So, before Lana lets me go, she tells me about the next trial, but I’m not paying attention because it’s pretty obvious I don’t need to when the game will railroad me there regardless. The game designer’s dilemma – the harder you push the player, the more you need to push the player.
Oh. And that reminds me… Did you see any Sudowoodo by Paniola Ranch? They were causing some trouble for people, so I gave them a little dose of Z-Power using my Waterium Z. Just a little lesson for them. I wonder how they will react now that they see that you have Waterium Z, too?
…uh, but if the idea here is that I can beat them up, couldn’t I have resolved it by just beating them up earlier?
Well, they run away when they see me. The small child cheering their terror tells me that they’ve headed to the battle dome to get stronger, maybe.
Ooh, there’s a hidden path that lets you in to behind one of the buildings earlier and I can get the hidden item that Stoutland was indicating but couldn’t reach!!! Shame it’s just a lame super repel, for that much work I’d have preferred something more special.
Continuing…more cutscenes. This time, someone in a purple bonnet is getting menaced despite standing next to a giant fuckoff horse that could just sit on the Skull members and kill them.
They recognize me and then Bonnet ??? is all why do they know you. Geeze, lady.
Well, yeah, I know them/I don’t know who they are!
Your inability to pick up on the obvious implication is not my problem, Bonnet.
Or Hapu. Whatev.
She calls them thieves, which offends them apparently: We’re not thieves, yo! It’s a legitimate business!
You aren’t Team Rocket, guys.
…and you know, Team Rocket would probably have figured out you guys should double battle me by now. Why do you even go out in pairs if you don’t get this?
Also, apparently eevee learn bite at a mere L17 now! Not sure when that became true but nice regardless.
Afterward, she threatens to have her pokemon trample them to death. Then she asks if the drifloon will be okay going home. Aw, she’s perfect.
Glad to see that one will get home on her own.
Also, if that’s a wild pokemon, that actually was completely legitimate trainer activity she just prevented. Excellent.
The horse then neighs and she tells me it’s saying to go do the battle thingy. Instead, I charge ahead. I am then slaughtered by some girl’s pink oricorio.
You know what I said about how zygarde forms are fine and all but I really liked the original one to the point I didn’t want any other form? I feel like that with the bird. Hula bird seems like a very valid pokemony idea but I love cheerleader pompom bird so much more.
I try charging forward again, only to be blocked by THAT ASSHOLE and his stupid stoutland. FINE.
I head to the dome, collecting a bunch of pink nectar from the flowers and a butterfree picture that gets me enough thumbs-ups to get the third upgrade for the camera.
Now to the actual event. It’s…Gladion?
Gladion: Hmph. Why do I do this… Every time something brings me down, I end up coming right back here again… I’m confused too. Rainbow balloon funtown doesn’t seem your aesthetic.
Come on, Null. Let’s go bury our sorrow in the crowd.
So you’re less goth and more “I only own one hoodie and it happens to be black”, sounds like. Poor baby! You should beat people up and take their money. I mean, they don’t give out much but you could be able to at least buy another sweater after a day’s work.
…but, time has passed! I do the qr codes thing again. The last two times I did it, it plopped the pokemon down on a route I hadn’t unlocked, so I head back to the first island. I get a deino! That’s actually pretty cool, I’d like to try raising one since you only got them in the endgame in Unova.
Outside, there’s some corsola I run headlong into and I’m informed is hurt. I’m asked if I want to take it to the pokecenter or use a potion, and I go with potion – that seems more sorry than a free heal at the pokecenter. A woman promptly shows up and explains that she left them here to play but apparently a dangerous pokemon showed up.
Mareanie love breaking off and eating Corsola’s branches more than anything else in the world! They hunt Corsola down mercilessly to gnaw and nibble their branches! Sure, the Corsola’s branches can regenerate and they’ll eventually grow back, but… That doesn’t make it any less scary for the Corsola!
Well, let’s be fair here, it’s probably less scary than watching someone eat your fingers that you know won’t grow back.
She says I’m nice for trying to help them and gives me a wide lens. This would mean more if my options were potion or fucking off while flipping them the bird.
Anyway, I think that’s a good cue to head into the water on. Either it’s there in general or that’s a sign it’s there right now.
A finneon attacks! Oh, I bet that’s the last pokedex row, pokemon you find while swimming.
Its double tails propel its energetic jumps. When it breaks the surface of the sea, Wingull swoop down to grab it on the fly.
I find a rock patch for fishing and catch…a pearl? I don’t think pearls work like that, game. And later, a string of pearls, which at least makes a bit more sense as something that’d be hookable.
It drifts in shallow seas, such as the areas near beaches. If you get bitten or stabbed by its toxic tentacles, rush to the hospital.
Also I fight some swimmers. They are male but buff and do a show-off pose, so at last, both of the half naked people are sexualized!
And Eevee hits L20 and starts evolving. Espeon! So, you definitely raise friendship faster than affection if you’re just grooming and not actively cuddling your pokemon, because that eevee fainted so much.
It unleashes psychic power from the orb on its forehead. When its power is exhausted, the orb grows dull and dark.
