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.
Guess it’s time then. I have my team, carefully crafted for type advantages. I have my stockpile of Max Potions, Full Heals and all that other good stuff. And, crucially, I have a few tricks up my sleeve in case they make the difference (hindsight spoiler: lol no).
So I take the plunge.
I’m not planning on backing out, but I’m one of those people who has to try everything in a videogame, which leads me to discover this obvious afterthought:
I also try to read the inscription on that statue, but I can’t.
Anyway. Can’t win without trying. Here we go!
Lorelei is first up, and judging from her stance, it doesn’t seem like she wants to fight:
She nominally specialises in Ice types, but the majority of her team is dual-typed with Water, for which we have plenty of offensive options. Steevee goes out first, almost taking out her Dewgong with a single Thunderbolt, but her rage-against-the-dying-of-the-light use of Super Potions cause me to spend more PP than I would’ve liked to finish it off.
One Thunderbolt does, however, deal with both her Cloyster and her Slowbro, before I swap in FirePupper to take out the Ice/Psychic Jynx, her only pokémon with no Water in its types or moveset, which should allow FP to exploit his type advantage to the max. Flamethrower doesn’t quite take Jynx out, though, and its Ice Punch deals a little more damage than I expected, but a Dig sees it off and means I retain full PP for Fire Blast for later.
Lastly I send in SuperSalad to take care of her Lapras. I start with a Sleep Powder, assuming one Razor Leaf won’t be enough to take it out, and I’m proven correct, as it takes a Critical Hit to even take its health down to the yellow zone. Lorelei persists with her Super Potions, necessitating the use of more Cuts than I wanted to give up and an extra Sleep Powder, but with the former having fairly high PP and the latter also present in Smol’s arsenal, it’s not too much of a problem.
And that’s one down.
Onto Bruno’s room, where the music changes, which I’d forgotten! It’s just some dungeon music recycled from earlier, but it’s part of a lovely progression of mood-setting pieces that builds the tension as you move through the trainers. Once again, it’s a strength of the game that’s really endured.
Bruno is regarded as one of the easier late-game battles, and with fairly good reason – SuperSalad’s Razor Leaf 1-hit-KOs his Onix, and Smol’s Psybeam does the same for Hitmonchan and almost Hitmonlee (only requiring an extra Tackle) after Sleep Powdering them for good measure.
Psybeam, however, isn’t that strong against his Machamp…
…and an ill-timed awakening means I have to abandon my Tackle-grind (ooh er) and use up another Psybeam:
Perhaps a slight waste of PP.
But it’s alright. I’ve got a plan. (hindsight spoiler: lol)
Anyway, that’s this chap done:
I’m sure here was another pokémon in his team, but I can’t remember what. Either way, I beat it.
On to Agatha:
She babbles about her unrequited lust for Professor Oak for a bit, then despite her age, becomes the first of the Elite Four to make me believe this statement:
This one gets off to an inauspicious start: as FlappyNerd is lower-level than her Gengar, I take the opportunity to bust out Mirror Move, hoping it’ll turn whatever ghostly nastiness she unleashes back on her. However, the speed difference is totally different to what I imagined, meaning FN moves first, using Mirror Move to no effect, as there’s nothing to mirror. Then Agatha withdraws Gengar anyway. Imagine that level of ineptitude in the opening moments of a real sport game at this level. Imagine, in the AFC Championship game, Von Miller trying to sack Tom Brady while neither of them are on the field and the Broncos have the ball, then when it gets turned over, Belichick sends out Brian Hoyer anyway. That’s what just happened here. The other thing that just happened here is that Jack’s eyes glazed over reading this paragraph.
