Despite having only played the game for an hour or two since yesterday, I’ve already beaten the sixth gym. Towards the beginning of the game the pacing was really inconsistent, and I liked that. It gave my adventure a sense of mystery, as I never knew if I was approaching the next gym or some other challenge. By “changing up the formula” so to speak, I felt like they were taking what I’ve come to know and love about the franchise and adding some unexpected twists and turns. Since the fourth gym, everything has begun to feel more formulaic again. Gym battles are popping up more consistently, and unexpected turns are fewer and farther between.
My beloved Bubblebeard the Froakie finally evolved into his third form, Greninja. I think he looks quite interesting, but am a bit disappointed that his nickname is no longer apt, as his bubbly beard has been replaced by something that looks like a scarf. I was expecting him to be Water/Fighting, but he is Water/Dark-type. I suppose it fits the ninja theme, and I’m looking forward to seeing him learn some new, interesting attacks that suit his design like Water Shuriken, a move that always go first and launches two to five projectiles in the same turn. My Honedge also evolved into Doublade. Essentially, he’s two Honedges stuck together in an “x” pattern. Some people might think this is a lazy design, but I think it looks far more interesting than Magneton, Dugtrio and Klinklang, who all follow the same “Pokémon sticking together” motif. In addition to these evolutions, I also encountered a Pokémon named Goomy, pictured below. When you look at him, you ‘d think he’d Grass-type, but I was surprised to find out that he’s a Dragon! I might just have to start training one to see if his evolutions appear more dragon-like. He’s certainly an odd little fellow.
This is Goomy. He’s a Dragon-type, apparently.
To get to Laverre City I had to travel through Route 14, a creepy and boggy trail. I quite liked the eerie tone that the environment established: the first thing you see is an empty playground, dead trees line the path, and it was pouring rain. My friends were set on exploring a haunted house somewhere in the swamp, so I made my way through the deep pools of mud in anticipation of a new and exciting change of pace from the string of gyms I had beaten in a row with little in between. When we got inside, a mysterious man told us a somewhat creepy story and then asked for a tip. That was it. He said something ominous about my refusal to tip him coming back to haunt me, so I hope there’s more to the creepy house than I have already experienced. Otherwise, it was a pretty big missed opportunity considering the build-up leading to it.
I found Diggersby more frightening than this.
The sixth gym was contained within a giant tree, which felt very fairytale-like. It was fitting, considering all the trainers inside used Fairy-type Pokémon. The gym’s interior was constructed like a giant doll house, in which I travelled from room to room using warp points, just like many other gyms have done in the past. Because it was a mechanic that I had already experienced, I was ultimately disappointed. The Pokémon themselves were varied and interesting, though. It was a great way to showcase some of the new Pokémon who have been modified to be part Fairy-type, including Mawile, Raltz and Azumarill.
The gym’s style is pretty unique but its “puzzle” isn’t, unfortunately.
Even though I’m starting to find parts of Pokémon X and Y iterative, I’m still enjoying it a lot. There’s nothing wrong with repetition, but the beginning of the game had conditioned me to expect changes to the game’s formula. There are some small, clever touches that help the game to feel new and unique in spite of its ever-increasingly apparent formula, though. While using Pokémon-Amie with my Aurorus, Aurorasaurus, I found that when I touched the ice crystals on the creature’s head and along its body, my “hand” (controlled by the stylus) would freeze for a moment. As well, increasing the bond I share with my teammates seems to have some effects in battle that I cannot fully explain thus far. When I send out my Pokémon, I start to see messages like “Bloomers looks a bit nervous…” and “Bubblebeard looks excited”. I’m not entirely certain, but I think it might correlate with type differences: my teammates could be letting me know when they are weak against the opposing Pokémon’s attacks. As well, when I send out Pokémon I say things like “You can do it, Sir Stabalot!”, or “I knew you could do it, Chirps!” when they are victorious. I’ll keep looking into this stuff as the game progresses, but it’s making Pokémon-Amie a much more meaningful feature than I initially thought.
I never would have expected Pokemon-Amie to be so much fun!
I’m on my way to the Pokéball Factory as we speak, and can see that Team Flare is at work again. Check out the feature for an update tomorrow, share the article, and leave a comment below!