Today, I travelled through a cave that led to a rocky cliffside. This area gave off an incredible sense of verticality, as I could look down and see the next town far below me. I hopped across rocks, found many Pokemon (including Spoink and Axew), and even had some Sky Battles. Sky Battles and Horde Battles are two new types of combat introduced in X and Y. Exactly what a “Sky Battle” entails is pretty obvious – a trainer high up on a cliff or far away challenges you to a fight that takes place midair, and only Pokemon that can fly or levitate are allowed to battle. I faced foes like Pidgeotto and Emolga in these types of battles. Horde Battles involve a group of around five Pokemon ganging up on you. They are all low-levelled Pokemon, and I found these to be more of a nuisance than entertaining, especially since I don’t currently have any moves that can target more than one foe.
After making my way through the cliffs I came upon Ambrette Town, where the Fossil Lab was found. I wasn’t too surprised to find myself choosing between the Jaw Fossil and Sail Fossil. Having already seen the two Pokemon before I started hiding from spoilers, I decided to go with the more Diplodocus-esque Rock/Ice-type Amura whose DNA was preserved within the Sail Fossil. Getting to this point involved the first case of riding Pokémon within the game. I got atop a Rhyhorn’s back and traversed some dangerous-looking rock fields. I thought I might have been able to ride my own Pokemon at will, but I was wrong and a bit disappointed, but being able to get on the backs of certain Pokemon was still kind of novel and fun.
While traversing the beach, I smashed a rock and encountered a Pokemon called Binacle. I had never seen him before, and my initial reaction was to laugh out loud. It appears to be rock with two very grumpy-looking barnacle/hand things protruding from it. Even though it is pretty ridiculous, I still like it. It’s one of those humorous Pokemon that I find endearing because of its silliness like Garbodor and Vanilluxe. I can’t wait to see what it evolves into.“What are YOU lookin’ at?”
After this, I entered Cyllage City where I won a bike by being the 10001st person to enter the store. The bike hasn’t changed much since the first game, though it does allow me to stray away from the 8-directional movement in favor of more free-form travelling. This is also the case for using the roller skates, and I don’t understand why walking is limited to 8 directions. Being limited by a grid-based system seems counter-intuitive to the whole “giant 3D world” thing, so it’s kind of a shame that it’s even there in the first place.
Next, I made my way up to the Cyllage City Gym and challenged the second Gym Leader, Grant, for the Cliff Badge. He was a master of the Rock-type, and getting to him required climbing up various cliff faces. I found there to be a much wider variety of Pokemon in this gym than in the previous, so I got to face a wide array of different Rock-type foes. Because I had been avoiding some wild Pokemon encounters in hopes of making the game more challenging, I found my team at almost the same level as Grant’s when I battled him. It was still a relatively easy fight, but since that point I have tried to stay around the same level as the trainers I face. As a result, I’ve had to put more thought into the moves I use in battle, and each victory is even more satisfying.
I ended my quest shortly after leaving the Cyllage City gym. I’m on my way through a field of gigantic rocks and have just found Team Flare again. I can’t wait to see what those wily jerks are up to now, and find out more about Mega Evolution!
Final note: my progress in trying out local mutliplayer has been a bit delayed, so more on that in a few days.
Next time: The Third Gym, Reflection Cave and more!