10 Best Pokémon Challenges

Photo via Bulbagarden

Pokémon games usually are not that challenging. The concept of each entry stays the same. You travel the region, collect gym badges, and take on evil teams. Pokémon challenges have been created to make the games different and a bit more challenging. Many come to mind, such as Nuzlockes and not using Pokémon Centers at all.

Pokémon challenges are all about playing the games differently. Instead of playing how you would generally play a game, some rules and restrictions must be followed to complete the challenge. So what kind of challenges are fun to do? Here’s a look at 10 of the best Pokémon challenges.

10 Best Pokémon Challenges


For this challenge, you are acting as an unofficial gym leader as you travel the region with the only Pokémon of the same type. Depending on which title you are playing, it can be an easy sweep or a hurdling road. PokéTubers, such as The4thGenGamer, did a challenge where he used only Dragon-type Pokémon. Whether it is a community vote, a randomized pick, or request, monotype runs offer a fun challenge that can range from shockingly easy to frustratingly hard.

To make the monotype run a stricter challenge, playing titles such as Diamond, Pearl or Platinum can offer an intense experience if one were only to use Fire-type Pokémon since there are not a lot of options throughout most of the game.

No Pokémon Centers

The Pokémon Center is the saving grace for many challenges, especially a Nuzlocke. But many players in the Pokémon community decided to amp up the difficulty by never being able to use a Pokémon Center. The only time that it would be used is the game’s tutorial, but once that is done and dealt with, your only healing options are to buy potions, revives, and find PP restoring items throughout the game. The first time you do this challenge might sound intimidating, but considering how generous the game can be with free items, this challenge is easier than it seems.

Gift Pokémon

Gift Pokémon is arguably the most straightforward challenge on this list. Depending on the game you’re playing, you can have a strong team with gift Pokémon that can evolve and have great stats and abilities. If you were to play Pokémon Emerald, for example, there are a limited number of Pokémon gifted to you, some of which aren’t given to you until you beat the champion, Steven. Some games such as Crystal and Yellow can offer you an advantage without having to catch a lot of Pokémon.

In-game Trades

Unlike gift trades, the requirements for in-game trades are dependent on what the NPCs want. There are some strong Pokémon you can get thanks to in-game trades. Still, the drawback from an otherwise exciting challenge is that the traded Pokémon gain more experience points, so when you are at a point where you are overleveled, the Pokémon will be disobedient, making the battles tedious and long. You might end up with only one traded Pokémon for a while until you can eventually get another one, so if you know how to strategize for when to battle or not, this is an exciting challenge to do.


Created by famous PokéTuber ShadyPenguinn, the Shadylocke is a unique spin on the Nuzlocke with unusual quirks. It is a bit similar to the no Pokémon Center challenge, but with a small difference. When you beat a gym, you gain one shady token to use to heal at a Pokémon Center. You can use potions to heal HP, but cannot heal PP unless you use a token. If a shiny Pokémon is encountered, but you already caught a Pokémon in the same area, you may still catch it. And to make it more fun and chaotic, the game can be randomized so you can encounter different Pokémon as compared to a normal playthrough.

Soul Link

A Soul Link involves two players doing a Pokémon challenge together with the rules of the Nuzlocke applied, but the game can be randomized. If one player were to encounter a Pokémon in the wild, then the other player would have to confront a different Pokémon that is the opposite gender. So if the person ends up catching a male Pikachu, but if the second player encounters a different Pokémon but with the same gender, then they must do another encounter.

And depending on the RNG, if one were to lose their Pokémon in battle, then the Pokémon that’s linked to them is gone, even if they did not faint in battle. Wherever the Pokémon goes, that linked Pokémon must go with them.

Metronome Only

Metronome is one of the most random moves in all of Pokémon. This challenge mostly involves a Clefairy or Cleffable, and they must only use Metronome. The player can have a party of six Clefairys or Cleffables just in case they are at a disadvantage in areas such as the Elite Four. This is a challenge for those that are looking for a laugh as the Pokémon might end up using Explosion and make the player white out.

One Pokémon Only

Outside of Nuzlocke related challenges, the one Pokémon only challenge is one of the most popular challenges in the Pokémon community. YouTubers who do challenges like these will usually take requests from viewers that involve only using a single Pokémon, most of them being unevolved. The games need to randomize the starter Pokémon to progress through the game only with that Pokémon.

There are hilarious runs, such as using only Magikarp, Ditto, or Rattata. Soloing a game with one Pokémon is one thing, but many fans will remember a specific one that is unexpected or for the memes as these challenges are still going to this day.


If you do not want to do a normal Nuzlocke, then an Egglocke will spice things up. An Egglocke consists of the player playing any game that allows breeding (in this case generations two or higher), and for any Pokémon caught or received, they must replace that with an egg in the PC. If they obtained their starter, for example, then they will hatch the egg into whatever it becomes and level it up as the same level of the starter Pokémon.

Nuzlocke rules apply as usual, but if the player runs into shiny Pokémon in the wild, then they may catch it due to the shiny clause. Depending on the eggs you receive, you might get lucky or unlucky, but it is fun to figure out what the eggs are.


The Pokémon challenge that started it all, the Nuzlocke is the pivotal one of all. The name originated from a comic series of the same name and also came from John Locke, a character from Lost. For every captured Pokémon, the player must nickname it to “create bonds.” And Pokémon can only be caught once per area, so if the Pokémon runs away or faints, then there is no second chance for the area.

If the person whites out, then it is game over, and the player will have to start from the very beginning. The Nuzlocke run continues to be an optional run for many Pokémon players, and there are some fan-made Pokémon games that have Nuzlocke as an option for a playthrough.