Hm, that’s something to remember when I have my puppymill cripple show up.
Ooh, and he evolved at just the right time to learn confusion! Very nice.
Wait, now he’s also learning psybeam? Do they have a new system where upon evolution you learn any moves you missed?
Okay, I can’t find the mean fishy and I’m kind of confused by what’s up because there’s this bubbly effect on one of the rock areas but fishing there has the same chance of nothing happening as everywhere else. It does seem to produce a big pearl when I successfully do hook it, but…who really cares? I’m already fishing up pearls and pearl strings indefinitely. Yet it’s apparently something important enough that if I swim through it, it disappears.
Time for a new team.
Oh hey, there’s another place I can go instead of where I’m supposed to!
It’s Diglett’s Tunnel! …which is less than interesting given I already have one. But then there’s Oliva, talking to some guys who look an awful lot like the ones from the opening menacing Lillie.
Oliva: Hmm? Oh, Bonnibel, wasn’t it? This cave really is something, y’know? It’s overflowing with these Pokemon called Diglett, and they are getting really out of hand. Mediocre Trainers can’t even get through!
Diglett do seem like a rather difficult pokemon to deal with. Their high speed means it’s hard to run from them, and they can hit pretty hard.
But instead of explaining that she’s mid-extermination, she starts chatting about how I’m doing with the crystal collecting and notes that new water one I plan on also not using.
Judging by how well you and your team get along, I bet you guys can do some real damage with it!
She then tells me shoo, go to the volcano trial, and I cutscene teleport to the mouth of the cave. NO GAME. I run back down and am attacked by a L20 zubat, who hands my team their own asses. I heal up and head right back in because I get to decide if I want to be stupid and charge into places I shouldn’t.
Oliva repeats her conversation. Dammit. I make a third attempt and am ambushed by a L22 zubat. This one calls for help and gets a L19 zubat. With most of my team down, Deino manages to finish them off. I sprint suicidally further in and another repeated conversation. God damn game, you could at least have her say something different.
Well, back to the plot…or at least, being in the plot area while talking to NPCs.
The Battle Royal… It is an imitation we Trainers have devised, based on the battles that the four guardians of our islands like to take part in to decide who is the strongest of them all.
I really do like all the worldbuilding here.
I find myself at a store, where I see a small child next to a drifloon. That’ll end well.
My Drifloon is so strong I can just drift along without ever having to worry!
Sure, kid, sure.
I’m disappointed to be told the drifloon belongs to the kid and that, rather than actually protecting the drifloon for its own sake, is probably why the other person intervened when Team Skull went after it.
Hm. I remember Bianca getting mad about kicking the musharna. Was that the only time we’ve ever seen someone get upset on a wild pokemon’s behalf? I guess also the bit about slowpoke tails in Azalea, but then again, even there those probably were owned pokemon and there’s no other mission where you liberate slowpoke Team Rocket caught legitimately before hacking their tails off.
Fresh fillets from right here in Alola! Special seal at 250 a pack! Frozen lean cuts from Hoenn Special deal at 300 a slice! Leftover fish tips from Alola’s own seas! Now just 22 a pack!
Speaking of hacking flesh, I like how thoroughly they’re embracing the deliciousness of meat even as they give us new fish friends to catch and cuddle.
There’s also all sorts of food packs that are cheaper than buying individually.
I then run into a pokemon panhandler. I have the choice of doing nothing up to giving a thousand. After doing so, I’m informed it was just some weirdo furry panhandler. I get the rest TM for my trouble and am then told to go away.
I can’t seem to buy the stuff. More disappointingly, most of the areas repeat the same flavor text, so although it seems big, it’s functionally tiny.
Once cashier tells me to come back in the endgame. Another offers me a chance to buy!!! a “strange souvenir” and nothing else. Sure, why not. And elsewhere I can just buy regular pokeballs and potions and not any of the packs of interesting items shown on the shelves. Why can’t I buy a pack of slightly damaged lava cookies, game? Why do you hate me?
I really don’t get this. I’m not even asking them to invent new items to populate this place, just something more than slightly cheaper standard items – it’s not like money is a serious concern here!
Also, it looks like I can continue on to the next area! So, although I actually am pretty interested in Gladion, I’m going that way!
I find my way to the volcano area everyone was telling me to go to, which I guess is why it’s open now. There’s a guy on the beach who says the bubbles in the water are a rare pokemon, sometimes maybe. Then why did I keep getting pearls, random NPC? Why did I keep getting pearls.
I find a sightseer who has a regular meowth, which is a nice touch.
Less fun is that the meowth keeps getting max fury swipe hits. And this after two sand attacks! My team is yet again destroyed.
I then head back and finally hit a pokemon in the grass, fletchling! And it summons a friend.
I burn through most of my healing items keeping my rockruff alive to wear them down – they have flail, which really doesn’t help – and finally catch one! The combined experience means my rockruff learns rock slide right after it would’ve been super useful.
When it’s excited, its temperature can double, spiking hormone production in its body.
Okay, but what does that do?
There’s even room for a second line in the pokedex here! What does it do?!
I have now frittered away my time. Tomorrow, actually engaging the plot!