The Pokémon series is one of the most widely known and adored franchises in gaming. Pokémon Red and Blue can be remembered as many nostalgic moments as players set out on their first adventure. Since then, numerous games have been released and are still primarily aimed at a young audience.

As a result, many Pokémon fans who have grown up with the series have wanted numerous changes, including difficulty. An unofficial playstyle called Nuzlocke has done just that. But you might be wondering what a Pokémon Nuzlocke is. It is a set of rules that make a Pokémon game more difficult.

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The Pokémon Nuzlocke originated from a webcomic that depicted Nick Franco’s playthrough of Pokémon Ruby. Franco wanted to challenge himself, so he created rules in the game to make the game more challenging. These were the two main rules.

  • Release a Pokémon if it faints.
  • Have to catch the first Pokémon in each area and nothing else.
    • If you miss your chance catching that first Pokémon, you still cannot catch anything else within that route.

Franco’s comic, Pokémon Ruby Hard-Mode, shows his journey through the game and the challenges he faced. The comic and playstyle caught on the Nuzlocke challenge became popular. Since its initial debut additionally, rules have been added to the challenge. These are:

  • Each Pokémon caught must be given a nickname. This is to form a stronger bond with each Pokémon.
  • Players can only use Pokémon they capture themselves. Pokémon traded, obtained via Mystery gift, and other methods are ineligible.
  • The player cannot reset the game when something goes wrong. Anything that happens in the game is final.
    • To be clear: if a Pokémon faints in battle, then it may no longer be used for the rest of the game. The stakes are that much higher.

These are the generally agreed-upon rules for most Pokémon Nuzlocke challenges. However, players have adopted other rules as well. These include releasing the starter Pokémon, being allowed to skip duplicate Pokémon for another encounter, randomly choosing a starter Pokémon, and many more. Ultimately, what rules the player uses is up to them as they create the challenge they want.

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Soul Link Rules

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There is the Soul Link variant for those who want to embrace the multiplayer aspect of Pokémon and incorporate it into their Nuzlocke challenge. This variant is meant to be played cooperatively with one or more friends. In the Soul Link, each Pokémon one player catches is linked to another player’s Pokémon. The general rules of the Nuzlocke are still followed with the new rules added.

  • Pokémon captured in one player’s game are linked to another player’s Pokémon. This means that each players’ Pokémon are Soul Linked. For example, starter Pokémon are considered linked, and both players’ encounter in each area is considered linked.
  • Once a Pokémon faints, the Soul Link Pokémon in the other player’s game is also considered fainted and cannot be used.
  • If one player is unsuccessful in capturing a Pokémon on a specific route, the linked player must release a Pokémon captured on that route or not catch one.
  • If a Pokémon is placed in the PC, the linked Pokémon in the other player’s game must also be placed in the PC.

For more information on Pokémon, check out Pokémon Go: Can Kyurem be shiny? Rates and how to get and Best Moveset for Kyurem in Pokémon Go on Pro Game Guides.

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