Anyway, we persist, with me pulling as many switches as Agatha does. Steevee’s Thunderbolt continues its 1-hit-KO spree against her Golbat, then FlappyNerd dispatches that Gengar with a Fly and a Wing Attack. Her Haunter finally gives Flappy a Move to Mirror, going down to its own Night Shade. Smol’s Sleep Powder/Psybeam(s) combo deals with her Arbok, although Psybeam’s looking a little weak against the levels we’re dealing with here. If only I had something up my sleeve… (hindsight spoiler: lollll)
Lastly, her second Gengar goes down to FN’s Flying-type attacks, allowing me to conserve more Mirror Moves for the weak-against-their-own-type Dragons to come.
Agatha seems impressed:
And so, the Elite Four has become the Elite One. I step through the door to walk forward to Lance…
With my character presumably sucking wind on the sidelines, the battle begins nonetheless. My pokémon, having been carried all the way here, start incredibly strong, with Steevee’s Thunderbolt claiming another victim in Lance’s Gyarados, and Caster’s Blizzard taking out both his Dragonairs. Her Surf almost takes care of his Aerodactyl too, but not before it lands a Hyper Beam on us. That leaves it needing a recharge, and it’s on low enough HP that a simple Strength takes it out.
And so it comes down to Dragonite vs Dragonite.
And we’re outlevelled.
Fortunately I loaded Caster up with Carbos during the Grind of All Grinds™, meaning her speed is ridiculously overpowered. One Blizzard later…
All of which means…
Of course, I get the game’s big twist thrown in my face:
Ah well. I’ve got it covered. I heal my team up, only using Super Potions.
In fact, I’ve over-planned on every front. Remember those tricks up my sleeve I said I had? Turns out… I didn’t even need them! Looking at my team’s HP and PP, I determine that the Thunder, Solarbeam, Psychic and Sky Attack TMs I had stockpiled to teach to them when weaker moves ran out are completely unnecessary. I can win this, with my team exactly like this.
Let’s do it.
It’s me and Mansplain, one more time.
He sends out his Pidgeot first, allowing Steevee to claim YET ANOTHER 1-hit KO scalp with a Thunderbolt. Thunder? Pah. Who needs it?
Next up is his Alakazam, whose powerful offence I attempt to control with a Sleep Powder. This time, though, the speed difference matches the levels:
Following this, Sleep Powder didn’t work.
In desperation, I go for the big guns – I switch in Caster, and go straight to Hyper Beam. Which, er…
Luckily for me, he uses Recover despite Alakazam being on full HP, and the second Hyper Beam turns out a little better:
Caster keeps rolling, taking out Mansplain’s Rhydon with a single Surf. I then swap in Smol to Sleep Powder his Exeggutor before FirePupper comes in to finish it off… but I accidentally select Stun Spore instead. Nonetheless, a couple of Fire Blasts do the job:
Steevee tags back in to take out his Gyarados with yet another 1-hit KO Thunderbolt, and I contemplate using the Thunder TM as a cricket ball or something.
And then, it’s down to this:
I would’ve liked to do the romantic thing and go with starter vs starter, but given the type advantage and the fact that Mansplain won that battle when they only had Normal-type moves, it probably would’ve resulted in a very quick knockout and this exact situation anyway.
Mansplain’s team captain strikes first with a Slash, then actually survives Caster’s Surf, and manages to land a Rage on the next turn before I finish things in style:
And it’s done.
Professor Oak finally catches up with us, coming in to a slowed-down Pallet Town theme in another example of the game hitting the emotional notes perfectly. He leads me through to register my beloved team where they’ve always belonged: the Hall of Fame. Take a bow, kids:
I have a brief moment of panic as the game takes me back to the title screen:
But it’s still there, and it drops me right back home:
I shortly discover that after claiming my prize and heading off, I didn’t bother to heal my pokémon after the five hardest battles of their lives.
Luckily, my dear old mum remains a magic healer, and everyone’s right as rain soon enough. Next up is our quest to find Mewtwo and polish this run off, but after beasting our way to Pokémon Mastery and League Champion status with ZERO FAINTS, I think we deserve a little break.