-X
Despite Western Dragons traditionally known to be fire-breathers, there’s very few true Dragon/Fire Pokemon. And you honestly going to need these guys in order to combat your dreaded Ice and Fairy weaknesses. Obviously, Charizard-X is pretty uncommon and can only be acquired so far in Let’s Go and X whereas Turtonator has a status as a version-exclusive creature (with its counterpart being Drampa). So their rarity is a bit upsetting. Still, getting that Charmander in X makes it one of the earliest Dragon Pokemon you can catch for your Dragon teams even though its technically not a Dragon…If you can, teach these Pokemon some Fairy-counter moves (like Steel Wing or Flash Cannon) as although Fire resists Fairy moves, it’s not super effective against them.
Available in: Charizard-X in X and Let’s Go, Turtonator in Sun, UltraSun, and Sword

Best Pokemon Games for a Fairy Type Run

Despite (or perhaps because of) being introduced late in the Pokemon series, the Fairy Type is amazing for a Monotype Run. Simply put, a Monotype Run is a self-imposed challenge where you only catch and train a certain type of Pokemon, sort of like being a mobile Gym Leader! Many Pokemon like Gardevoir, Marill, and Mr. Mime gained a Fairy typing which combined with newly introduced Pokemon gave players a suite of Pokemon to choose from. Fairy also had only two weaknesses, Poison and Steel, which are actually pretty easy to counter. Only one game in the main series, Shield, fails to counter both weaknesses which is honestly very shocking. So for the purposes of this article, I’m throwing in the Let’s Go games to give me something to bag on and let’s find out which games are the best and worst for a Fairy team and which Pokemon you should look out for!

Rules

  1. A type must be selected before starting the game. Upon playing the game the player must make all attempts to capture a Pokémon of that type as soon as possible. Once captured, the previous Pokémon of the party must be disregarded if they are not of that type.
  2. Pokémon that have yet to evolve into that type (e.g., Chewtle for a Rock type run) may be caught but must be evolved as soon as possible.
  3. Out-of-Game-Trading is not allowed
  4. Only Pokemon caught before you fight the Champion are counted

Best Games
Although I like USUM and its Fairy starter, Popplio, I have to give it to Sword. This game gives you a whole suite of strong and diverse Pokemon like Galar Weezing, Grimmsnarl, and Togekiss to name a few. All three of the mentioned Pokemon are incredibly rare but incredibly good so make sure to get them on your team! You also get a bevy of Fairies near the beginning of the game so you’ll have a full team in no time. The other games are pretty great too in their own regards! I like how you can get a Mega Altaria in ORAS, and the Sun games have Alolan Ninetales which is nice.

Worst Games
The worst one is definitely the Let’s Go games. Not surprising given it’s a port of the Kanto games which Fairy didn’t even exist back then. You’re exposed to both of your weaknesses and your first Pokemon, Clefairy, is caught after the first gym. At least in the other games you can get a Fairy before the first gym!

Fairy Teams in Pokemon Games

XY
Ideal Team: Azumarill, Gardevoir, Wigglytuff, Dedenne, Mawile, Granbull
Optional: Aromatisse (Y)/Slurpuff (X), Sylveon, Mr. Mime, Carbink, Klefki, Florges
First Pokémon: Azurill via Route 3 before the first gym
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire
Ideal Team: Gardevoir, Wigglytuff, Mawile (OR)/Klefki, Azumarill, Mega-Altaria, Clefable
Optional: Whimsicott, Sylveon, Mega-Audino
First Pokémon: Ralts via Route 102 before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Sun, Moon and UltraSun, UltraMoon
SM Ideal Team: Primarina, Klefki, Mimikyu, Wigglytuff, Whimsicott (Sun)/Shiinotic, Sylveon
Optional: Granbul, Ninetales (Sun), Carbink, Ribombee, Azumaril (scan)
First Pokémon: Popplio via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Primarina, Klefki/Mawile, Mimikyu, Wigglytuff, Whimsicott (US)/Shiinotic, Gardevoir (scan)
Optional: Sylveon, Granbul, Ninetales (US), Carbink, Ribombee, Florges, Dedenne, Mr. Mime
First Pokémon: Popplio via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee
Ideal Team: Wigglytuff, Clefable, Mr. Mime, Alolan Ninetales (LGE)
First Pokémon: Clefairy in Mt. Moon after first gym
Covers Weaknesses? No, Poison or Steel are not neutralized

Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Weezing, Togekiss, Gardevoir, Mawile (Sword)/Sylveon, Mimikyu, Grimmsnarl
Optional: Clefable, Shiinotic, Slurpuff (Sword), Ribombee, Whimsicott, Alcremie, Aromatisse (Shield), Hatterene, Rapidash (Shield)
First Pokémon: You can find a Ralts in Overcast random encounters in Rolling Fields.  In Rolling Fields, Den 33/62 will always spawn Fairy Pokemon (Cleffa, Togepi, Cutiefly, Swirlix, Clefairy, Morelull and sometimes Impidimp and Ralts).
Weaknesses Covered? Only in Sword thanks to Mawile.  In Shield, Fairy is exposed to Steel type moves.

