Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
Welcome to Hoenn! Pokémon season is upon us once again, and the changing season brings a delicious rehash of some old titles with a great deal of new stuff tossed in for good measure. The game begins in Littleroot Town, where a brand-spanking-new trainer is about to embark on a massive journey to become Hoenn's newest—and greatest—Pokémon Master . . . though before he or she can get anywhere near such lofty peaks, a starter Pokémon must be chosen. A starter Pokémon must always be chosen.
- After naming your trainer, assigning a gender and watching a short introductory cut scene, you’ll be set loose in the Hoenn region. Head upstairs in your house and check the clock in your room to set the current time.
- Time plays a role in Pokémon encounters and the growing of berries, both of which will come into play later. Head back downstairs, watch another cut scene, and leave the house.
- There’s not much to see in Littleroot, but if you look one house to the east/west you’ll find the home of your rival (May or Brendan, depending on your character’s gender). Pop upstairs to meet them.
Head north and out of Littleroot. You’ll hear cries of distress, and shortly after meeting the game’s notable scientist you’ll have the option to choose your starting Pokémon by checking his bag. You have three Pokémon to choose from:
- Torchic: Torchic’s evolutionary line is Fire-type to start, and quickly branches off into Fighting-type as well. Torchic has a tough time at first, but will develop into a powerful Pokémon overall.
- Treecko: A Grass-type to the core, Treecko is powerful—but limited, because it doesn’t gain a secondary type. A bit more of a challenge, but still a viable team member throughout the game.
- Mudkip: Starting off as a Water-type, Mudkip eventually branches off into Ground-type as well. A solid choice throughout the game, Mudkip will make one of the game’s most difficult gyms a fair bit easier. This choice will also negate the need to find another Water-type for Surfing later in the game, and if there's one thing Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire enjoys, it's making you Surf.
There’s no wrong choice here, as all three Pokémon become quite powerful—especially when you unearth their associated Mega Stones. That said, Treecko will probably provide you with the greatest challenge because of its lack of diversity in move types. Just sayin’.
Once you’ve chosen your starter you’ll have your first Pokémon battle. En garde!
At its most fundamental, battling in Pokémon is pretty straightforward. Your Pokémon and your opponent’s Pokémon take turns trading blows. Each turn you choose a move that your Pokémon will use on your opponent. Each move has a limited number of uses, determined by the move’s PP, and each move does something different.
The Pokémon with the higher Speed stat goes first each turn. Once a Pokémon is reduced to zero HP it faints, and is removed from battle. When one side is out of Pokémon, the battle ends. Facing a wild Pokémon such as this will only pit you against a single foe; fighting trainers, however, will see your Pokémon potentially facing multiple opponents. More on this in a bit.
Ultimately, you want to develop a team of Pokémon (six max) which you can switch between in battle to adapt to a variety of situations. For now, though, a basic Normal-type attack (Tackle or Pound, depending on your starter) will suffice to wipe out your opponent. Assuming you need to use an item during the battle (unlikely), note that items are always used first, regardless of a Pokémon’s Speed.
- After saving Prof. Birch you’ll jump to his lab. He’ll give you the Pokémon you chose, ask if you want to give it a nickname (you’ll always have this option when receiving a new Pokémon), and tell you to go meet with his child, your rival. You’ll have to do some walking for this.
Route 101 / 103 Pokémon
|Pokémon||Rarity||Version||Time of Day||Location|
Common (Night), Uncommon (Day)
Grass (103 only)
Grass (103 only)
Common (Day), Uncommon (Night)
Head north from Littleroot. You’ll find a grassy path populated by a few random people, and, in the long grass, random battles with wild Pokémon. Basic attacks will suffice. For a slightly easier upcoming battle, take out eight or nine wild Pokémon on Route 101 to increase your starter’s level from five to six or seven. (You can tell how close a Pokémon is to levelling up by checking the bar beneath your Pokémon’s name in battle, or by checking the Pokémon menu option.)
