What is Pokèmon Nuzlocke?

Pokémon Nuzlocke is a set of rules you impose on your Pokémon journey to increase the game’s difficulty. Players who are bored by the ease of Pokémon games or enjoy a challenge, especially find this appealing.

As a child, the kid-friendly approach that Game Freak took in designing the Pokémon games is what made them appealing. They were suitable for a wide range of players regardless of age and level of ability. But as I grew older, I found that the game series was no longer as challenging as it used to be. My interest was slowly waning, until the Pokémon Nuzlocke was introduced by a webcomic artist named Nick Franco.

The Nuzlocke challenge spiced up the Pokémon games by introducing a new layer of challenge. But as exciting as it was, I was stomped the first time I tried it because conducting the challenge was more of a task than you would expect.  But once I familiarized myself with the core rules, it became easier.

So, in case you’ve just come across the Nuzlocke challenge and need some help with it, I’m here to help. In this article, I will cover the basics of Nuzlocke and how to implement it plus the best Pokémon games to apply the challenge. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Pokèmon Nuzlocke?

Pokèmon Nuzlocke is a set of rules intended to create greater difficulty in Pokèmon games. Since Pokèmon games do not have any in-built hard modes, players have invented their Pokèmon Nuzlocke Challenge. The challenge was created in 2010 by Nick Franco, a Californian artist, through a Pokèmon fan comic in which he documented playing through Pokemon Ruby while applying two rules to his run. The name originates from the character Ruby’s first caught Pokèmon, Nuzleaf, and John Locke, the character from Lost. Many of its players feel that it encourages the use of Pokèmon that the player would not usually choose and promotes closer bonds with the Pokèmon. Content creators have made the Nuzlocke popular over the years. The rules are not a function in the game but are applied by the player. Over time, players have added their restrictions on the challenge to the essential rules.

How do you get Pokèmon Nuzlocke?

What is Pokèmon Nuzlocke?
Pokèmon Nuzlocke challenge. Image source: Pinterest

It is super easy. Since it is self-imposed, you can select any Pokèmon game, preferably one you are familiar with, then customize it into a Pokèmon Nuzlocke. There are two essential rules for a Pokèmon Nuzlocke, but you can always add more rules for a greater challenge.

What are the essential rules in the Pokèmon Nuzlocke challenge?

The following two rules must be followed for the Nuzlocke challenge in Pokèmon games:

  • If one of your Pokèmon faints, it is considered dead. You have to release it after the battle or keep it in a PC box, but you will never use it again.
  • You can only catch the first wild Pokèmon you run through in each route, and if it flees or faints, you do not get a second chance. If the first encounter is a double battle, you can choose which of the two wild Pokèmon to catch.

How do I start a Pokèmon Nuzlocke challenge?

Pokèmon Nuzlocke
Pokèmon Nuzlocke challenge. Image source: Pinterest
  • Get familiar with the rules: Be conversant with the abovementioned two essential rules.
  • Start a new Pokèmon game: It is better to start with a game you are familiar with as you ease into the challenge.
  • Choose a starting Pokèmon and consider the Pokèmon that may help you on your journey: Choose a reasonable Pokèmon to start with, considering the strengths of the Pokèmon. All Pokèmon have advantages and disadvantages. For example, Tangela has decent stats, but a poor move pool, and Diglet /Dugtrio with powerful moves in their move pool but is very weak against HP and defense.
  • Stock up on healing items, any kind of Potions, TMs, and HMs: This is crucial in the Nuzlocke challenge. Poison will bother you in the game, so stock up on Antidotes to prevent your Pokèmon from dying. Potions, Super Potions, Hyper Potions, Max Potions, and Full Restores are necessary to survive this challenge. Revives will be useless in the Pokèmon Nuzlocke since you cannot resurrect your dead Pokèmon. TMs and HMs are essential for a Pokèmon with a poor move pool.
  • Create a good Pokèmon team with different types: You will need a unique Pokèmon team with different types of Pokèmon. The teams can go up to six Pokèmon.
  • Raise some levels: If your Pokèmon is five levels lower than a Pokèmon you are challenging, you will have a hard time. You can raise more levels by either battling wild Pokèmon over and over or trainers you may have missed.
  • Start your journey: When you get to where wild Pokèmon is in a new area, you may only catch the first Pokèmon you encounter. If it faints, you must release it because it is considered dead.
  • Find ways that you can earn money: You need Pokedollars to buy healing items, so you will have to sell some of your items or battle a lot of Pokèmon Trainers.
  • Repeat the process: Play the Pokèmon Nuzlocke repeatedly, and you will soon become a pro. Good luck!

Best games to do a Nuzlocke Challenge with

Game Description
Pokèmon HeartGold and SoulSilverThe story has a balanced difficulty that builds up slowly enough for your team to keep up.
Pokèmon PlatinumConsidered to be a difficult challenge in the series, Platinum increases the threat of Gym leaders by having more counters.
Pokèmon Black and White 2These are good if you are looking for a sincere challenge and don’t mind losing a few Pokèmon along the journey.


The Pockèmon Nozlocke is an exciting challenge that has many players hooked. Players have added their twists on the challenge, but generally, the Pokèmon Nuzlocke is what you make it. Set your own rules and create the perfect challenge for yourself.


What is the hardest game to do the Nuzlocke challenge on?

The Pokèmon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. These are dangerous for an unprepared player, with tough Totem Pokèmon and the challenging Island Kahunas.

What is a 2-player variant of Nuzlocke called?

Soul Link. Each Pokèmon is “linked” to a partner on the other player’s team such that if one partner dies, the other does too. It has a few additional rules to allow for cooperative play.

How hard is a Nuzlocke challenge?

Some challenges can be fairly easier than others, but they are generally quite difficult. Some take up to 20 or more attempts to beat.

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