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Gardevoir (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia

Gardevoir
Gardevoir is probably the most iconic Fairy Pokemon right now although Mimikyu gives them a run for their money. Part of that stems from design, obviously, but it also has some great stats and distribution! Available in every game except Let’s Go and Sun/Moon, you can catch a Ralts usually early in the game which is fantastic (XY and ORAS are great examples). Ralts can also be your first Fairy Pokemon you catch so it will stay with you until the end!

Special attack is Gardevoir’s forte. Shadow Ball and Psychic are a killer combo (especially against your Poison foes) and other strong special moves like Energy Ball and Thunderbolt. Gardevoir carries a lot of support moves too so you can use those to buff your defense or healing. Gardevoir’s biggest setback is fighting against Steel foes. Besides Focus Blast, it doesn’t have very good counter options. Its pitiful defense will also falter against the usually Attack-friendly Steel attacks.
Available in: XY, ORAS, USUM, SWSH

Klefki Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon Database
Mawile (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia

Klefki/Mawile
There’s only one type combination that resists both Steel and Poison moves and its Fairy/Steel. So if you’re worried about your weaknesses then find these guys! On the whole, Klefki and Mawile don’t bring too much to the table but they are still special in their own way. Klefki is a great staller and supporter thanks to its Trickster ability and moves. Mawile…is okay…but I will say its decent attack is actually much better than the average Fairy Pokemon (who, according to Pokemon Database, are dead last for Attack stats). Mawile also has its Mega form in ORAS so if you don’t want a Mega-Altaria then train a Mega-Mawile instead!
Available in: XY (both), OR (both), AS (Klefki), SM (Klefki), USUM (both), Sword (Mawile)

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

Primarina
Primarina is the only Fairy starter so far and it’s pretty amazing! It has among the best stat totals for Fairy Pokemon and its Water-typing neutralizes its Steel weakness. Also, what better way to start a Fairy run then to have a Fairy starter! Primarina has a fantastic 126 Special Attack stat so use that to your advantage. Teach Primarina Surf, Ice Beam, Energy Ball, Psychic, Shadow Ball, or any kind of support moves. Now, despite neutralizing Steel attacks it doesn’t have any anti-Steel moves so that’s a problem. Also, it’s Starter-status means you can only train one in the Sun and Moon games so this is an exclusive Pokemon.
Available in: SM and USUM

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

Mimikyu
The unofficial icon of Generation VII, Mimikyu is a great, wonderful Pokemon worthy of your Fairy Team! The Poison-neutralization is nice but the real reason why you want our freaky Ghost is its ability, stats, and moves! Mimikyu’s Disguise ability and nice defensive stats gives you a tank for your team to take some hits. It also has a pretty good Attack stat so teaching it Shadow Sneak and Drain Punch will give you some diverse moves that has an almost-universal coverage. Beyond that, its move diversity is pretty small but that shouldn’t hold you back, it’s Mimikyu!
Available in: SM, USUM, and SWSH

Best Pokemon Games for a Rock Type Run

I feel so sorry for the Rock type.  There are many Rock-only runs that are borderline great but fall short due to late availability, limited diversity or weakness exposure.  Yet there are a few Pokemon games that are pretty good for a Rock Monotype Run.  A Monotype Run is a self-imposed challenge where you only catch and train one type of Pokemon in the games.  In this case, you can be like Brock but better!  So let’s take a look which games you should play (and avoid) and which Pokemon you should definitely have on your team!  Let’s Rock and Roll!

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 outside 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 Version 2.03

Best Games
Rock’s biggest downfall is its struggle to deliver an early available Pokemon.  There are no starters (yet) that evolve into it and you can’t catch one until after the first gym in over half the games.  You also have a big lack of diversity with a lot of lackluster Rock/Ground or Rock/Water Pokemon filling up your slots.  So (most of) the games I recommend push for that early availability and diversity.

As such, the best games, by technicality, would be Sword/Shield.  Not only do you catch a Chewtle by Route 2, all your weaknesses are covered before the first gym thanks to the Wild Area (which is good since the gym is Grass oriented).  Also, that Coalossal is niiiiice, good way to stick it to your Steel and Grass foes!  You can also get two Pokemon with the Sand Stream Ability (Gigalith and Tyranitar in Shield).

If you can stomach the wait, you might want to consider XY.  Yes, I know the first Pokemon you get isn’t until well after the first gym but holy crap once you get your first Rock Pokemon the rest will come crashing down on you like an avalanche!  You get Dwebble and Binacle back to back; then Glittering Cave gives you a host of them, and then you revive either Tyrunt or Amaura; all before the second gym.  Also, you get the very rare Aerodactyl!!  Y edges out X due to the version exclusive Tyranitar (which again, has Sand Stream), but X gets Aggron so it’s a dinosaur trade-off!