Eventually—very soon, in fact—you’ll have the opportunity to catch these wild Pokémon and use them as your own team. For now, content yourself with beating ‘em up as you make your way north. Soon enough you’ll find a tiny town.
Not a whole lot to see here. Upon entering you'll be greeted by a helpful dude who will give you eleven Potions, staples of healing Pokémon, and give you a quick tour. You can purchase combat items in the Pokémon Shop where he works, but there’s no need right now. The other houses in Oldale Town aren’t terribly interesting, and the rest of the people are here largely as a source of tutorials.
Your primary concern here is the Pokémon Center, the larger building with the red roof. Pokemon Centers exist to provide free healing for your Pokémon. Speak to the woman behind the desk and she’ll sort out your Pokémon. You can also use the computer beside the desk to access Someone’s PC (this is where you’ll store Pokémon you’re not using), Your PC (where you can store items—currently you can pop it open to retrieve a Potion), and . . . more. In the future.
You can’t head west from Oldale just yet, so continue north. You’ll find a small, dead-end Route.
The Pokémon here are nigh-identical to what you encountered on Route 101. Wind your way as far north as you can go and you’ll find a familiar face waiting.
Pokémon Trainer Brendan / May
Treecko / Torchic / Mudkip, level 5
Though most Pokémon trainers are hardwired and set from the start, your rival is a special case. They will always have a Pokémon that is strong against your starter. If you chose Torchic, they’ll have Mudkip. If you chose Mudkip, they’ll have Treecko. If you chose Treecko, they’ll have Torchic. The difference is near negligible at this point, but once their starter gains a few levels, watch out.
This is not a terribly difficult battle if you’ve levelled your Pokémon at least once, if not twice. Rely on your Pokémon’s base physical attack (Tackle, Pound, etc.) and perhaps a single stat-lowering move (Tail Whip, Growl) to take your opponent’s Pokémon out.
- Follow your rival back to Littleroot Town after the battle and check out the laboratory. Birch will give your trainer a Pokédex. The Pokédex is a large database containing information on every breed of Pokémon you’ve encountered to date, including where they can be found, when, and what they turn into (assuming you’ve run into their evolutions, as well). Your Pokedex will update itself automatically.
- Once Birch is done talking, your rival will give you something else of importance: ten Poke Balls. Weaken a Pokémon in battle and you can throw a Poke Ball and, potentially, catch the Pokémon for your own use. There are a few rules governing Poke Balls:
- The weaker the enemy Pokémon, the easier it is to catch. Try to get a Pokémon into the red before throwing Poke Balls.
- The more common the Pokémon, the easier it is to catch. The Pokémon near Littleroot are a piece of cake to catch, almost regardless of their health level. Once you start running into rare Pokémon, though, you’ll find them much tougher to snag. Legendary Pokémon may see you hurling dozens of balls to catch a single creature.
- Poke Balls are single-use items. If you didn’t catch a Pokémon on your first try, well, too bad. You still lose the ball.
- Poke Balls come in several different types. (Your rival’s gift constitutes the weakest Poke Balls you can get.) The stronger the ball, the more it’s going to cost to buy.
- Poke Balls cannot be used to capture Pokémon owned by other trainers. Under no circumstances (in this game, anyway) can you steal another trainer’s Pokémon. Don’t even bother trying.
- As you leave Littleroot Town your rival will catch up to you and upgrade your Pokémon to a DexPlus. The DexPlus addition will allow you to view which habitats, i.e., which routes, a Pokémon you've seen before will appear on. This is quite handy for tracking down Pokémon you've seen in battle but not actually caught yourself. The extra DexNav feature also allows you to pinpoint specific Pokémon on a Route rather than stumbling around blindly looking for a particular monster.
- That’s all for the intro. Head back to Oldale Town and you’ll find the way to the west unblocked. Be prepared, as there are trainers waiting to take you down . . . or, at the very least, provide you with some pocket change. Woo!
- Head back to Littleroot Town after defeating the fifth gym, in Petalburg City. Your mother will give you an Amulet Coin for taking down your father.