Based on a concept from @ZombieHam on Twitter, Pickymon is what happens when you decide to play the original Pokémon Red with a simple twist – you only get one team of six for the entire game. The rules are simple:
Including your starter, you may only catch or purchase 6 pokémon throughout the entire game.
Trading is not allowed, and you can’t release a pokémon to catch another – once it’s in your team, it stays in your team to the end.
This includes Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan, Kabuto/Omanyte and Lapras – if you pick them up, you keep them.
Evolution is not only allowed, but required – you can only obtain Flash (HM05) by having ten pokémon in your Pokédex!
The game is over when you catch or defeat MewTwo.
Our intrepid writer Charles has taken the challenge. This is his story.
Don’t I need Flash for that one?
The words haunted my dreams. All day, until the moment I could finally open the game and find out for myself, they plagued the back of my mind. Rock Tunnel was mere minutes ahead, and here I was, stuck with three pokémon in my party, seven in the Pokédex counting evolutions, three short of claiming the HM that would light up the dark for me. I was going into a dungeon blind.
Oh well. Guess I’ll do a bit of grinding until I absolutely have to think about it.
THIS IS FINE, EVERYTHING IS FINE.
Never mind, eh? Maybe the rest of the battles will provide me with some tactical challenges to take my mind off it.
Nope. That’s my team after nine battles with no healing whatsoever. Nobody below half HP. SuperSalad hasn’t taken any damage AT ALL. We blew through them, and now I stand outside Rock Tunnel with nothing in front of me. Gee, THANKS, you awesome bastards. Guess it’s time to acquiesce to the darkness.
Hold up a sec.
That’s stuff! I CAN TOTALLY SEE STUFF! OH MY GOD Game Boys weren’t backlit! My mighty phone is showing me depths of this world I was never intended to see! I can see everything except trainers and items, and I don’t think there’s any of the latter that I desperately need in here anyway. TREMBLE BEFORE MY PREVIOUSLY UNIMAGINABLE BACKLIGHT TECHNOLOGY, YE FORCES OF NATURE WHO SHAPED THIS HELLISH CAVERN. Oh my god, folks. I thought I was gonna be stuck in here for weeks.
Turns out, I actually remember they layout pretty well too. I wind my way through the dark with more ease than expected, though the intense mood lighting does lend a sinister edge to otherwise innocuous conversation snippets…
Hang on. Cosplay? In this world? Where the main interest is…
BILL, YOU ABSOLUTE TROLL.
Anyway. We press on, and eventually the abundance of rock- and ground-type opponents pays off big-time:
SS has also picked up Razor Leaf, which is wrecking everything in sight. We’re rolling here, folks. A few encounters later…
Take it, mate, it’s bugger all use to me on this run.
…and with my surprisingly good memory of the twists and turns of the Tunnel…
OH MY GOD IT TOOK ME LIKE AN HOUR OR SOMETHING.
Crisis averted. Clearly I’m gonna storm this now. A few more straightforward battles later and I make it to Lavender Town, with my healed-up team looking like this:
BORING TECHNICAL POINT: I’m impressed with how the rules of this run seem to be naturally causing a fairly even level-up curve. ‘Salad has pulled out in front a little but due to a location-specific type advantage, but there’s nobody noticeably lagging behind. Nice!
Anyway. I poke around the town trying to remember what I’m supposed to do next. I thought Pokémon Tower came after obtaining the Silph Scope, vaguely remembering unproductive treks to the top from past runs, but it appears the game is trying to subtly hint at something.
So on I go, into the most depressing location in the game.
One thing I’m sure I’ve remembered correctly is that this place has seemingly infinite labyrinthine floors. God, I wish I could just find what I need and get ou-
Jeez, you set off on your pokémon adventure thinking it’s gonna be all badges and glamour, then suddenly every emerging crisis in the country is your responsibility.
Anyway. The previously mentioned dead Raticate fan theory looks like a proper reach when you’re actually playing this game, because unless he’s got a world-class defence mechanism game, Mansplain doesn’t seem like a boy in mourning:
He’s padded his team out, but I beat him 3-on-5 without too much trouble – his Exeggcute takes Smol a while to break down, but in the end the battle’s a fairly routine one.
Not that it mattered much in the end, but I suddenly realise I could’ve made that battle a bit easier. I exit Pokémon Tower and Lavender Town for now, and head west onto Route 8. I knock off a Lass and her Clefaries who obstruct the path to the long grass, and begin my search for the next addition to my team, who I know frequents these lands – Growlithe.
I run into one instantly, but after Smol uses up 3 Sleep Powders before it stop just instantly waking up again, we accidentally KO it with a critical-hit Confusion.
We keep looking for one at a higher level, running from a few lower ones, but the next suitable one we find chases us off with a Roar.
Before long, though…
Welcome to the team, FIREPUPPER.
Right then, back to Pokémon Tower for some more wholesome straightforward adventu-
That Chaneller does helpfully hint that I can’t do much here without the Silph Scope, but I decide to try out the battles further up to see if I can bring FirePupper up to speed with the rest of the team. Of course, that means running into these things.
Well, maybe there’ll be some interesting conversation round here.
Well, still they’re clearly all very serious about this.
I teach FP Dig, which I have lying around in my bag, so we can escape to the Pokémon Centre for some tactical healing, and after a bit of Sleep-Powdering and switching with Smol, FP levels up and learns Ember too. Dig actually proves to be super-effective against ghosts (or possibly dual ghost-poison types?), so soon FP’s leading the pack through these battles and the XP’s rolling in! Still, it’s a bit of a slog towards the end…
…yeah, alright, whatever. I’m just gonna take this as it comes at this point. Maybe this floor has some more helpful hints too…
We take out the rest of the accessible trainers, gather up the stuff lying around, and leave the ghosts for another day. At the close of play, my team’s looking like this:
Tomorrow we’ll be heading for Celadon City, where if my memory and planning skills have worked as well as I’m hoping, we’ll be picking up about five crucial elements for the rest of our journey.