I’m just going to throw this out there because why not but think about HeartGold and SoulSilver.  You get a Geodude very early in the southern tip of Route 46 and an Onix/Geodude in the Pokewalker.  Also, HGSS has Magcargo AND Tyranitar which the original games do not have so that’s cool.  You’re a bit limited in diversity so just keep that in mind!

Worst Games
Oh man, which one should I choose???  They’re all so tempting.  I mean, to be fair, a lot of these games are just riding hard on that meh horse.  Some of the games you just have to wait until after the first gym and then after that it’s fine.

I think I’m going to give it to Pokemon Diamond.  Your full team is a Graveler, Onix, Sudowoodo, and Rampardos so you are exposed to every single one of your five weaknesses.  In fact, the DPP series are the only games where Rock doesn’t neutralized its weaknesses!  I know, crazy, right?  Pearl switches Rampardos with Bastiodon and Platinum gives you Rhydon and Probopass but it’s still not great.  

Also, Kanto games are really rough.  You get a Geodude after the first gym and that’s it for a looooong time.  You have to take that Geodude to Misty (Water), get an easy break with Surge (Electric), and then after catching Onix you face Erika (Grass).  It’s going to take a long time before you can finally go to Cinnabar and revive Aerodactyl and another Fossil Pokemon.

Rock Teams in Pokemon Games

Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, LeafGreen
Ideal Team: Graveler, Rhydon, Onix, Aerodactyl, Omastar/Kabutops
First Pokémon: Geodude at Mount Moon after first gym
Covers weaknesses? Surprisingly, yes

Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, SoulSilver
Ideal Team: Tyranitar (HGSS via Safari), Rhydon, Graveler, Sudowoodo, Corsola, Magcargo (HGSS)
Optional: Shuckle, Onix
First Pokémon: Geodude via southern portion of Route 46 before the first gym; via Pokewalker then Geodude (Rugged Road in 0+ steps) and Onix (Rugged Road in 4000+ steps or Dim Cave in 1000+ steps) are available.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes
Note: In HGSS, you can get a Slugma Egg from Primo in Violet City center.  You’ll need to give him a phrase which is dependent on your Trainer ID which you can receive here.

Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, OmegaRuby, AlphaSapphire
Ideal Team: Rhydon, Aggron, Lunatone (S, AS)/Solrock (R, E, OR), Magcargo, Relicanth, Armaldo/Crustle (ORAS)
Optional: Graveler, Cradily, Boldore (ORAS), Barbaracle (ORAS)
First Pokémon: Geodude and Aron (RSE only) via Granite Cave shortly before the second gym
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

Diamond, Pearl, Platinum
Ideal Team: Graveler, Onix, Rampardos (Diamond and Platinum)/Bastiodon (Pearl and Platinum), Probopass (Platinum), Sudowoodo, Rhydon (Platinum)
First Pokémon: Geodude either Oreburgh Gate or Ravaged Path before the first gym
Covers Weaknesses? No, in all versions Water, Ground and Fighting moves are not neutralized. In Diamond, the Rock type is additionally weak to Grass and Steel moves.
Note: Please be aware that you can only get Rampardos OR Bastiodon in Platinum!  It depends on your Trainer ID number.  If the last digit is even you get a Bastiodon and if it’s odd you get a Rampardos.

Black, White, Black2, White2
BW Ideal Team: Boldore, Crustle, Carracosta, Terrakion
Optional: Archeops
First Pokémon: Roggenrola via Wellspring Cave after first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes, if you pick Carracosta over Archeops as it gets rid of the Steel and Water weakness.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Crustle, Corsola, Terrakion, Aggron, Probopass, Lunatone
Optional: Onix, Gigalith, Solrock, Shuckle
First Pokémon: Onix and Roggenrola via Relic Passage (Castelia City side) after the second gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes
Note: You can get a Gigalith from a hiker on Route 7

X, Y
Ideal Team: Tyrantrum, Barbaracle, Crustle, Aerodactyl, Probopass/Aggron (X), Tyranitar (Y)/Lunatone
Optional: Solrock, Aurorus, Relicanth, Rhydon, Onix, Boldore, Carbink, Corsola, Graveler, Magcargo, Shuckle, Sudowoodo
First Pokémon: Dwebble and Binacle via Rock Smash in Ambrette Town.  This is well into the game but is still before the second gym. Get the Rock Smash TM from the girl outside of the Aquarium.  You can then get Rhyhorn, Onix, Solrock, and Lunatone almost immediately afterwards in Glittering Cave with the fossils following shortly thereafter.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

Sun, Moon, UltraSun, UltraMoon
SM Ideal Team: Rhydon(scan), Aerodactyl, Relicanth/Caracosta(Sun), Bastiodon(Moon)/Probopass, Lycanroc, Golem
Optional: Sudowoodo, Rampardos (Sun), Archeops (Moon), Carbink, Corsola, Boldore, Minior
First Pokémon: Bonsly via Route 1, after the Grand Trial
Cover weaknesses? Yes
Note: You can get an Alolan Golem via in-game trade at the Tapu Village Pokemon Center, you will need a Haunter.

USUM Ideal Team: Tyrantrum (US)/Lycanroc, Rhydon(scan), Tyranitar, Aerodactyl, Relicanth/Caracosta(US), Bastiodon(UM)/Probopass
Optional: Lycanroc, Sudowoodo, Rampardos (US), Archeops (UM), Omastar (US), Kabutops (UM), Graveler, Armaldo (US), Cradily (UM), Carbink, Aurorus (UM), Boldore, Corsola, Minior, Onix (scan)
First Pokémon: Bonsly via Route 1, after the Grand Trial
Cover weaknesses? Yes

Sword, Shield
Ideal Team: Crustle, Drednaw, Coalossal, Stonjourner (Sword)/Tyranitar (Shield), Gigalith, Solrock (Sword)/Lunatone (Shield)
Optional: Sudowoodo, Rhyperior (Raid), Shuckle, Onix, Barbaracle
First Pokémon: Chewtle by overworld (10%) via Route 2.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and it’s taken care of before the first gym!  Which is good because it’s Grass, see if you can evolve your Rolycoly before you fight Milo otherwise you might need to lean on Dwebble.  Also, get the Sandstream Ability from Gigalith.

MVP (Most Valuable Pokemon)

Tyranitar (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon ...
Tyranitar

The most powerful non-Mega Rock Pokemon, Tyranitar is the go to guy for your team.  There are just so many reasons why you should have one on your team.  It has incredible stats (600 BST) making it stronger than Legendary Rock Pokemon like Terrakion and it can hit hard and take a beating.  It also has among the best move diversity for Rock Pokemon; it can naturally learn powerful Rock, Ground, and Dark moves and be taught fantastic Electric, Fire, Ice, Ghost, Dragon, Steel, and Fighting moves.  Tyranitar is further boosted by its Sand Stream ability which automatically starts Sandstorm and gives all your Rock Pokemon a 50% increase in Special Defense stats (which a lot of them need).

All the games that I recommend for a Rock playthrough have Tyranitar which is its main problem.  It’s not very common.  Sometimes they’re non-existent or just show up too late like GSC or the Black/White games.  Also, Tyranitar evolves really late (level 55) so you won’t be able to use its Sand Stream ability until the end of the game.  You might have to babysit it for awhile but man it will be awesome when you finally evolve it!
Available in: HGSS, Y, USUM, Shield

Omastar (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon ...Kabutops Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...
Rock/Water Pokemon

The Rock Type has a ton of weaknesses (Grass, Water, Steel, Ground, and Fighting) yet oddly, every game except the Sinnoh series neutralizes its weaknesses.  And that’s because you have the stellar combo of a Rock/Water Pokemon with a Rock/Flying or Rock/Bug Pokemon.  If you have an Omastar with Aerodactyl or a Carracosta with Crustle on your team then you’re set!  All your weaknesses are covered.

Rock/Water Pokemon like Kabutops, Drednaw, and Relicanth are available in every region except Sinnoh (which is why Sinnoh games are bad for Rock runs).  Having that Water typing gives you some great diversity juice with the likes of Water and Ice attacks.  Unfortunately, some of these Pokemon are lackluster (like Corsola) but you get some pretty good ones!  Omastar has the highest Special Attack stats for all non-Legendary Rock Pokemon and Barbaracle is really strong and further boosted by its Tough Claws Ability.
Available in: Every game except Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum

Armaldo Pokédex: stats, moves, evolution & locations | Pokémon ...
Armaldo, Crustle, and Shuckle
Paired up with your Water Pokemon are your bugs who neutralize the other weaknesses (Fighting, Grass, and Ground)!  These guys are also relatively common in the series so you could run into one during your journey.  Obviously, Shuckle…not that fun to train!  Great for the metagame but training one on your Rock team…?…bleh.  That’s why Armaldo and Crustle are the go to Pokemon for your team.  Great Attack and Defense stats and just overall very appealing Pokemon!  I like their designs and concepts.  Unfortunately, not a lot of move diversity going on here but at least Armaldo can learn some decent Water moves like Aqua Tail and Aqua Jet.  Also, teach your Crustle Body Press in Sword and Shield; the move’s power is based on the user’s defense which is fantastic for Crustle (125).
Available in: GSC (Shuckle), RSE (Armaldo in all three and Shuckle in Emerald), HGSS (Shuckle), BW (Crustle), B2W2 (Crustle and Shuckle), XY (Crustle and Shuckle), ORAS (Armaldo), US (Armaldo), SWSH (Shuckle and Crustle)

Aggron (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon ...
Aggron, Bastiodon, and Probopass

Among the best Rock Pokemon for Defense and Special Defense stats, these three Rock/Steel Pokemon are going to be the tanks on your team.  They can also block Grass and Steel attacks but with a trade-off of the 4x weakness to Fighting and Ground moves.  Still, these guys are great.  Really lean into defense and support moves for Probopass and Bastiodon but for Aggron just go all out offense!  It can learn a variety of moves like the elemental punches, Dragon Claw, and Aqua Tail which are all very great and Aggron ranks among the best Rock Pokemon for move diversity.  Unfortunately, you can’t Mega-evolve Aggron in ORAS as it loses its Rock typing but it’s still a great Pokemon all the same.  And who doesn’t want a ceratopsian on your team?!  You can get two here!
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)

Aerodactyl (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon ...
Aerodactyl
The fastest Rock Pokemon around with a fantastic 130 stat, Aerodactyl is the must-have flying reptile for your team.  First, it has an immunity to Ground moves and counters Fighters and Grass Pokemon easily.  Pair this up with your Omastar or Kabutops and you’re all set!  But also, Aerodactyl carries some really nice moves like Iron Head, Crunch, elemental fangs, and Dragon Claw.  Aerodactyl can be set up like a revenge sweeper just going in and quickly wiping out the opposing team before they can do too much damage.

Two big setbacks.  The first is that Aerodactyl is pretty awful in learning Flying moves mainly Wing Attack, Sky Drop, Aerial Ace, or Fly.  Not a lot of good choices to choose from.  Also, despite having the Rock Head ability, Aerodactyl doesn’t learn a lot of recoil moves.  Mainly Double Edge and Take Down and that’s it.  Not even Head Smash, a Rock-type move!  Boo!
Available in: RBY, FRLG, XY, SM, USUM

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

I was really debating about putting this meteorite in but I figured why not.  Lunatone is an overall…alright Pokemon!  It’s the kind of Pokemon that makes you shrug and say yeah, it’s not bad!  For a Rock team, I think it’s pretty special; it has the Levitate Ability (so no Ground weaknesses) and its Psychic typing counters Fighters and gives you some interesting move diversity.  Lunatone ranks among the best Rock Pokemon for Special Attack with an alright 95 power!  Haha.  Not a lot but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.  But with that, it can use all its awesome Fairy moves like Moonblast as well as Shadow Ball, Psychic, Power Gem, and Ice Beam.  Pretty good for a Rock Pokemon!

But where’s Solrock…?  Well…Solrock and Lunatone may be similar with its typing, and ability but its their stats that makes a difference.  Each of their stats are the same but rearranged differently and for Solrock, its Physical Attack is 95.  So two problems, one, a lot of other Rock Pokemon can match that stat or better and two, Solrock FAILS tremendously on its moveset.  Solrock packs mainly Special moves but can’t use them at all with its puny 55 Special Attack stat.  It’s really sad.  That’s why you should go for Lunatone instead.
Available in: Sapphire, Black2, White2, XY, AlphaSapphire, Shield

Need Input For Future Monolocke Article

Hey everyone, if you’re not here for my Monotype articles just skip this but for everyone else I have an announcement.  Based on a rise in popularity and search histories, I will be writing a Monolocke article similar to my other articles.  A Monolocke Run is a combination of the infamous Nuzlocke Challenge with a Monotype Run.  I have never done one personally but I’ve been thinking about how it could work and which games and types would be the best for it.

However, as there are rule variations of it online I wanted to get some second opinions.  As such if you have any experience in a Monolocke Run, or just have your own thoughts, then I would love to hear from you.  They can be on rules, how feasible it is or which games and types would be the best/worst.  Just leave a comment here or message me for your input!  As usual, I always love hearing from you guys and I hope you will find my article enjoyable once it comes out.  Cheers.

Episode 15: Bug Fables Review and Discussion

 

In our first review for the podcast we talk about the charming indie video game Bug Fables.  Please be aware that we cover mild spoilers up until the 8 minute mark and after that we go into full spoiler territory!

“Return of the Obra Dinn” Sequel Ideas (feat. Mothman)

I wrote recently about my love for the hit indie game “Return of the Obra Dinn” (ROD) but now I want to talk about something else on my mind, sequels.  “ROD” has a huge potential for creating other stories set in the same universe (not just the mystery aspect but all the dark, fantastical creatures that reside in this world) that you can easily make a mini series based on the game.  Now I want to say upfront that Lucas Pope, the creator of “ROD,” doesn’t seem like a fellow who would be willing to make sequels.  His previous game, “Papers, Please” was another indie hit that told a story that could only be done through video games.  He seems like a person who wants to create insightful stories revolved around unique concepts which I can respect.

But it’s fun to create sequel ideas for such a fun concept so rather than dwell on the probably-nots, let’s instead dream about the what-ifs.  What would a sequel to “ROD” look like?

Return of the Obra Dinn on GOG.com

First, the Obra Dinn’s story is told and done.  We don’t need to come back to the ship or its characters.  Instead our sequel will revolve around the key item that makes the game work, i.e. the death watch itself, Memento Mortem.  Our “ROD” sequel’s protagonist, who could be the same one as the first game but is not required, will investigate a mystery using the magical watch.

These sequels can also improve the gameplay and story from ROD.  In an interview on eurogamer.net, creator Lucas Pope said

“…I really like I can only tell story through moments of death, the instant when somebody dies. But to relay a story to the player is kind of tricky, because you can only tell them things when somebody dies. So first off, people have to be dying left and right, and you need a reason for people to be dying constantly. And that’s sort of unusual, people don’t generally die all the time. Getting that working with the story in a way that the player can understand took a long time.”

To ease the burden of creating a story through death we can find other ways to tell this world’s story.  First off, we can have more deaths that aren’t human.  In “ROD,” the watch worked not only on humans but on animals (the cow and the monkey) and beasts (the mermaids and the crab soldiers).  If we lean more heavy on the animal deaths, which are more common, we can find ways to continue the story without running out of bodies quickly.

The other way we can expand the story is through old fashion detective work.  When you’re at the scene of the crime, you can read journals and observe items which can clue you in on the victims’ identities.  After all, we’re still trying to answer the two key questions of “Who is this?” and “What was this soul’s fate?”  Reading pages in a journal can clue us in to past events or a character’s actions.  Observing items can help us trace their path in dead memories and see how they went from point A to point B.  The catch of this is that you can only interact with these items in the present and not in the memories.

This is important because we can space out the deaths if needed.  In ROD’s ten chapters, the last seven very likely took place in the span of hours which is incredible to think about.  In the sequel, we can space events further from each other and allow us some breathing room, maybe have a story that takes place over a few days.

So now we need a story.  A story that involves a lot of deaths.

Keeping some consistency with “ROD,” let’s place our new story in the early 1800’s.  It doesn’t have to be exactly 1807 but as long as we hit the ball park range we should be good.  Two ideas come to my head that would create very interesting stories for our “ROD” sequel: a Ghost Train and a Ghost Town.

(love this song, this would be great to have as a theme)

Let’s start with the Ghost Train idea.  The story synopsis would be that a train has just arrived at its station but everyone on board is found dead or missing and you’re tasked to find out what happened to it.  As you can see, it’s very similar to the Obra Dinn structure so we can find some similarities there.  First, train cars will open up to you as you further your investigation just as the Obra Dinn opens up its lower levels.  I imagine that the caboose might be an important part for the investigation given its cargo-holding function.

Next, we can get a wide collection of individuals, mainly passengers, who are trying to get to a certain destination.  And what’s handy is we can have a passenger list with their names, if they bought a first class ticket or not, if they booked a round trip, and etc.  The passengers can be diverse and come from different countries, states, occupations, social standing, and etc.  This can also be the maiden voyage for this train and to celebrate the occasion everyone on board, both passengers and employees, took a (unlabeled) group photograph.

Admittedly, animal death would be minor in this game but I can see a few ways we can still use it.  An (unfortunate) death of a pet would be one but we can also have a bison death which could’ve stopped the train halfway through it journey and unknowingly pick up some hitchhikers.  These hitchhikers may bring with them a curse or amulet or whatever that starts the fantastical shenanigans.  Beside the hitchhiker, you can also have bandits who may attack the train.  Once you find evidence of the bandit attack, you suddenly gain access to wanted posters of them!  You can then pin the bandit faces to their posters which would be cool.

There would be a good potential for fun reading material such as journals, newspaper articles, and other lettering.  You can have a doctor’s notes about an onboard patient, a lawyer’s case files, or even as something as simple as a person’s recipe which contains an allergenic ingredient that kills a passenger!  I like the idea of the conductor taking careful notes about the train where a small, seemingly innocuous detail unravels the whole case.  A lot of fun can be done here.

As for the fantastical element?  I can imagine a few creatures like gargoyle-like bats, a plague of insects, a terrifying spirit, or hell, even dinosaurs intercepting the ride.  What I like in “ROD” was Lucas Pope’s addition of the spider crab soldiers which is so excellent.  Taking an unused animal and giving it horror-filled qualities would be great such as a mutated pronghorn, giant cicadas, or quill-shooting demon-porcupines.  The problem is you can’t have a large beast, like “ROD”‘s the Kraken, because that may topple the train altogether.  Although you never know, perhaps a beast did stop the train and the passengers have to clear or fix the railroad so they can survive another attack; that would be suspenseful!

File:Rainy Blue Ridge-27527.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

My favorite idea though is the Ghost Town which would definitely expand the setting’s scope but will see a huge rise in complexity and game development.  This would definitely be the bigger budget, more manpower, game but would create some interesting ideas.  Now, we don’t have to get too carried away but I feel maybe 80 people or so would be reasonable enough to have for our village size.  After all, in “ROD,” a real crew for a ship of that size would be much bigger (the original crew was 51 plus the 9 passengers) but we maintained our suspension of disbelief easily.  Also, more people does not mean it would be better.  It would make the game too frustrating and hard to keep track of.  So I think 80 people would be fine.  You can even divide the village up into smaller groups like a scene with just the miners or just the farmers to help with the logic process.

Our Ghost Town would take place in the Appalachian Mountains near a mine.  The story is as follows: after a terrible blizzard cutoff all communications with the mountain village of Hellbender, the town was found completely deserted and what few people remain were dead.  Something happened to the villagers.  You are hired by the state government to investigate the town and find out what happened.

You are given the Memento Mortem (of course) along with the town’s census list which documents their addresses, their family names, and their occupations.  You also find within the town hall a painting/photograph of the town’s village celebrating its official opening.  Armed with these few crucial pieces of evidence, you begin your investigation.

Compared to our Ghost Train story and the original “ROD,” Hellbender can give us a lot of fantastic potential for some great game play moments.  First, we can find lettering scattered throughout the village, with many of the same things found on Ghost Train found here like the journals, letters, and etc.  But we can get some other good stuff as well.  A foreman’s official documentation on mining activities, a constable’s notes on recent arrests, or a store clerk’s inventory on their goods.  A doctor’s notes would be especially great given how he would regularly visit most if not everyone in town and have keen knowledge on the town’s overall health and well being.

Obviously, Hellbender’s setting is going to be its best selling point.  The memories in the weird “deadception” pocket dimension of the Memento Mortem will open houses and stores up which may otherwise be inaccessible.  You may even reach the mine to see what exactly happened inside of it.  I also imagine the local graveyard would be a fantastic source for memories since the bodies are just sitting there waiting to be buried.  So the game will have a nice steady progression as more and more of the town opens up to you.

The deaths will be awesome; so many great ways to die!  Besides freezing to death, which will probably happen in the last chapter when the blizzard kills off the last few remaining survivors, we can get other interesting fates as well.  First, although the town is isolated, that doesn’t mean its impassable; unlike the train or ship, it would be easier for people to leave, and try their luck in the wilderness.  How many of these deserters will survive or not is up to the story…

But we can get a huge variety of deaths, too many to list here but include the usual gunshot, explosion (there’s a mine after all…), and the standard disease.  I imagine whatever curse fell upon this town (along with spicy human greed) will give us some great variety like strangulation, stabbing, and bludgeoning.

The creatures and animals though are the real selling point.  Wolves and other feral animals may harass the town but we can get some good, crazy-ass monsters here.  Giant crocodile-like salamanders can prowl the river and man-size naked mole rats can be freed in the mine and wreck havoc!  I also like the idea of seeing bigfoot just randomly showing up and ripping a guy in half (which would be morbidly hilarious).

Mothman - Wikipedia

Obviously, a horror-themed Mothman should be our antagonist (?) that catalyzes the series of misfortunes that fall upon the town.  Imagine this for our first memory.  You find a body at the bottom of a cliff next to the remains of a bridge.  This is the only bridge that connects Hellbender to the rest of the world and its collapse causes the town’s isolation.  In the memory, you see the individual as he makes ground contact but in the background you see the Mothman…eyes glowing brightly.  In fact, his eyes glow just like the shells do in “ROD,” in the memory world where everything seems still, the Mothman’s eyes are ablaze.   And in the rest of the memories, you can find his eyes in the distance, still watching as the town falls prey to whatever supernatural fate fell upon them…

Obviously, these thoughts and ideas are just a fan day dreaming but I nonetheless hope to play another game like “Return of the Obra Dinn.”  What about you?  Would you like to see a sequel?  If so, where do you think the sequel should take place?  Love to hear your thoughts on this excellent, mystery game.

I still can’t stop thinking about “Return of the Obra Dinn”

Warning: this article contains spoilers for “Return of the Obra Dinn”

Return of the Obra Dinn on GOG.com

It’s been a year and a half since I first played the hit indie game “Return of the Obra Dinn” and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It has become one of my favorite games in recent memory and there’s nothing else quite like it. The visuals are unique, the soundtrack is great, but the gameplay really sells it. You investigate a ghost ship and determine what happened to it using the Memento Mortem, a pocket watch that reveals the last things a person heard and saw before their death.  Once you correctly identified three people and their cause of death, the journal given to you will lock their fates in place affirming your deductions.  Through these death scenes and context clues, you are able to piece together the Obra Dinn’s story and (mostly) figure out what transpired.

I first became aware of this game through one of my favorite Youtubers, Game Makers Toolkit, who did an episode on detective games. At the time, the game hadn’t been released yet but he commented on it and thought it would likely be a good mystery game. Turns out, he was right! He, and other reviewers, praised “Return of the Obra Dinn” and awarded it for its unique and fun gameplay. After I saw his 2018-best-of video, I decided that it was time I tried it out as well.

To say the least, this is one of those games that I never knew wanted until I played it. I love playing mystery games.  I enjoyed all the Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton games, full-motion-video games like “Contradiction!,” “Her Story,” and “The Shapeshifting Detective,” visual novels like “Danganronpa,” and the unique mix-and-match setup of “Tangle Tower.”  The list goes on. But of all the games I played, I honestly think “Return of the Obra Dinn” is my favorite mystery game despite it’s very nontraditional-Mystery Genre setup.

Return of the Obra Dinn review - The Verge

First, there are many things that a mystery game should excel at for its audience like

  • It should give you clear question(s) for you to solve and work towards
  • You should be able to collect and analyze clues and determine their importance to the mystery (some games only give you the bare essentials while Sherlock Holmes gives you waaaaaay too much useless information)
  • You should work for your answer without spoon feeding it (unlike Phoenix Wright)
  • It should give you a wide range of possible answers that you can systematically eliminate (many Layton games don’t even give you the option to figure out the crime).
  • It should make it hard to guess the correct answer but at the same time not make it too frustrating (“Contradiction” was unfairly hard)
  • Plot twists are welcome but shouldn’t be so far left field that there was no way you could’ve guessed the correct answer (Layton is a frequent victim of this which is why normally he answers the mystery and not the player)
  • It shouldn’t overly criticize the player for mistakes or wrong answers (the full-motion-video Sherlock Holmes games made me feel dumb)
  • And if there are any fantastical elements, it should be constrained to a very strict, easy-to-understand rules (which “Danganronpa 2” miserably failed at)

This is a very tight rope to balance and it’s easy for one of these key features to disappoint the players.  With few exceptions, “Return of the Obra Dinn” excels at these standards.

  • It gives me a clear question: “What happened to the Obra Dinn its crew?”
  • It allows me to analyze a whole suite of clues that are neatly arranged like the crew list, the ship map, the sketches, and of course, the memories.  Using these pieces of evidence, I can make reasonable assumptions on who is who.
  • The watch has some clear usage rules (find a dead body and activate the memory) if there’s another dead body in the person’s memory you can reactivate the watch again and see that corpse’s memory.  The watch and journal follow their stringent rules tightly but still find creative outlets like the watch’s effect on dead animals (or beasts) or the journal documenting the disappearance of certain souls.
  • Speaking of the beasts, they themselves do not confuse the cause of death and make it very clear what transpired (strangulation, spiked, and etc.).  If there is some debate of the cause of death there can be multiple right answers (e.g., a seaman died from a cannon blast that was pointed to them by the kraken’s tentacles, yet the cannon was lit by a another seaman, which one is the murderer?  Both answers are correct in this case)
  • I love that I don’t have to answer a series of multiple choice questions.  I want to be in control of this detective story and I don’t want the game tell me I’m ready to solve it.  Throughout the whole game I have to answer just two questions for all sixty souls, “Who is this?” and “What is their fate?”  The simplicity makes the game satisfying to solve.
  • I don’t feel stupid while playing the game.  In fact, if you play it smartly, you can have two souls that you’re positive on, and then work on a harder third soul and play around with the names until you land on the correct answer.  Even so, when you have an incorrect entry, the game doesn’t ring an incorrect buzzer or deduct points (it straight up doesn’t have any).  It’s the story that matters and that’s it.
  • Granted, there is some guessing, especially near the end of the game for the countless seamen but by then you are pretty close to solving it all and sometimes you just need to rearrange names a few times before you get it right.  Even then, this guessing doesn’t feel cheated as, well, of course you’re not able to get everyone’s name 100% correct since it’s not like they say their name out loud when they die…
  • And probably my favorite bit in the game is the “Eureka!” moment.  Hearing that string instrument gave me such joy as well as seeing my hard work deductions turn into correct answers.  God it’s so good.

Return of the Obra Dinn Announced for Consoles | Gaming Instincts

God this whole scene was crazy…

“Return of the Obra Dinn” left an impact on me that no other mystery game has come close to touching.  I wish I could magically forget and replay it just so I could have those satisfying “Eureka!” moments.  I did replay it again recently and it was still satisfying to solve as I forgot the countless souls on board and only remembered a few key clues.

Game Maker’s Toolkit said it best that many mystery games use realism to try to create the perfect mystery game but that perfection leads to awkward gameplay and makes it hard to fully enjoy the game.  But “Return of the Obra Dinn”‘s contrived setting changes the traditional Sherlock Holmes formula and completely restructures the mystery genre.  I’m hoping that other mystery games follow suit and gives us something exciting and different.  “Her Story” and “The Shapeshifting Detective” both are standouts that change the formula and excel in their new gameplay.  Hopefully other games follow suit but in the mean time, I’m hoping for a sequel to “Return of the Obra Dinn” in a different setting!  That would be awesome.

What do you think?  What has been your favorite mystery game and why?  Love to hear your answers!